Forever Unbridled could try Classic
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Given her propensity to run well fresh, Forever Unbridled will most likely train up to the Breeders’ Cup, her connections said Sunday morning, the day after she beat Songbird in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga.
In which Breeders’ Cup race Forever Unbridled will run remains to be decided.
Owner Charles Fipke said Sunday he would consider running Forever Unbridled against males in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on Nov. 4.
“To be quite honest we’re going to look at the Classic, see who’s in it,” Fipke said. “We go where the money is. We will look at it. We’d be quite happy to win the Distaff, but we’ll look at everything, especially if there’s good prize money to offset the losses.”
Added trainer Dallas Stewart, “It’s a mile and a quarter. She could love that.”
Meanwhile, Songbird will be evaluated by Dr. Larry Bramlage at the Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., on Monday, her owner, Rick Porter, said Sunday.
“I just want him to go over her,” Porter said. “A number of good horsemen told me they thought she was definitely off in the post parade. It got better as she warmed up. Someone sent me a video and it is clear. I don’t think she’s the same Songbird.”
Forever Unbridled, who earned a 98 Beyer Figure, rallied from last to run down a loose-on-the-lead Songbird and win the Personal Ensign by a neck for her seventh win from 16 career starts and her third in a Grade 1. It was her first start in 10 weeks, since winning the Grade 2 Fleur De Lis at Churchill Downs. It is 10 weeks to the Breeders’ Cup.
Immediately following the Personal Ensign, Stewart mentioned running Forever Unbridled in the Beldame at Belmont Park on Sept. 30, a race she won last year before finishing third behind Beholder and Songbird in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita.
“It doesn’t do her career any good to win the Beldame again,” Fipke said. “We want to concentrate on the Breeders’ Cup.”
If the decision is made to run Forever Unbridled in the Distaff, she could still face males in a race such as the Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream in late January, Fipke said. The inaugural running of that race this year carried a $12 million purse. In 2018, the proposed purse for the race is $16 million.
Porter said that Songbird was to fly Monday morning from Albany, N.Y., to Kentucky to be examined. If she is deemed sound, Songbird would return to California and continue to train under Jerry Hollendorfer toward a fall campaign that will likely include the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
“Jerry’s very upset that I’m doing it,” Porter said of sending Songbird to Rood and Riddle. “He said there’s definitely nothing wrong. I just want to make sure.”
Early Sunday morning, before he left to return to California, Hollendorfer said he felt Songbird came out of the race fine and that jockey Mike Smith thought she ran a good race.
“I thought she ran well,” Hollendorfer said. “I have no excuse for not winning. I thought I had my horse prepared. I thought she ran well. We were beaten by a very good horse. Mike said she ran very well. He thought she was very sound. The last thing he said to me before he walked into the [jockeys’] room was, ‘Let’s keep going.’ ”
Forever Unbridled (left) came from last to catch Songbird in Saturday’s Personal Ensign.