Just when 2-5 favorite Unbridled Mo thought she was going to breeze home in Friday’s $100,000 Doubledogdare (G3), Power of Snunner ranged up to furnish some intrigue at Keeneland. But Unbridled Mo was “just waiting” once she struck the front, according to Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez, and she found more to prevail by three-quarters of a length.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, the Red Oak Stable homebred was heavily favored as the winner of five of her last six. Unbridled Mo most recently cruised over I’m a Chatterbox and Family Tree in the January 29 Houston Ladies Classic (G3), a formline that made her the one to beat versus only three rivals.
Dear Elaine took up the pacesetting role through splits of :23.61 and :46.67, stalked by Unbridled Mo. Ratcheting up the pressure on the far turn, the favorite drew alongside at the six-furlong mark in 1:11.63, and appeared to coast to the lead swinging for home.
Meanwhile, Power of Snunner, who had been last of the quartet early, was circling into contention at the same time. The 4-1 second choice forced Unbridled Mo to work a little harder, but the winner was well up to the task as she edged away to finish 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.11.
The top two had the homestretch to themselves. There was a gap of 7 1/4 lengths back to Lady Fog Horn in third, and Dear Elaine trailed. Twirl Girl was scratched.
The four-year-old Unbridled Mo now sports a mark of 8-6-0-0, $531,180. Four of those are stakes wins, including the Monmouth Oaks (G3) and Remington Park Oaks.
Unbridled Mo is a half-sister to Grade 3 scorer Unbridled Essence (herself the dam of Grade 2-placed Unbridled Daddy). They were produced by the Unbridled mare Unbridled Waters, a winning half-sister to Grade 2 victor Big Booster.
Quotes from Keeneland
Winning rider John Velazquez: “When (Unbridled Mo) got to the lead, she started waiting. When the other horse (Power of Snunner) got to her, she put in a nice fight. It was her, just waiting, looking at the crowd and everything. Thank God the other horse came to her and made her run again.”
Ginny DePasquale, Todd Pletcher’s assistant, on Unbridled Mo: “She’s a fighter. I was sure she was going to dig in and try her best. We were really pleased with her. She’s been training very well.”
Mike Smith on riding runner-up Power of Snunner: “I let her run out of there to make sure there was a good pace. I tapped on the brakes in the middle of the first turn a little bit just to see if I could come from behind. I couldn’t stay up there (on the lead) and try to beat her that way. It almost worked, but it just didn’t. I thought I would catch her at the end. I came at (Unbridled Mo) with a real head of steam instead of easing up so (Unbridled Mo) would not have a chance to get back into it. It almost worked but it took a (2-5) shot to beat her.”
Power of Snunner’s trainer Joe Sharp: “She ran great and Mike rode her great. Turning for home, I thought she would go on by but Unbridled Mo showed her class. And so did Power of Snunner. She’s seven years old and still firing the biggest numbers of her life.”