The rare horse who made headlines in the sales ring, on the track, and as a stallion, Unbridled's Song died July 26 in Lexington at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital.
Unbridled's Song, 20, had completed his 17th season at Taylor Made Stallions in Nicholasville, Ky. where he stood for $60,000. Like him, many of his progeny have made headlines in the sales ring, on the track, and as stallions or broodmares.
"Unbridled's Song was majestic from the beginning. Rarely are there horses that are supposed to be great from the beginning and actually are," said Taylor Made president Duncan Taylor. "Unbridled's Song was one of those great horses. He had it all—looks, pedigree, speed, and presence. "Our team loved him from the beginning. I appreciate and am proud of the job our team did with the management of this magnificent horse. I would also like to thank the breeders and owners who supported and helped him become a great stallion."
Unbridled's Song was euthanized after a rapid decline in his health as a result of a large mass present in multiple sinus cavities and around the optic nerves. He began exhibiting acute neurological signs Thursday morning, July 25th, and was transported to Rood and Riddle. Based on the results on an MRI, it was determined the mass was invasive and aggressive in nature and deemed inoperable.
Unbridled's Song burst on the scene in 1995 when he sold for $1.4 million at the Barretts March sale, a world-record price for a horse at a 2-year-olds in training sale. But buyer Hiroshi Fujita would back out of the sale because he said his veterinarian detected a bone chip in the colt's left front ankle. Seller Ernie Pargallo and consignor Taylor Made would dispute that diagnosis, but Paragallo also would say he welcomed the opportunity to race the promising son of 1990 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Unbridled.
Paragallo, working with bloodstock agent Buzz Chace, landed Unbridled's Song for $200,000 at the 1994 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga August yearling select sale.
On the track, Unbridled's Song would quickly deliver, winning the 1995 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Belmont Park. He would continue that success at 3, winning the Florida Derby (gr. I) and Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. II) before finishing fifth in the Kentucky Derby, where he raced with a sore left front foot.
Trained by Jim Ryerson for most of his career, he then finished second in the Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park and skipped the final two Triple Crown legs. Unbridled's Song made his final two career starts for trainer Nick Zito, going out with a victory in the 1997 Olympic Handicap at Gulfstream Park.
That race was supposed to serve as a prep for the Donn Handicap (gr. I) but Unbridled's Song suffered a career-ending injury training for the Donn.
Bred in Kentucky by Mandysland Farm, Unbridled Song was out of the Caro mare Trolley Song. He retired with a record of 5-4-0 from 12 starts and earnings of $1,311,800.
His next career move would prove just as successful when he joined Taylor Made as a stallion. He is the sire of champions Midshipman , 2008 champion 2-year-old colt, and Embur's Song, Canada's 2011 champion older mare. His Breeders' Cup successes include Ladies' Classic (gr. I) winners Unrivaled Belle and Unbridled Elaine.
From 14 crops to race to date, Unbridled's Song has sired 730 winners from just over 1,000 lifetime starters, with nearly $90 million in career progeny earnings.
While Unbridled's Song failed to make the Donn, his son Graydar won this year's edition of the Gulfstream Park race to become Unbridled's Song's 100th stakes winner. After the milestone, reached by only 26 other North American-based stallions, Taylor Made Stallions vice president Ben Taylor talked about the stallion's career.
"Unbridled's Song has been such a great sire, and our entire team at Taylor Made could not be more proud of him for accomplishing such a landmark of 100 stakes winners for a sire," said Ben Taylor, vice president of Taylor Made Stallions. "I want to thank all of the breeders, owners, trainers, and all other horsemen who have shared a hand in Unbridled's Song's success."
In the sales ring, Unbridled's Song has had 26 yearlings surpass $1 million from his first 14 crops. Sons of Unbridled's Song at stud already include sires of grade I winners in Even the Score and First Defence, and his daughters have ranked him among the top broodmare sires, having produced many grade or group I winners internationally.