Unchained Melody seemed to be in good order after being eased in Saturday’s Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga, trainer Brian Lynch said from his barn Sunday morning. Unchained Melody, the third choice at 9-2, dropped back near the half-mile mile pole and was pulled up by jockey Joel Rosario.
She was vanned off but appears to be fine, according to her connections. As a precaution, Lynch said she will be examined at Cornell Ruffian Equine Specialists in Elmont, New York.
“She seems very sound and scoped clean, so we’ll do our due diligence and send her down to the Ruffian Clinic, but there’s nothing apparent at this stage,” Lynch said. “He [Rosario] said she gave him a little run and he asked her again and she just kind of sulked. He felt something wasn’t right. We’ll live to fight another day. The good news is she isn’t scheduled for surgery and we’re not putting in any screws or taking out any chips.”
Unchained Melody was making her first start since winning the Grade 2 Mother Goose on July 1 at Belmont Park. The 3-year-old Smart Strike filly had won three of her first four races before the Alabama, won by Elate.
Lynch enjoyed a better moment on Saturday when Meantime came back from a freshening to finish second in an allowance race. The Hard Spun colt made his first start since an eighth-place effort in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes more than two months ago, as Race Me Home won by a neck in the 1 1/8 mile route on the main track.
“I thought he ran really well, maybe at a mile and an eighth he got a little bit tired in the last part of it, but I thought it was a really game effort,” Lynch said. “I was hoping that race would come back a mile and a sixteenth in the [condition] book, but other than that, it was the effort I wanted. He rated kindly and put himself in the race when he needed to. He just got out-finished.”
Meantime is targeting another allowance race at Belmont Park for the fall meet and could be on target to go back to stakes company in the winter, Lynch said.
Oscar Performance is still pointed to the Grade 1, $ 500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic on September 30 at Belmont, Lynch said. The son of Kitten’s Joy has won three straight races, including the Grade 3 Pennine Ridge on June 3 and the Grade 1 Belmont Derby Invitational on July 8 at Belmont. The Amerman Racing homebred notched his second straight Grade 1 win with an impressive effort in the Secretariat on August 12 at Arlington Park.
With another Grade 1 win in a qualifier for the Grade 1, $ 4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, Lynch said Oscar Performance should warrant consideration for an Eclipse Award as the top 3-year-old despite being a turf horse.
“I’ve never seen them give it to a grass horse, but he’s certainly the boss of his category, it seems like, and if he were to beat older horses in the Joe Hirsch, then he definitely deserves a nomination at least,” Lynch said. “I’m a bit skeptical whether they’d give it to a grass horse. But I feel like if he does win, he’s at least entitled to be nominated.”
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