05/28/2011 12:06PM

Monmouth: Unbridled Essence back where she runs best for Violet


OCEANPORT, N.J. – Palm trees, warm weather, plenty of sunshine…what’s not to love about Florida in the winter?

Just about everything, if you’re Unbridled Essence. The 5-year-old Unbridled Essence looks to regroup Monday in the Grade 3, $150,000 Violet Stakes for fillies and mares on the turf at Monmouth Park.

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The Violet, the first graded event of the meet, tops a 12-race Memorial Day card beginning at 12:50 p.m. Eastern. Starting this week, Monmouth expands to a three-day schedule: Friday to Sunday through the Labor Day weekend.

Trainer Greg Sacco hopes the return to New Jersey perks up Unbridled Essence following a pair of ninth-place finishes in Gulfstream Park stakes.

She had a very productive summer here in 2010, using a second-level allowance win as the springboard to a 41-1 upset in the Grade 3 Matchmaker.

Things went south, when she headed south.

“Since she won the Matchmaker, it’s been all hard luck,” Sacco said. “She had a foot issue, and she’s never really liked Florida. She had a little bit of a bleeding issue the last two times.”

Even though she runs on Lasix, Unbridled Essence bled through the medication in the two Gulfstream stakes.

“Since she’s been back up here at Monmouth, which is probably her favorite track, we’ve had no issues with the bleeding here,” Sacco said. “In her 3-year-old campaign, she ran second in a maiden race in Florida and we had an issue. So the latest problem didn’t surprise us. It surfaces in Florida, for whatever reason. I don’t know if this is her last year running, but she won’t run in Florida again. It’s just not the place for her.”

Sacco discounts the two Gulfstream races and takes a positive view of the Violet.

“I feel she’ll give a good account of herself on Monday, and we’ll be back on track,” he said.

Unbridled Essence faces only six rivals in the 1 1/16-mile race. C C’s Pal was entered as a main-track only participant in the event of a surface switch.

Unlike Unbridled Essence, several of the Violet runners spent productive winters in Florida.

Denomination won a pair of races at Tampa Bay Downs, including the Grade 3 Hillsborough. Marquet Madness was a three-time winner at Gulfstream, including a $150,000 stakes for Florida-breds.

Miss Blakely shortened up to 7 1/2 furlongs to take an overnight stakes while La Reine Lionne scored wins at Gulfstream and at Tampa Bay.

State Treasure is only runner who stayed north, cruising to a pair of allowance wins in Pennsylvania before running third in the Ladies Handicap at Aqueduct.

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