Mike McCarty's Unbridled's Note had never raced on turf or faced older horses
prior to Friday's Grade 3, $100,000
Stakes at Santa Anita, but the Steve Asmussen sophomore professionally
handled a field of seasoned turf sprinters in the opening-day feature. The
Unbridled's Song colt rallied late to overhaul the front-running Chosen Miracle,
in a well-timed move worthy of the race's new honoree, retired Hall of Fame
rider Eddie Delahoussaye. The Eddie D., formerly known as the Morvich, serves as
a course-and-distance prep for the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint.
"It's an honor to win this race," winning rider Corey Nakatani said. "Eddie was one of the guys I idolized when I first started. It's good to get that first stakes win for the meet out of the way. This horse is a good enough horse to put me in the position I needed to be in to win. The key is if they handle it, and he handled it just fine. It's Eddie D.'s day today, though. He's a great asset to the sport."
Delahoussaye was honored by the occasion."It's a great honor (to have a stakes race named for me), especially because I'm living to see it," the all-time great said. "Most of the time, they give these awards and the people are deceased, and they never know they have won it. So at least I know I won it -- thank God!
"It's nice having my wife and family here, and the friends that were with us in the FrontRunner. To have the councilmen come out, and everybody at Santa Anita, and the fans."
Unbridled's Note had finished third in his last pair at Saratoga. Beaten two lengths in the Grade 2 Amsterdam, he went down by only a half-length in the Grade 1 King's Bishop on August 25, where he suffered a nightmare trip in traffic and extricated himself too late. The betting public took notice of the trouble line, dispatching him as the 3-1 favorite despite the surface switch in the Eddie D.
With new rider Nakatani aboard, Unbridled's Note was reserved off the pace in fourth, but still within striking distance of the early leaders. Chosen Miracle showed the way through splits of :22 1/5 and :44 1/5 on the unique downhill course.
Pressed by Canuletmedowneasy in the opening stages, Chosen Miracle then faced a threat from Comma to the Top, who dove through along the inside at the top of the stretch. Chosen Miracle fought off both Canuletmedowneasy and Comma to the Top, only to have Unbridled's Note bear down on him inside the final furlong.
Lengthening stride and getting over the ground beautifully, Unbridled's Note
surged 1 1/4 lengths clear. The winner finished about 6 1/2 furlongs on the firm
turf in 1:12 2/5 and paid $8, $5.60 and $3.80 for his first stakes victory.
Assistant trainer Scott Blasi confirmed that the Breeders' Cup is the plan.
"First time on turf, but Unbridled's Songs (the colt's sire) generally like it," Blasi noted. "This puts us in a position to make the Breeders' Cup (Turf Sprint) with him. I just told Corey to put him in a good spot and see if he liked it or not. They either like it or they don't, but he's bred to like the grass and he's a really talented colt.
"It was a pretty dominating performance, I thought, and usually when you run them back the second time, hopefully they run better because they have a little more direction. Corey gave him a great trip, gave him horses to follow, got across the dirt, the horse finished up beautiful."
Chosen Miracle held second by a neck from Mensa Heat, who got up by a half-length over Comma to the Top. Tale of a Champion, Boxeur des Rues, Canuletmedowneasy, Octane, Red Sun, Shrug, Calimonco and Crimson Giant rounded out the order of finish, and Koast was scratched.
Unbridled's Note now sports a mark of 7-3-0-2, $195,741. A 4 1/2-length debut winner at Churchill Downs last fall, the bay flopped on the Kentucky Derby trail at Oaklawn Park, checking in ninth in the first division of the Grade 3 Southwest and trailing in the Grade 2 Rebel. Unbridled's Note was given a three-month break and reverted to sprints thereafter. He made a winning return in a seven-furlong optional claimer at Churchill on June 17, setting himself up for his stint at the Spa.
Bred by Gulf Coast Farms and Unbridled's Song Syndicate in Kentucky, Unbridled's Note is a half-brother to multiple Grade 1 star Spoken Fur. He brought $150,000 as a newly-turned yearling at Keeneland January, and later sold for $140,000 as an OBS March two-year-old in training.
Unbridled's Note is out of the winning Siberian Express mare Siberian Fur. His extended family includes such notable turf performers as multiple Grade 3 queens Keertana and Snow Top Mountain, as well as two-time Italian highweight Knifebox.