By Noah Joseph
In horse racing, some horses are well known not just for what they did on the track, but also for what they did off of it, like going on to become a successful stallion, a productive broodmare, or even an equestrian competitor. And at Canterbury, Bella Notte is a prime example.
Bella Notte was a bit of a late bloomer. The daughter of Quick Cut made her debut in 2007 as a 3-year-old, yet only broke her maiden in 2008 for owners Art and Gretchen Eaton. Despite this, Bella Notte was a consistent runner and she finished first or second in her first seven career starts, including a second in the Minnesota Distaff Sprint Championship on Festival of Champions day (which is being held this Sunday), a race she would soon grow accustomed to. In 2009, she won her first stakes race in the Lady Slipper at Canterbury. That same year, she finished third in the Princess Elaine before winning the Minnesota Distaff Sprint Championship for the first time.
Bella Notte seemed to get better with age. As a 6-year-old in 2010, she failed to defend her crown in the Lady Slipper, but scored a victory in the Princess Elaine and won the Minnesota Distaff Sprint Championship again. The following season would be her swan song as she only won one race, yet it was the one that made her famous and put her name in history. She won the Minnesota Distaff Sprint Championship for a third straight year, becoming the only horse to do so. She was piloted to victory all three times by Derek Bell.
Bella Notte retired at the end of 2011 to become a broodmare. She had her first foal in 2016 named Notte Oscura who sold for $160,000 as a 2-year-old. He’s the second most-expensive horse bred in Minnesota to be sold at public auction and is already a winner and stakes-placed just like his mother. He just ran third last Thursday night in Shakopee. Bella Notte’s legacy is also honored through the Minnesota Distaff Sprint Championship which is now named the Bella Notte Minnesota Distaff Sprint Championship. A regal honor for a regal runner.