Team Valor Stable's Unbridled Belle successfully opened her 2008 campaign with a convincing victory in the $150,000 Obeah Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO) at Delaware Park June 14.
With Ramon Dominguez aboard, the 2007 Delaware Handicap winner notched a 5 3/4-length victory in front-running fashion. The 5-year-old daughter of Broken Vow cut early fractions of :48.15 for the half mile and 1:11.81 for the three-quarters mile before completing the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.72 over a fast main track. The Kentucky-bred trained by Todd Pletcher returned $3.40 as the favorite in the field of seven.
Copper State, with Channing Hill aboard, ran second a head in front of Lemon Drop Mom, with Jose Caraballo, in third.
Unbridled Belle raised her career mark to six wins from 15 starts with earnings of $1,359,340.
"She came away pretty sharp and basically took the lead under her own terms," said Dominguez. "I really was not worried about her making the lead because she did it within herself. Turning for home, I took a quick peak back and she was well clear. She just showed she was clearly the best."
Dominguez said the Obeah sets up nicely for Unbridled Belle’s defense of her title in the $1-million Delaware Handicap (gr. II) at 1 1/4 miles on July 13.
"Definitely," Dominguez said. "She had a very tough and successful year last year. They did the right thing by her by giving her break. Now, it seems like she came back in great form and it certainly should be a great set up for the big race here."
The mare bred in Kentucky by Joe Sutton and Laszlo Makk also won the Beldame (gr. I) and Go For Wand Stakes last year.