11/25/2012 8:50PM

Hollywood Park: Unbridled Command makes patience pay off in Hollywood Derby


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Six months ago, Unbridled Command did not have the poise to wait through the first half of a race and then make a sustained bid when asked by a rider.

Sunday at Betfair Hollywood Park, Unbridled Command did all of that to perfection. Making his Grade 1 debut, Unbridled Command closed from 11th in a field of 14 under jockey Javier Castellano to win the $250,000 Hollywood Derby by 1 1/2 lengths for his fifth consecutive win.

The style of the victory left trainer Thomas Bush elated with the way the colt has progressed through the second half of the year.

“He’s learned to turn off,” Bush said. “That’s a big thing, to have a horse that does so in that manner is good. I thought the mile and a quarter would be good for that.”

Castellano moved Unbridled Command to the outside after a half-mile, and allowed the colt to move from 11th to eighth on the backstretch. Continuing with a wide move, Unbridled Command was second behind pacesetter My Best Brother with a quarter-mile remaining.

“I chose to go around and it worked out perfectly,” Castellano said. “I was impressed. I think I got the jump on the come-from-behind horses, especially the Europeans.”

Unbridled Command led by 2 1/2 lengths with a furlong remaining and won with room to spare, finishing the turf race over 1 1/4 miles in 2:01.07. He returned $16 to win.

Owned by Lewis Lakin, Unbridled Command has won 6 of 10 starts and $469,040. His winning streak includes the Grade 3 Saranac Stakes at Saratoga in September and the Mohawk Stakes for New York-breds at Belmont Park on Oct. 20.

Grandeur, the winner of the Grade 2 Twilight Derby at Santa Anita in his American debut on Nov. 2, closed from last with a six-wide move to finish second as the 7-2 favorite in the Hollywood Derby. A ground-saving journey around the second turn could have been the difference, trainer Jeremy Noseda said.

“He was a little unlucky,” Noseda said. “I think something happened on the final turn. We might have been good enough to win.”

Lucky Chappy, 13th with a quarter-mile remaining, finished third, followed by Rjwa, Power Foot, Summer Front, My Best Brother, All Squared Away, Big Bane Theory, Handsome Mike, Golden Ticket, Smart Ellis, General Logan and Speaking of Which.

Speaking of Which was unlucky. Second in the Twilight Derby, Speaking of Which was checked by jockey Pat Smullen while in traffic on the turn, losing all chance.

“He ran out of room,” trainer Dermot Weld said. “He was traveling beautifully and there was no place to go.”