Charles Fipke’s homebred Forever Unbridled was the easy winner of Saturday’s Grade 1 Beldame Stakes at Belmont Park, geared down nearing the wire to win by 2 1/4 lengths. The royally bred 4-year-old daughter of Unbridled’s Song out of Kentucky Oaks winner Lemons Forever, under a hand ride from Joel Rosario, covered nine furlongs over the muddy (sealed) main track in 1:50.24 for trainer Dallas Stewart.
“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.”
Paola Queen and Off the Tracks dueled through an opening quarter in :24.34, just noses apart, while Tiger Ride took back to be third alongside Penwith in the early going. Forever Unbridled was unhurried in fifth position early on, cruising easily nearly five lengths off the leaders. As Paola Queen got her neck in front of Off the Tracks through a half mile in :49.03, Forever Unbridled moved up to be just three lengths off the leaders while still in fifth position. After three-quarters in 1:14.06, Paola Queen was again challenged by Off the Tracks, while Penwith moved up three-wide to make her bid.
Forever Unbridled may have gone four-wide entering the stretch, but the filly never looked seriously threatened as she cruised to the lead under a hand ride. Rosario allowed her to gallop out until she was a sixteenth away from home, then geared her down, allowing Tiger Ride to close the gap to 2 1/4 lengths at the wire to finish second. Penwith kept on to finish third, and Off the Tracks was fourth.
“It was a good trip,” Rosario said. “She’s not quick [out of the gate] but she broke OK. I ended up being very close to the lead because they were going very 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. She was doing everything on her own.”
Bred in Kentucky, Forever Unbridled has really hit her stride as a 4-year-old, kicking off the season with back-to-back graded stakes victories, and following those up with on-the-board finishes in both the Ogden Phipps and Personal Ensign. Overall, the filly boasts a record of 5-3-3 from 13 starts, with earnings of over $ 1.4 million.
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