10/15/2012 2:14PM

Belmont: Unbridled Ocean making return in first start for Mott

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Barbara D. Livingston
Right One, up against Unbridled Ocean on Wednesday, won the Jaipur last year and was second in it this year.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Unbridled Ocean, an expensive yearling purchase in 2009 who has run well when healthy, makes his return to the races in a $72,000 second-level allowance race that serves as Wednesday’s feature at Belmont Park.

The race, one of six carded for the grass, is scheduled for seven furlongs on the Widener turf and drew a field of 10.

Away from the races since winning at Gulfstream last Dec. 17, Unbridled Ocean not only makes his first start in 10 months but his first for trainer Bill Mott. Owner Benjamin Leon transferred Unbridled Ocean to Mott in January after he parted ways with Todd Pletcher.

Leon purchased Unbridled Ocean for $875,000 at the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale. A son of Unbridled’s Song, Unbridled Ocean is out of the dam Ocean Drive, who won eight stakes and who was 2 for 2 on the grass at Belmont.

For Pletcher, Unbridled Ocean won 2 of 4 starts, including a neck victory in a one-mile allowance race at Gulfstream on Dec. 17. In that race, Unbridled Ocean was blocked into deep stretch, was guided one path off the rail by Javier Castellano go around a tiring horse, and exploded in the final 60 yards to get past the Grade 2 winner Santiva and win.

Mott got the horse about a month later, but after one work he sent the horse to the farm because of an issue. Unbridled Ocean returned to Mott during the summer, and since mid-August he has had nine workouts, including a five-furlong move in 59.58 seconds on Sept. 30.

“We got plenty of work in him,” said Mott, who has John Velazquez to ride. “He ought to be fit. He’s done well since he’s been back. I’d entered him going a mile and the race didn’t go, so I put him in seven-eighths just so he’d have a place to run.”

If Unbridled Ocean can stay sound, Mott believes the horse “could have stakes potential.”

“Can’t knock what he’s done so far,” he said.

John Velazquez rides Unbridled Ocean on Wednesday.

Six of Unbridled Ocean’s rivals on Wednesday are in for the optional claiming price of $62,500, including the 6-year-old Right One. Right One captured the Grade 3 Jaipur, a seven-furlong race, in 2011 and finished second in the same race in June. He drops in for a claiming price after 10 consecutive stakes tries. Right One gets the services of Javier Castellano, who has won with 11 of his last 25 mounts at Belmont.

Linda Rice has two entered, including Awakino Cat, who finished fifth in the Rob ‘n Gin Stakes last Friday. She also sends out the speedy Karakorum Legend.