Unbridled Sidney, ridden by Corey Lanerie, rocketed to the front and never looked back en route to a 1 1/4-length victory in Friday's $285,000 Cherokee Run Breeders' Cup on the turf at Churchill Downs.
The 5-year-old daughter of Unbridled's Song covered the five-furlong distance over a firm turf course in 56.08 and paid $21.20, $10.20, and $5.40. Smart Enough, piloted by Rafael Bejarano, gave a determined rally in the closing sixteenth to secure second and paid $6 and $4.40. T.D. Vance, with Garrett Gomez in the irons, did his best running late to grab third and paid $3.60.
Around the Cape, ridden by Julien Leparoux, finished fourth as the slight 7-2 favorite in the field of twelve.
Unbridled Sidney, who holds the course record of 55.54 for the distance, was one of four females who lined up to tackle their male counterparts in the turf dash. She improved her record over the Churchill Downs grass course to 4-1-1 in six races and has won seven of 18 career starts.
Owned by Douglas and Norrine Devenport and trained by Ronny Werner, she added the Cherokee Run to a trio of 2006 victories that also include the Mamzelle Stakes at Churchill Downs and the $250,000 Distaff Turf Sprint Championship in the "Summit of Speed" at Calder. Unbridled Sidney earned $170,841 to boost her career bankroll to $583,220.
Unbridled Sidney faded to sixth in her last start, the Total Rewards Breeders' Cup at Louisiana Downs Sept. 4.
"She likes that front end," said Werner. "She doesn't have to have it, she won the Mamzelle coming off the pace just a little bit, but she's front-end. She was ready. She loves this course, obviously, so that's a big plus. When you can walk out of that stall and come over here and run and not be shipped, it helps."
Unbridled Sidney broke sharply and was briefly challenged by Nicole's Dream and Very Vegas before she sprinted to a clear lead through fractions of :21 2/5 and :44. Smart Enough settled along the rail behind the leaders, while T.D. Vance tracked the top group from fifth. Gomez urged Unbridled Sidney to increase her advantage to three lengths with three furlongs remaining and she held a four-length advantage in mid-stretch. The winner was never seriously threatened after that, and easily held off the late-running Smart Enough and T.D. Vance under energetic handling from Lanerie.
"She ran awesome," said Lanerie. "She kind of just had that focused look about her and that she was going to run awesome. I could just tell by the way she acted."
Mocha Queen finished fifth, followed by Chosen Chief, Sgt. Bert, Nicole's Dream, Justice for Austin, Atticus Kristy, Elusive Jazz, and Very Vegas.