ELMONT, N.Y. - Patiently handled by Joel Rosario, heavily favored Forever Unbridled unleashed a devastating late run through the stretch to overpower her six rivals with a 2 ¼-length victory in the Grade 1, $400,000 Beldame on Saturday at Belmont Park.
The 4-year-old daughter of Unbridled's Song was content to run along in mid-pack as Off the Tracks and Paola Queen knocked heads through an opening quarter-mile in 24.34 seconds, with the half going in 49.03 and three-quarters in 1:14.06. Revving up on the far turn, Forever Unbridled swung four wide into the stretch and strode past the embattled front-runners under a hand ride, to hit the wire in 1:50.24 for 1 1/8 miles over the muddy, sealed track.
"It was a good trip," said Rosario. "She's not quick [out of the gate] but she broke OK. I ended up being very close to the lead because they were going very slow. I was just trying to take my time with her, not turn her loose and stay on the outside. I could feel she was getting over the track very good."
Sent off at 6-5, Forever Unbridled returned $3.50 for a $2 win bet in a race that her trainer, Dallas Stewart, had been hesitant to run in because of inclement weather.
"The rain just drove me nuts," said Stewart, who shipped Forever Unbridled to New York from Kentucky earlier in the week. "If you looked at the weather the last three days, I almost had her on a van and got her out of here. They said like three inches of rain and you don't want to get into a bad racetrack going into the Breeders' Cup, but they kept changing the forecast, things got better. So, thank God, we left her here. The track superintendent did a great job with how good the track looks."
The victory was the third in five starts this year for the Charles Fipke homebred, who also won the Grade 3 Houston Ladies Classic and the Grade 1 Apple Blossom before finishing second in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps and third in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign. Overall, she is 5-3-3 from 13 career starts with earnings of $1,416,600.
"This filly, I think there's more to come, I really do," said Stewart. "I just think she's going to get better and better and hopefully we'll get to run her next year. She's just a great race mare. She's tough, she really is. So long as she comes back good and everything's good [she'll run in the Breeders' Cup Distaff], it's a great race and we're going to be right in there with them and give them a fight. There's going to be a lot of tough [horses] in there, and she's one of them."
Tiger Ride finished second, 2 ¾ lengths in front of Penwith. Off the Tracks checked in fourth, with Going for Broke, Rachel's Temper, and Paola Queen completing the order of finish.
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