Unbridled Mo pulls upset in Apple Blossom
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. —
One day before he sends out the favorite Magnum Moon for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1), trainer Todd Pletcher was the one pulling the upset when Red Oak Stable’s Unbridled Mo drew away from heavy 1-9 favorite Unique Bella to win the $700,000 Apple Blossom (G1) by 2 ½ lengths.
With leading rider Ricardo Santana Jr. in the irons, Unbridle Mo settled into fourth as Farrell took advantage of a bad break by the favorite to assume the early lead through fractions of :23.41 and :46.94 for the first half mile. Unique Bella dragged jockey Mike Smith to the lead and had opened up a one-length lead after six furlongs in 1:11.40, but the poor start and fast fractions took their toll as she was unable to match strides with the fast closing winner, who completed the 1 1/16 mile race in 1:43.94 over a track downgraded to good after bursts of rain late in the afternoon.
“We were kind of kicking around a couple of different options,” Pletcher said by phone. “Most importantly, the filly was training extremely well and seemed like she was sitting on a good race. We thought ultimately a Grade 1 was sort of the only thing missing on her resume. She's a very consistent mare. We knew that there's a very short-priced favorite we had to beat. We felt like if she'd won, even if she was second or third, if would be a positive result. Decided to go ahead and take a shot and very happy that we did.”
Longshot Fuhriously Kissed finished third. She was followed by Streamline, Tiger Moth, Beach Flower and Farrell.
Unbridled Mo, a 5-year-old Uncle Mo mare, improved her record to seven wins from 10 starts and has now earned $960,880. She returned $11.60, $2.60 and $2.40 as the 9-to-2 second choice.
Live resumes tomorrow for the final day of the 2018 season. The 12-race card begins at 12:30 p.m. and features four stakes highlighted by the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1).