(By Avalyn Hunter)
Unbridled's Song has been one of the more polarizing horses of recent years. A horse whose racing career flashed remarkable ability yet never quite delivered on the promise of greatness, his stud career has followed something of the same pattern. He has been a good sire of stakes winners and sales horses, yet has often been criticized--justly or unjustly--as a source of unsoundness. And while he has 15 grade I winners to his credit, including champion Midshipman, none have had that transcendent spark that sets the legends apart.
Whether he has finally gotten a horse with that spark in Graydar, his 100th stakes winner, is yet to be seen, but he certainly hit the century mark with a flourish. Allowed to cruise unmolested on the lead, the lightly weighted Graydar proved to have plenty left in the stretch when the late runners launched their bids, and galloped home in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) in just his fourth lifetime start. He is now 3-for-4 lifetime and would seem to have plenty of potential for greater things.
The next several years will be pivotal in determining the long-range influence Unbridled's Song will have on the breed. He has no fewer than eight sons among this year's freshman sires, including the brilliant sprinter Zensational; multiple grade I winner Thorn Song will be a freshman sire of 2014, albeit with a small initial crop, as will Midshipman. Given that the earlier sons of Unbridled's Song have not exactly lit the breeding world on fire and that the early crops of grade I winners Political Force (now in Saudi Arabia) and First Defence have yet to show much, Unbridled's Song may well be dependent on his younger sons (and perhaps his multiple grade I-winning grandson Dullahan, by Even the Score) to continue his male line. He may also be dependent on his younger daughters for his name as a broodmare sire, given rather disappointing results in that area so far: The best runner produced by his daughters to date is millionaire Better Than Ever, a multiple highweight in Singapore. Time will tell whether Unbridled's Song becomes an important name in pedigrees or just another talented horse who never quite delivered on his promise.