Unbridled Belle Begins Campaign in Obeah
Photo: Rick Samuels
Unbridled Belle won the Grade 1 Beldame last September.
Last year, Unbridled Belle was coming off a nine-month layoff when she began her 4-year-old campaign and finished second in the Obeah Stakes (gr. III). The connections for the Broken Vow   mare – off since finishing fifth in the Oct. 27 Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) – have chosen the same starting point again in 2008, as she will make her 5-year-old debut in the June 14 Obeah at Delaware Park.

The 3-2 morning line favorite, Unbridled Belle will face seven rivals in the $150,000 event for fillies and mares. The 1 1/8-mile route will be on the main track.

Owned by Team Valor International and trained by Todd Pletcher, Unbridled Belle is the lone graded stakes winner in the field. Her successful 4-year-old campaign included victories in both the July 15 Delaware Handicap (gr. II) and the Sept. 30 Beldame Stakes (gr. I), which was also at nine furlongs. In the Breeders’ Cup at Monmouth Park, Unbridled Belle did not have the best of trips, as she was steadied numerous times in the early going before flattening out in the stretch under Ramon Dominguez. Peak Maria’s Way beat her by two lengths in the Obeah.

Bred in Kentucky by Joe Sutton and Laszio Makk, Unbridled Belle is out of the Silver Buck mare Little Bold Belle. She was a bargain buy at the Keeneland 2004 September yearling sale, going for only $4,000. Thus far, the dark bay mare has earned $1,269,340 from 14 starts. Dominguez will get the mount again, as she goes for her fourth victory in five lifetime starts at Delaware.

Among those likely to challenge the favorite is Stephen Quick’s Lexi  Star (4-1), who has been graded stakes placed twice and is 4-for-5 lifetime at Delaware. The 6-year-old daughter of Crypto Star enters off a runner-up finish in the May 17 Allaire DuPont Distaff Stakes (gr. II) on Preakness day at Pimlico. It was the Christopher Grove trainee’s seventh consecutive effort in the money.

Lexi Star opened the year by scoring in the 1 1/16-mile Geisha Stakes at Pimlico. It was her 10th career victory. Last year she was fourth in the Obeah, 3 3/4 lengths in back of the winner. Jeremy Rose will ride in this year’s edition.

Also coming into the race in good form are Lemon Drop Mom (9-2) and Best Vow (10-1), both 4-year-olds. Robert Evans’ Lemon Drop Mom scored by nine lengths in the 1 1/16-mile Winter Melody Stakes May 17 at Delaware, as she took over just past the half-mile marker and drew clear. Trained by Tim Ritchey, the Lemon Drop Kid   filly was off the board in two graded stakes earlier this year.

Glenn and Sue Jeffers’ homebred Best Vow, another daughter of Broken Vow, has won three of her last four starts, all in allowance competition. Her most recent score was by three lengths May 25 at Delaware. Prior to that she was runner-up – but nearly six lengths back of Buy the Barrel – in her stakes debut, the April 9 Bayakoa at Oaklawn Park.

Illinois-bred Copper State, trained by Steve Asmussen, makes her Delaware Park debut and will also stretch out to nine furlongs for the first time.

$150,000 Obeah Stakes (gr. III, Race 9, 4:21 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Dirt)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Adorable Jane (KY), 117, No Rider
2. Lemom Drop Mom (KY), 119, Jose Caraballo
3. All Smiles (MD), 117, Geovany Garcia
4. Lexi Star (MD), 119, Jeremy Rose
5. Julie B (WV), 117, Larry Reynolds
6. Unbridled Belle (KY), 117, Ramon Dominguez
7. Best Vow (KY), 119, Gabriel Saez
8. Copper State (IL), 117, Channing Hill

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