11/26/2009 12:00AM

Unbridled Belle can exit with flourish

Email
Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Unbridled Belle wins the Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm under Ramon Dominguez in her most recent start at Aqueduct on Oct. 31. She will try to end her career on a winning note Thursday at Churchill.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - It has been four years since Barry Irwin sent out e-mails soliciting investors in his latest find for the Team Valor International syndicate. A 2-year-old filly had just won her career debut, a maiden race at Laurel Park, and Irwin was touting her as if she were the next coming of Ruffian.

Her name was Unbridled Belle. She had a moderate pedigree, being by Broken Vow, and had earned a moderate Beyer Speed Figure of 69 in that seven-furlong win on Nov. 10, 2005.

"You'd like to see a big number, but often the number is just a reflection of the conditions that day," said Irwin, Team Valor's co-founder and president. "She was a big filly, almost 17 hands, and I thought if she was as handy as she was winning her first start around one turn, there could be tons more to come."

Sometimes you're right - and sometimes you're really right. Unbridled Belle, now an earner of nearly $1.9 million at age 6, will make the 25th and final start of her career Thursday in the Grade 2, $150,000 Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs.

Trained since the acquisition by Todd Pletcher, Unbridled Belle figures to be favored over Swift Temper when they clash in a field of six fillies and mares in the 94th Falls City, which anchors a 12-race Thanksgiving Day card that starts at 11:30 a.m. Eastern. Post time for the Falls City, the 11th, is 4:24, with the last race going at 4:53.

For all her accomplishments, including five graded stakes wins, Unbridled Belle has been known to throw in the occasional clunker, but "they've all been over a wet track," said Irwin. Important note for horseplayers: The weather forecast for Thursday in Louisville does not mention precipitation, although a chilly mix of rain and snow could move in by Friday.

Unbridled Belle, with Ramon Dominguez to ride, will carry 122 pounds when she breaks from post 4 in the 1 1/8-mile Falls City. Swift Temper, who has won the Grade 1 Ruffian and Grade 2 Delaware Handicap this year, was scratched with a fractured splint bone.