03/28/2017 12:26PM

Unique Bella to miss Santa Anita Oaks and Kentucky Oaks with shin injury

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Barbara D. Livingston
Unique Bella has won all three of her starts this year, all graded stakes.

Unique Bella, the leading 3-year-old filly in the nation, has been taken out of training with a shin injury and will miss scheduled starts in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks on April 8 and the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 5, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said on Tuesday.

“She has a shin that’s bothering her,” Hollendorfer said. “We’ll give her a little time off.”

Hollendorfer did not say how long Unique Bella will be out of action.

Unique Bella worked six furlongs in 1:11.20 at Santa Anita on March 19. The injury was detected in recent days.

Owned by Don Alberto Stable, Unique Bella has won 4 of 5 starts and earned $342,400. She beat maidens at Del Mar in November in her second start and has won all three of her races this year – the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes at seven furlongs in January, the Grade 2 Las Virgenes Stakes at a mile on Feb. 5, and the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on March 4.

In the lone Kentucky Oaks future wager in late February, Unique Bella was the even-money favorite in a win pool that drew $56,337 in wagers.

Unique Bella, by Tapit, was purchased for $400,000 at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale.

This is the second consecutive year Hollendorfer has had the early favorite for the Kentucky Oaks miss the race. Last year, Songbird won the Santa Anita Oaks but missed the Kentucky Oaks because of illness. She later returned to training and was named champion 3-year-old filly of 2016.