You can't swing a cat without
hitting a relative of Unbridled in this year's Derby picture, but I am not advocating you try either swinging a
cat or avoiding this group of three-year-olds.
There will be at least a handful of Unbridled descendants that will have
a great chance to follow in his footsteps and win Kentucky Derby 135.
The Fountain of Youth and the Sham
Stakes are upon us this weekend, but I can't help thinking of Frances Genter's Derby winner of 1990,
Unbridled. The long-legged son of
Fappiano put forth an impressive effort in the Fountain of Youth 19 years ago
that marked a turning point in his spring preparation for the Classic race.
Unbridled, the son of the highly
regarded stallion Fappiano (Mr. Prospector out of Killaloe by Dr. Fager) won
ten of his seventeen starts including the all-important Grade 1 Metropolitan
Mile in 1981.
The Derby winner was out of the Le Fabuleux mare Gana Facil. While the top side of Gana Facil's pedigree
includes her French champion sire, her bottom side is peppered liberally with
the produce of Tartan Farms in Ocala. Her dam Charedi is
by In Reality, also a winner of the 1967 Fountain of Youth, out of the
Buckpasser mare Magic. While Magic's
pedigree has such great names as Buckpasser, Aspidistra, Busanda, Tom Fool, and
War Admiral, the human list of contributors to her line is just as impressive,
Ogden Phipps, John Hay Whitney/Greentree, Col. E.R. Bradley/Idle Hour, Samuel
Riddle, and Robert Kleberg/King Ranch.
Unbridled began his career like
another Carl Nafzger trainee, Street Sense with a maiden win at Arlington Park
(8/2/89). He ran six furlongs in 1:11
and 3/5 and won by a 10 ½ length margin, leaving stablemate Home At Last back
The Genter-owned colt competed
twice more in Arlington sprint stakes (8/23 and 9/13) with only two third place
finishes to his credit. He traveled to
Cantebury for the September 24th running of the Cantebury Juvenile
Stakes at one mile. He finished second
to Appealing Breeze. Mike Smith rode the
two-year-old in his first four starts.
The two-year-old headed south in
October to his home state of Florida and ran into what would become a familiar nemesis, Shot
Gun Scott. They would compete in the
mile and a sixteenth In Reality Division of the rich Florida Stallion Stakes
Series at Calder. Shot Gun Scott won the
race over his 13 other competitors. Unbridled
ran second with Jose Velez Jr. aboard.
Unbridled regained his winning ways
with a Christmas Eve win in the What a Pleasure Stakes at Calder in 1:45 and
1/5 seconds for the mile and a sixteenth event.
He defeated nine other competitors with a winning margin of five
The newly turned three-year-old
made another Calder appearance to run in the Tropical Park Derby with a new
rider, Craig Perret. At that time, this
stakes race was run on the dirt as opposed to the turf that they currently
use. He managed only a fifth place
finish behind Run Turn, Country Day and Shot Gun Scott with the winner running
the mile and an eighth in 1:52 and 2/5.
I was there that day and that race left me very confused. I filed him near the end of my possible Derby winners after the effort.
The next time I would lay eyes on
Unbridled would be in the March 3rd Fountain of Youth Stakes. Under almost darkness, Pat Day and the colt,
who appeared to have grown up and found his running style, would force me to
reconsider him as a Derby frontrunner. This
effort at 7-1 odds was enough to catapult him into the Florida Derby picture as
the second choice behind Claiborne Farm's Slavic.
1991 Fountain of Youth Stakes from Gulfstream
The same day the Florida Derby
(March 17) was run the Swale Stakes was also on tap and a three-year-old colt
named Summer Squall would make his three-year-old bow against the great
sprinter Housebuster. The Hopefull winner bled badly in a workout
and was using Lasix for the first time.
1991 Swale Stakes from Gulfstream
Unbridled's Florida Derby could
not have been more visually impressive but all of the buzz was about the slow
time of 1:52. Watch the son of Fappiano
and the maturity he found in two weeks that lead him to make his own luck in
the stretch this time.
1991 Florida Derby from Gulfstream
Frances Genter's colt would make
one last start before the Derby on April 14th, his tenth lifetime race, going a mile and
an eight at Keeneland on a muddy track in the Bluegrass Stakes. He would reunite with Craig Perret and face
his former jockey Pat Day who opted for the .30 favorite, Summer Squall.
Unbridled finished third of five
runners that day behind Summer Squall, but if you felt like most did, a bad
race at Keeneland didn't necessarily mean a bad race at Churchill. You
had to be thinking about your odds at this point.
Rains left the Churchill Downs
strip in good condition by post time on May 5th for the 1990
Kentucky Derby. Thus far, Unbridled
raced on two off tracks and ran third in both races, but the sun shone brightly
for the race that afternoon.
Carl Nafzger convinced
92-year-old Frances Genter that she must attend the race. The namesake of the two-year-old champion My
Dear Girl had done so much with her late husband Harold to help the Florida
breeding industry with their connections with Ocala Stud Farm and then Tartan
Farms it was fitting that she would be there running her first Derby starter
and bringing Ocala to the forefront of breeding, at least for a while.
ABC's pre-race coverage
The running of the 1990 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs
The part that everyone remembers, Carl Nafzger's call of
the Derby stretch run to Mrs. Genter
When he debuted as a four-year-old
after winning the Breeders' Cup and taking a rest from the end of October 1990
until March 16, 1991, most people felt that Unbridled was a distance horse and
a turn of foot in a shorter race might be something he just did not have. That could have been a deterrent in the speed
hungry commercial breeding market of the 1990's, but then they carded the
Deputy Minister at seven furlongs and lured Housebuster into the race.
1991 Deputy Minister at Gulfstream
Unbridled was the very
definition of the racing term "inhaled" that day.
Mrs. Genter's colt would continue
to race through 1991, but would win only one more time in an allowance at Arlington. He danced all the
dances from the Oaklawn Handicap, Pimlico Special, Pacific Classic and a repeat
trip to the Breeders' Cup. He retired to
stud after his third place finish in the Classic.
Unbridled produced eight crops
before his untimely death at the age of 14
in 2001. His sire, Fappiano died
at 13 in 1990 after siring nine crops.
Their time was short, but as you can tell by this year's crop of three
year olds, their influence is enormous.
Sham Stakes at Santa Anita
**The Pamplemousse is out of the
Rubiano mare Comfort Zone, Rubiano is sired by Fappiano
**Unbridled Roman is out of the
Unbridled mare Unravel
**Take the Points is by Even the
Score by Unbridled's Song who is a son of Unbridled
Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream
**Bee Cee Cee is a longshot son of
Songandaprayer by Unbridled's Song
**This Ones for Phil is by
Untuttable by Unbridled
Most of the big horses will be
still in the barn this weekend:
**Old Fashioned, the undefeated
son of Unbridled's Song
**Pioneerof the Nile, is by
Empire maker a son of Unbridled
**Stardom Bound's sire Tapit is
out of the Unbridled mare Tap Your Heels
**Midshipman by Unbridled's Song
**I want Revenge's dam Meguial is
by Roy a son of Fappiano
**Dunkirk by Unbridled's Song
**Hello Broadway is by the
Unbridled stallion Broken Vow
**Imperial Council by Empire Maker
**General Quarters is out of the
Unbridled's Song mare Ecology
**Silver City is by Unbridled's Song
Many of the Unbridled descendents
carry the unbroken semi-wide blaze just like he did and his broodmare sire Le
Fabuleux before him. Unbridled Roman,
Old Fashioned and This Ones for Phil seem the most closely matched.
After what happened last year if
you believe in Derby Gods you can stop handicapping. There are no people more deserving after what
they had to bear last year than Mr. Rick Porter and Mr. Larry Jones. They deserve to see their Unbridled's Song
offspring, Old Fashioned or their Friesan Fire (by A.P. Indy) take them to the