Legend – Thoroughbred
Among the accolades writers bestowed upon Mona Bell in 1938 were “Queen of the Sprinters” and “Queen of the Fillies.” Long before Sovereign Awards were handed out, Mona Bell was acclaimed as “Canada’s Champion 3-Year-Old Filly.”
Bred by Dr. T.H. Callahan of Toronto and sold as a yearling for $1,200 to the Cosgrave Stable (owned by E.P. Taylor and Jimmy Cosgrave), the chestnut filly was trained by Bert Alexandra. In her first start as a 3-year-old, Mona Bell sprinted to the lead but finished second in the 79th running of the King’s Plate to Bunty Lawless, later named Canada’s horse of the half-century. A 25-1 longshot, Mona Bell was Taylor’s first Plate horse.
At three she won the Maple Leaf Stakes and then upset her old rival, Bunty Lawless, in the Breeders’ Stakes. Mona Bell also won two handicap races at Saratoga, N.Y., was second in the New England H. at Narragansett Park and was third in the Long Branch Championship (now the Canadian International) to Bunty Lawless. At four she won the Orpen Memorial at Long Branch, beating Plate champions Bunty Lawless and Atchworth. Two months later her career came to a tragic end when she broke a leg at Stamford Park and was buried in the infield of the Niagara Falls track. Mona Bell won 11 of 33 starts and was second or third in 14 other races. Her full sister, Iribelle, produced Canada’s first winner of $100,000 – E.P. Taylor’s Canadiana.