03/02/2006 1:00AM

Unbridled Sidney starts off on dirt


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Unbridled Sidney's options are being broadened this year. A mare who built her reputation on turf, Unbridled Sidney will open up her season on dirt Saturday, in the $50,000 Spring Fever at Oaklawn Park.

Unbridled Sidney will meet six other fillies and mares in the 5 1/2-furlong race, among them stakes winners More Moonlight, True Tails, and Timeless Dreamer. The field also includes Platinum Princess, Lila Kay's Rose, and Miss Elsie, the runner-up to Grade 1 winner Round Pond in an optional claimer at Oaklawn on Feb. 16.

Unbridled Sidney's biggest win came on turf, when she captured the $71,000 Zenobia Empress Handicap at Churchill Downs in July. She covered the five furlongs in a course-record time of 55.54 seconds and earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 108. Unbridled Sidney made all four of her starts last year on turf, winning twice, placing once, and finishing third in the Grade 3 Royal North Handicap at Woodbine in Canada.

"I'm going to handle her a little bit different this year," said Ronny Werner, who trains Unbridled Sidney. "What happened was, I was trying to keep her short on the grass, and there's just not enough races. It was a long time in between races, and they're just not as sharp when you're sprinting like that. So, this year, if there's not a grass race, then we're going to spin on the dirt, and we're going to race a little more consistently this year."

Unbridled Sidney, a 5-year-old daughter of Unbridled's Song, won her debut on dirt, capturing a maiden race by 10 1/2 lengths at Churchill Downs in May 2004. She has also finished second in two allowances on dirt in her 10-race career, and for her local debut she shows a sharp half-mile work in 48.80 seconds from the gate at Oaklawn on Feb. 24.

"She runs on the dirt fine," said Werner. "I like her on the grass better, but I think this suits her. The shorter the better for her, a little bit. I think the five and a half is good."

Unbridled Sidney will break from post 6 under Robby Albarado.

"She runs good fresh, and you've got to let her rock and roll," said Werner. "That's just her."

Unbridled Sidney's first turf objective this year will come at Keeneland.