Charles Fipke's homebred Forever Unbridled has earned another expenses-paid trip to the Breeders' Cup Distaff, courtesy of her comeback win in Saturday evening's G3 Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill Downs. The 5-year-old daughter of Unbridled's Song, unraced since finish a distant third to Beholder and Songbird in the 2016 Distaff, returned with an easy 1 1/2-length score over Apologynotaccepted under a very confident ride from Joel Rosario. Trained by Dallas Stewart, Forever Unbridled covered 1 1/8 miles on the fast main track in 1:49.94.
“She's a tremendous horse,” Rosario said. “I got her settled early and when we went by the half-mile pole she was moving so easy. I just nudged her a bit and she took off. Dallas (Stewart) got her ready and did a tremendous job with her. To be able to ride a horse with this much class is such a blessing. I can't wait for what's next.”
Forever Unbridled broke well from her inside stall, settling near mid-pack for Rosario as Apologynotaccepted gunned out for the early lead. Big World ranged up to keep that frontrunner company through early fractions of :24.26 and :48.71, that pair nearly two full lengths in front of Carrumba and another three lengths to Romantic Vision and Tiger Moth. Forever Unbridled was at least 10 lengths off the pace entering the backstretch.
As the field approached the far turn, Apologynotaccepted was again threatened by Big World but it was Forever Unbridled who was steadily approaching on the far outside after a three-wide run. Though she was still three lengths from the leader near the head of the lane, Rosario never panicked, first swallowing up Big World. He then pointed Forever Unbridled at her next target, the leading Apologynotaccepted, and with a perfectly-timed, steady ride guided his mare on to the front for a 1 1/2-length victory. Apologynotaccepted had to settle for second, with Carrumba up for third. Big World faded to fourth.
“Now that is what you call a racehorse,” lauded Stewart. “How lucky are we to have such an unbelievable horse like this in our barn? We have to give a lot of credit to Mr. (Charles) Fipke. He's done so much for this game and this horse is so special. I told Joel (Rosario) to get her settled early and keep her out of trouble. He was barely moving on her and she won easily. We just need to keep her happy and healthy and we'll have her ready for the Breeders' Cup.”
Bred in Kentucky by her owner, Forever Unbridled is out of Kentucky Oaks winner Lemons Forever, and is a full sister to Grade 1 Ballerina winner Unbridled Forever. Forever Unbridled put together a banner 2016 season herself with two Grade 1 wins in the Apple Blossom and the Beldame, and was never worse than third in top company all season. Overall, the mare has a record of 6-3-4 from 15 starts with earnings of over $1.7 million.
— Churchill Downs (@ChurchillDowns) June 18, 2017
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