10/01/2016 7:22PM

Forever Unbridled justifies decision to run in Beldame

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Barbara D. Livingston
Forever Unbridled, under Joel Rosario, wins the Grade 1 Beldame by 2 1/4 lengths.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Dallas Stewart fretted for days about the weather and whether he should run Forever Unbridled in Saturday’s Grade 1, $400,000 Beldame Stakes over a wet Belmont Park main track.

Stewart arrived in New York from Kentucky on Saturday morning and still wasn’t sure what he was going to do.

“I almost had her on a van out of here,” Stewart said.

Fortunately, Stewart left the van empty as Forever Unbridled relished the off-going and galloped to a convincing 2 1/4-length victory in the Beldame as the 2-5 favorite.

Tiger Ride rallied along the inside to finish second, 2 3/4 lengths ahead of Penwith.  Off the Tracks, Going for Broke, Rachel’s Temper, and Paola Queen completed the order of finish.

The Beldame was not a Win and You’re In race for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, but Forever Unbridled will be pointed to that $2 million race at Santa Anita on Nov. 4. There, she will likely meet champions Songbird, Stellar Wind, and possibly Beholder.

“It’s going to be one of those fights where they throw everybody in and the toughest guy gets out,” Stewart said. “There’s going to be a lot of tough guys in there.”

In the Beldame, Forever Unbridled faced some not-so-tough opponents. Cavorting and Curalina, who finished ahead of Forever Unbridled in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga, are training up to the Breeders’ Cup. Stellar Wind and Beholder raced in Saturday’s Grade 1 Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita. The undefeated Songbird won last Saturday’s Grade 1 Cotillion at Parx.

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As far as the Beldame was concerned, if Forever Unbridled handled the mud, she should win.

Under Joel Rosario, Forever Unbridled sat in fifth position while Paola Queen, the Test winner, set the pace along the inside under Luis Saez, with Off the Tracks kept several paths away from her by John Velazquez. The pace was a pedestrian 49.03 seconds for the half-mile.

Around the far turn, Rosario moved Forever Unbridled out and into the clear. When Rosario came to the top of the stretch, he thought “I don’t know how far she was going to win. I could see she was moving very good over the track.”

Rosario let Forever Unbridled float wide in the stretch and she powered home an easy winner while being mildly ridden out.

Forever Unbridled, a 4-year-old daughter of Unbridled’s Song owned and bred by Charles Fipke, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.24 and returned $3.50 as the 3-5 favorite.

Stewart said he could tell early on that Forever Unbridled was handling the wet surface.

“She looked liked she had her head in the right spot and she’s moving good,” Stewart said. “He gave her a great ride. It was splendid. It was great.”

It was a great day for Stewart, who earlier won the Grade 3 Ack Ack at Churchill Downs with Tom’s Ready, who upset defending champion sprinter Runhappy.

Stewart said Forever Unbridled would remain in New York until Tuesday, when she will be flown back to Kentucky, where she will train at Churchill Downs for several weeks before shipping to California.