Charles Fipke’s homebred Forever Unbridled ($9.40) swept to the lead coming off the far turn and then held off a late bid from Abel Tasman by a half-length to win the 34th running of the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) for fillies and mares Friday afternoon at Del Mar racetrack to close out the opening day of the 34th Breeders’ Cup World Championships before a crowd of 32,278, and closing out an undefeated season.
Trained by Dallas Stewart and ridden by John Velazquez, Forever Unbridled covered the mile and one-eighth on a fast main track in 1:50.25.
Champagne Room shot out to an uncontested early lead with Paradise Woods in closest pursuit and Forever Unbridled sixth in the early going running in the clear on the outside. Approaching the far turn, Velazquez had Forever Unbridled in high gear, quickly joining the two leaders and rushing past with authority.
Third in the Distaff last year, Forever Unbridled completed a perfect year with victories in the Fleur De Lis at Churchill Downs and the Personal Ensign at Saratoga. It was the fourth Grade 1 victory for the 5-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of 1995 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Unbridled’s Song.
The victory was the second Breeders’ Cup triumph for Stewart, who also won the 2001 Distaff at Belmont Park with Unbridled Elaine. It also was the second victory in the Distaff for Velazquez, who won aboard Ashado at Lone Star Park in 2004 and 14th overall.
I’m just blessed. She’s such a great filly,” said Stewart. “A championship was on the line and she’s three-for-three. She ran great and I’m proud of Johnny (Velazquez) and how he rode her. Joel (Rosario) is a great rider and those are two great jockeys, but I’m focused on the horse. She’s had that spacing and she’s been very successful with that.
Last year she had an injury and we gave her plenty of time. Chuck (Fipke) was right about putting her back in training. He didn’t have to. He could have just retired her already a Grade 1 winner. He opted to bring her back and the injury wasn’t bad and she was never sore. We brought her back and put her back in training and she’s so good when you space those races out. She’s the best I’ve trained.”
“The whole key was I wanted to save ground on the first turn and I was able to do that,” said winning rider Velazquez. “I got her in a comfortable position where I thought she was going well. At the three-eighths pole I followed Jose Ortiz's horse (Elate) and all of a sudden she stopped and I had to go a little sooner than I wanted to. I got to the lead a little too soon for me but, I mean, it was perfect.”
In January of 2018, Forever Unbridled was named the 2017 Champion Older Dirt Female Eclipse Award winner.
|No Replay Available||March 31, 2018||Dubai World Cup Sponsored By Emirates Airline||MEYDAN RACECOURSE||1||5|
|November 03, 2017||Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff||DEL MAR||1||1|
|August 26, 2017||Personal Ensign S.||SARATOGA||1||1|
|June 17, 2017||Fleur de Lis H.||CHURCHILL DOWNS||2||1|
|No Replay Available||November 28, 2015||Comely S.||AQUEDUCT||3||1|
|No Replay Available||October 17, 2015||Lexus Raven Run S.||KEENELAND||2||5|
|No Replay Available||May 01, 2015||Longines Kentucky Oaks||CHURCHILL DOWNS||1||11|
|No Replay Available||March 28, 2015||Fair Grounds Oaks||FAIR GROUNDS||2||3|
|No Replay Available||February 21, 2015||Rachel Alexandra S.||FAIR GROUNDS||3||3|
|No Replay Available||January 17, 2015||Silverbulletday S.||FAIR GROUNDS||2|
|No Replay Available||December 12, 2014||FAIR GROUNDS||1|
|No Replay Available||November 09, 2014||CHURCHILL DOWNS||2|