Unbridled's Song has lean and hungry look Colt appears ready for classic distances

March 18, 1996|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

HALLANDALE, Fla. After his convincing victory in Saturday's Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, Unbridled's Song will run next in the Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct on April 13 and the Florida Derby also-rans will run elsewhere.

No one seems anxious to tackle the gray, almost black, son of Unbridled again anytime soon, at least not before the Kentucky Derby on May 4.

"He's the real deal," his trainer, Jim Ryerson, said yesterday, the morning after Unbridled's Song demolished what was touted as the deepest Florida Derby field in decades.

Rival trainer Nick Zito said simply: "Unbridled's Song was very impressive."

The colt's 5 3/4 -length win tied Holy Bull for the second-largest margin of victory in the Florida Derby's 45-year history. Plugged Nickel won by six lengths in 1980.

Only two horses in the past 17 Florida Derbies ran the 1 1/8 -mile dirt course faster than Unbridled's Song's 1: 47 4/5. They were Swale in 1984 and Holy Bull in 1994.

Unbridled's Song, the 1995 Breeders' Cup Juvenile champion, emerged from Saturday's race in great shape, Ryerson said.

"He's lightly raced. He's still improving," Ryerson said. "He's a fast horse who can carry his speed the classic distances. . . . I hope we make it to Baltimore."

The Preakness, second jewel of the Triple Crown, is May 18 at Pimlico.

Although Unbridled's Song ran like a 1-5 favorite, he went off at 2-1 and paid $6 to win. The betting favorite at 9-5 was Cobra King, who ran a dismal eighth, beating only 41-1 Ensign Ray.

"He just didn't try to run," Cobra King's trainer, Mike Puype, said yesterday. "He lifted his head going into the first turn and just showed no interest. I can't really explain it. He's very strong-minded. He just didn't get into it."

Puype said he wasn't second-guessing his strategy of running the Farma Way colt sparingly. Cobra King laid off eight weeks between the Holy Bull Stakes and the Florida Derby.

But now, Puype said, he probably will run Cobra King in the Blue Grass Stakes on April 13 at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. "I haven't lost faith or confidence in him," Puype said. "There'll be another day for Cobra King."

The D. Wayne Lukas-trained Editor's Note, who finished second in the Florida Derby, also may compete in the Blue Grass.

George Weaver, one of Lukas' assistant trainers, said the temperamental Forty Niner colt was "100 percent better in the paddock" Saturday compared with earlier races, but still "a little goofy in the post parade."

All in all, Weaver said, Editor's Note showed more maturity and self-control.

"We'd like to see him get out of the gate a little quicker. We've got some gate work to do with him," the trainer said. "But we're still in the picture for the big race the first Saturday in May."

Lukas, who has trained the winners of five straight Triple Crown races, has a barn full of Kentucky Derby contenders.

Two ran yesterday. Prince Of Thieves ran a disappointing fourth in the $250,000 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita Park, and Grindstone won the $350,000 Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds.

Honour and Glory, perhaps the best of Lukas' bunch, won the San Rafael Stakes on March 2 and is targeted for the $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 6. Victory Speech, who ran third in the Fountain of Youth Stakes here, is scheduled for the Jim Beam Stakes at Turfway Park on March 30.

Nick Zito doesn't have Lukas' rich stable, but he's high on his two 3-year-old hopefuls. Diligence, who won the $50,000 1 1/8 -mile Unbridled Stakes here Saturday, and Louis Quatorze, who finished fourth in the Florida Derby, will run again April 13 one in the Wood Memorial and one in the Blue Grass. Zito said yesterday he hasn't decided who will race where.

"Let me tell you what happened to Louis Quatorze," Zito said of the Florida Derby. "He played a game with some great players. It was his first time doing that. He should play better next time."

The Sonny Hine-trained Skip Away finished third in the Florida Derby, but Hine assistant trainer Charles Johnson said they hadn't decided where next to run. Appealing Skier, who bolted to the lead and faded to sixth, will run in sprint races or on the turf, said Kelly Breen, assistant to trainer Ben Perkins Sr.

Built For Pleasure, the 141-1 winner of the Fountain of Youth but a disappointing seventh in the Florida Derby, may run in the Blue Grass, said Robert Dello Russo, assistant to trainer Tommy Heard Jr.

Heard, 78, has saddled stakes winners in every decade since the 1930s, but never has run in the Kentucky Derby.

"Sure, I'd like to win the Kentucky Derby, but time's running out," Heard said. "It's like the Super Bowl. Everybody wants to win it."

Pub Date: 3/18/96

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