Charles Fipke’s Forever Unbridled, the 3-5 favorite, swept to the lead turning for home and won Belmont Park’s Beldame Stakes (gr. I) by 2 1/4 lengths. Tiger Ride finished second, 2 3/4 lengths ahead of Penwith in third. Off the Tracks, the 7-2 second choice, finished another three-quarters of a length back in fourth.
Video: Beldame S. (G1)
The time for the nine furlongs was 1:50.24 over a track listed as muddy (sealed). Joel Rosario was up for trainer Dallas Stewart. Stewart had a big day, as his Tom's Ready upended Runhappy in the Ack Ack Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs.
Forever Unbridled paid $3.80 to win, $2.60, and $2.40. Tiger Ride returned $8.40 and $5.30 and Penwith paid $4.50 to show.
Forever Unbridled was unhurried early as Paola Queen set the early pace over the wet going. She had a clear lead through an opening quarter of :24.34 and a half-mile in :49.03 as Off the Tracks gave chase in second with Tiger Ride (on the rail) and Penwith not far behind. The field bunched as they rounded the bend, as Penwith made great headway on Paola Queen, but Forever Unbridled was inhaling them all. After six furlongs in 1:14.06, Forever Unbridled was well clear after a mile in 1:38.07. Her final eighth came in a quick :12.17.
"She's not quick (out of the gate) but she broke OK," Rosario said. "I ended up being very close to the lead because they were going slow. I was just trying to take my time with her, not turn her loose and stay on the outside. I could feel she was getting over the track very good. She was taking me there nicely and I was pretty much just a passenger."
With a $400,000 purse, Forever Unbridled took home $240,000, increasing her bankroll to $1,411,600 off a record of 5-3-3 in 13 starts. Racing solely in grade I company this year after winning the Houston Ladies Classic (gr. III) at Sam Houston Race Park in January, she’s won Oaklawn’s Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) and placed in Belmont’s Ogden Phipps Stakes (gr. I) and the Personal Ensign Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga.
“I thought it was great,” Stewart said. “The rain just drove me nuts. If you looked at the weather the last three days, I almost had her on a van and got her out of here. They said like three inches of rain and you don't want to get into a bad racetrack going into the Breeders' Cup but they kept changing the forecast, things got better. So, thank God, we left her here. The track superintendent did a great job with how good the track looks.
“This filly…I think there’s more to come. She's tough, she really is. So long as she comes back good and everything's good (she'll run in the Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff, gr. I)."
Forever Unbridled is by Unbridled’s Song out of 2006 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Lemons Forever, by Lemon Drop Kid. Fipke paid $2.5 million for Lemons Forever at the 2007 Keeneland November sale, and he’s earned plenty of dividends since. Forever Unbridled is her fourth foal. Her third foal was Unbridled Forever, a full sister, who won the grade I Ballerina Stakes at Saratoga in 2014. Half brother Forever d’Oro, by Medaglia d'Oro was third in the Curlin Stakes earlier this year.