08/24/2016 11:08AM

Mare Unbridled Melody has two stakes winners on consecutive days at Saratoga

Debra A. Roma
Tourist recorded his first Grade 1 victory in the Fourstardave.

On August 19 and 20, the mare Unbridled Melody achieved the feat of having two of her progeny win stakes on turf at Saratoga. She four stakes winners from five foals of racing age.

One of those two black-type winners, the 5-year-old horse Tourist, by Tiznow, was already a stakes winner, but he was collecting his first Grade 1 triumph when winning the Fourstardave Handicap at a mile on turf on August 20. The day before, the 2-year-old colt Harlan’s Harmony, by Spring At Last, won the Skidmore Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf, his second win in as many starts.

Both horses were bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm, but the accomplishments were bittersweet.

“She was a great mare. Unfortunately, she died,” said WinStar President Elliott Walden. “She had a degenerative stifle that got bad, and after she foaled this year, a Speightstown filly, we had to euthanize her.”

Unbridled Melody, by Unbridled’s Song out of the Sky Classic mare Skye Castles, has produced two other stakes winners, Michael With Us and Mountain Music Man, both by Bluegrass Cat, and a common trait among all her foals is their ability to run on turf, though the mare herself never raced on turf and was strictly a sprinter. Three of her four foals have won a stakes on turf (Mountain Music Man won the Awad Stakes at a mile at Belmont Park last year), and the fourth, Michael With Us, won his stakes on the synthetic surface at the Ocala Breeders’ Training Track.

As a racemare, Unbridled Melody was campaigned by Conway-Hillerich Racing and L.T.B. and trained by Bernie Flint, and made 15 career starts all but one coming at a distance of more than 6 1/2 furlongs. She made 13 or her starts at Turfway and Mountaineer, after two unsuccessful starts at Churchill Downs, and was a modest winner of three races and an earner of $64,586.

While she never competed in a stakes, she had a nice enough pedigree to be mated with good stallions. Her dam, unplaced Skye Castles, produced 12 foals, eight to race, and seven winners, including two stakes-placed runners, and she is the grandam of two stakes winners.

The second dam, My Sea Castles, by Polish Navy, won the Ellis Park Debutante  and two other stakes on the Kentucky circuit, and she is a half-sister to the top Japanese colt Agnes World (by Danzig) winner of the Group 1 July Cup in England and the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp in France, and to champion Japanese sprinter Hishi Akebono (by Woodman). Both those Japanese horses earned more than $3 million each.

Unbridled Melody made her last start in February 2007 and was bred that winter to Bluegrass Cat, and WinStar purchased her in foal for $325,000 at that year’s Keeneland November breeding stock sale. The resultant foal died.

Unbridled Melody produced her first named foal in 2010, Michael With Us, by WinStar stallion Bluegrass Cat, and WinStar used similar breeding philosophies with the mare thereafter, also always breeding her to the farm’s stallions.

“Early on, we were leaning toward the Northern Dancer line and Storm Cat line with Bluegrass Cat,” Walden said. “We did that twice. That’s why we went with Spring At Last, by Deputy Minister.

“With Tiznow, we bred [the mare] along the same lines as Kentuckian (by Tiznow out of an Unbridled’s Song mare; Kentuckian would win the 2015 Grade 3 Lazaro Barrera Stakes). Tiznow does well with Unbridled’s Song mares.”

For WinStar, the mare was a good commercial producer. Her yearlings sold for $50,000 (Michael With Us), $250,000 (unraced Tether to Reality, by Harlan’s Holiday), $90,000 (Mountain Music Man), and $42,000 (Harlan’s Harmony).

Tourist, who has won five of 16 starts and earned $970,340, had been consigned to the Keeneland September yearling sale but withdrawn, and raced today for the partnership of WinStar, Wachtel Stable, and Gary Barber.
Trained by Bill Mott, Tourist is a mile specialist, as all three of his stakes wins have come at that distance on turf. At 4, he won the More Than Ready Mile Stakes at Kentucky Downs, and a year earlier, he won the Sir Cat Stakes at a mile on turf at Saratoga. He’s been second in both the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile and the Secretariat Stakes. He’s been tried in the Breeders’ Cup Mile the past two years, finishing 13th in 2014 and eighth last year.

“Tourist is a beautiful horse,” Walden said. “A lot of balance and scope, really a nice-looking horse. And typically that’s what [Unbridled Melody] had: horses with scope. A lot of the Unbridled’s Song came through, and they had the length. She threw good-looking horses.”

As for the decision on what to do with her last foal, the filly by Speightstown, Walden said they will have to think about that as the filly grows.

“We’ll see how it goes,” he said. “We’ll certainly look at [keeping her] as a way to replace the mare.”