Second Time the Charm for Forever Unbridled in Distaff

Second Time the Charm for Forever Unbridled in Distaff

Is there anything Forever Unbridled can not do?

Forever Unbridled, the 7-2 third choice, rallied in the stretch to win the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff, the marquee event on the opening day of the World Championships at Del Mar on Friday. After lodging a complaint to the track stewards, it was ruled that Rosario would receive as much as Velazquez for the race.

Each time the connections of Forever Unbridled came to a crossroads the last couple months, the verdict was always to maintain faith the big bay mare would ultimately prove their instincts correct. He won the Distaff with Unbridled Elaine in 2001. At the wire of the $2 million race, it was all about the 5-year-old mare's sustained excellence and the remarkable family history she continues to carry forward.

"The Pegasus and then the Dubai [World] Cup", Fipke cracked. Fipke sets lofty goals, and why not?

A 14-1 shot ridden by Flavien Prat, Battle of Midway collared the frontrunning Sharp Azteca at the top of the stretch but was able to get the better of that one in the final strides to return $30.40, $11.40 and $8.20. Elate, who was much closer to the pace on Saturday than she has been in the past few races, did finish 4th, while Stellar Wind was much farther back in last of eight on a track where she was a ideal 3-for-3 going in. In the early going, the eventual victor was content to sit in sixth position with Abel Tasman far at the back of the eight-horse field. Javier Castellano pushed the button just before the final turn of the mile race and, despite going five-wide, ran past runner-up Best Performance (15-1), giving trainer Chad Brown the ninth Breeders' Cup victory of his career.

Forever Unbridled earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 99 in the Distaff.

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The third time was not the charm for pre-race favorite Stellar Wind, the 5-year-old who finished last on Friday. Elate finished a length farther back in fourth without a visible alibi. The Distaff was just her third start of the season after arthroscopic surgery for a bone chip in her left front ankle. Her value would have allowed her to go to any stallion of Fipke's choosing but instead, he chose to let Stewart see how much better his stable star could be with a little added time. He didn't have to. Her last start was an upset victory over 2016 three-year-old filly Eclipse Award victor Songbird in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga. "He opted to bring her back, and the injury wasn't bad and she was never sore. I knew then that we' re going to have a good horse race from here", said Stewart.

Forever Unbridled has now won eight races and $3,186,880 from 17 starts. Fipke will consider racing her in the $16 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park on January 27. "That's what we went with. Yeah. That would be the goal". It was the same strong move down the middle of the stretch that she displayed in her two other starts this year. Stellar Wind will be sold next week at auction; Romantic Vision will retire, too, and is expected to be retained by owned G. Watts Humphrey.

Elate, the 2-1 favorite, finished fourth in the eight-horse field. "(Velázquez) rode her great, she ran great, and I'm very happy about it". She was able to rally from last place to get up for second, just a half-length behind the victor.

Paradise Woods' trainer Richard Mandella said "she rated nice, she ran well. She's a 3-year-old".

Perhaps he is right.

It carried over into Friday evening when the favorite Ulysses reportedly had a fetlock flare-up and was scratched from Saturday's Breeders' Cup Turf.

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