Graded stakes winners Forever Unbridled and Tom’s Ready, both being pointed to Grade 1 stakes on Travers Day, August 27, breezed a half-mile over Saratoga’s main track Sunday morning.
Charles Fipke homebred Forever Unbridled and G M B Racing’s Tom’s Ready each went four furlongs in 49 seconds, according to trainer Dallas Stewart. Forever Unbridled is scheduled to run next in the $ 750,000 Personal Ensign Invitational while Tom’s Ready is working toward the $ 500,000 Ketel One King’s Bishop.
The Personal Ensign for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up will be the first Saratoga start for Forever Unbridled, winner of the Grade 1 Apple Blossom in April whose sister, Unbridled Forever, captured the Shine Again and Grade 1 Ballerina here last summer.
Forever Unbridled ran into traffic trouble down the stretch last time out in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps on the Belmont Stakes undercard June 11 but managed to get up for second, 2 ½ lengths behind Cavorting.
“She worked great this morning,” Stewart said. “She had a bad trip in the Ogden Phipps but ran good and was second, so here she is. We’re just trying to pace it out and hit the Breeders’ Cup. We want to be sound and ready to go.”
Twelfth in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby coming out of a runner-up finish in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, Tom’s Ready rallied from dead last to win the seven-furlong, Grade 2 Woody Stephens by 1 ½ lengths, also on Belmont Day. He ran twice last summer at Saratoga, finishing fourth in his career debut and fifth in the Grade 1 Hopeful.
“He came back great,” Stewart said. “We’re just spacing his races out. The horse ran all through the Louisiana Derby series, ran in the Kentucky Derby, we gave him a little bit of a break and brought him back Belmont Day. Now we’ll give him a nice long break and try to win the King’s Bishop with him and the Breeders’ Cup Mile.”
Stewart said Tale of Verve emerged well from Saturday’s 1 1/8-mile allowance victory by a neck at odds of 17-1 over favored My Man Sam. Runner-up in the Grade 1 Preakness behind 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, it was the first win since his maiden triumph last April.
“He’s a beautiful horse. We’ll just keep him two turns and space his races out, maybe run him one more time here. We’ll figure it out,” he said. “It was a big step yesterday. Great race, he fought hard and beat a really, really nice horse. It was a great Saratoga race.”
Another Fipke homebred, Tale of Verve ran six more times last year following the Preakness including off-the-board finishes in the Belmont, Grade 2 West Virginia Derby, Grade 1 Travers and Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby. He was fourth in a Churchill Downs allowance June 4 off a seven-month layoff.
“We gave him a break during the winter. He ran hard in the Preakness and we just kept going. I probably should have stopped a little bit. I think I learned something there. Those Triple Crown races, if they’re not competing they need a break,” Stewart said. “He’s such a nice horse, he’s sound. We gave him the time off. They did a great job in South Carolina with him and sent him back to me. It looks like we’re on the right road.”
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