DEL MAR, CA – Charles E. Fipke’s lightly-raced homebred Forever Unbridled sealed the Eclipse award for Older Female Horse after sweeping to victory in Friday’s Grade 1, $2,000,000 Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
Off comfortably from post 6 under jockey Johnny Velazquez, Forever Unbridled settled near the rear while Champagne Room led through splits of :23.79, :48.08, and 1:12.50. Commencing her bid heading into the far turn, Forever Unbridled drew even three-wide alongside Champagne Room and Paradise Woods, then shook clear and was set down for the stretch drive. A strong bid from a fast-closing Abel Tasman proved too little, too late, as Forever Unbridled hit the wire first by a 1/2 length in a final time of 1:50.25 for the 1 1/8-mile main track event.
“The whole key was I wanted to save ground on the first turn, and I was able to do that,” Velazquez said. “I got her in a comfortable position where I thought she was going well. I got to the lead a little too soon for me but it was perfect.”
Paradise Woods faded in the stretch but managed to hold onto third by a length over the favored Elate, who ran out of gas after being well-positioned heading into the far turn. Mopotism followed, with Champagne Room fading to sixth and Romantic Vision never a threat in seventh. Stellar Wind, in her last race before retiring, failed to win a Breeders’ Cup race in her third straight attempt and finished last in the field of eight.
With the win, the 5-year-old daughter of Unbridled’s Song improved her record to 17-8-3-4 with career earnings of $3,186,880. For trainer Dallas Stewart, it was his second Breeders’ Cup victory following his 2001 Distaff triumph with Unbridled Elaine.
“She’s such a great filly,” Stewart said. “A championship was on the line and she ran great. She’s the best I’ve trained.”
Forever Unbridled returned $9.40 to win, $5 to place, and $3.40 to show. Abel Tasman brought back $5.40 to place and $3.60 to show, while Paradise Woods paid $3.80 to show.