02/06/2017 12:46PM

Battalion Runner may be last standout for Unbridled's Song

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Barbara D. Livingston
Battalion Runner (left) won in his first attempt at two turns last Saturday.

Unbridled’s Song has continued to make headlines more than three years after his death, as he has been posthumously represented by champions Will Take Charge and Arrogate. The stallion’s final runners are 3-year-olds this year, and he appears to have another chance at a standout with Battalion Runner, the winner of an allowance/optional claimer last Saturday at Gulfstream.

Unbridled’s Song, who died in July 2013, had covered 113 mares that season, resulting in 80 live foals, according to The Jockey Club’s Report of Mares Bred. One of those mares was the Tapit daughter Tamboz, a full sister to Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Tapizar. The mare is already the dam of Grade 2-placed Oceanwave and stakes-placed Tiznoble.

Battalion Runner is likely to become the next of her runners to graduate to stakes company after his allowance win, his first try around two turns and his second victory from three starts. The colt has won his last two races by a combined 10 lengths.

“I thought it was a good effort – first time around two turns and second start off of a long layoff,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “I think we got what we wanted. The time seems solid. They kind of got into a steady rhythm all the way around there. It looked like the first two were pretty well clear of the field. I think everything is in play [for his next start].”

Battalion Runner, who earned a 91 Beyer Speed Fgiure in the allowance and a 96 in his maiden win, carries the colors of Vincent and Teresa Viola’s St. Elias Stable, which purchased him for $700,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale.

Vincent Viola was tabbed by President Donald Trump to serve as secretary of the Army but withdrew from consideration last week. Viola, who had been working through the confirmation process since mid-December, cited his inability to navigate Defense Department conflict-of-interest rules around his family businesses. Viola founded the digital stock-trading firm Virtu Financial and owns the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers. His plans for divestment did not meet Pentagon requirements.

Repole’s Nonna Bella wins debut

New York-based owner and breeder Mike Repole has been a staunch supporter of his young stallions and was rewarded over the weekend by the homebred Nonna Bella. Nonna Bella, from the first crop of Grade 1 winner Stay Thirsty, won her debut by a neck Saturday at Gulfstream Park as the favorite.

The filly is out of Grade 1-placed Nonna Mia, whom Repole named for his grandmother. The mare is already the dam of Grade 1 winner Outwork, whom Repole started in the Kentucky Derby last year. Outwork was from the first crop of Repole’s phenomenal young sire Uncle Mo, who stands alongside Stay Thirsty at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Kentucky.

“Outwork was her half-brother, and he was able to win first time out, and Nonna’s Boy was her half-brother, and he was able to win first time out,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “I think that there is usually something to that fact that some pedigree lines tend to have more success than others in their debuts.”