Progressive mare Unbridled Mo (5m Uncle Mo x Unbridled Waters, by Unbridled) scored a surprise win in the $700,000 Grade I Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn on Friday defeating the hot favourite Unique Bella.
The Todd Pletcher trained mare took the 1 and 1/16th mile contest by two and a quarter lengths in a dominant display.
“We got a good break,” said winning rider Ricardo Santana.
“I was scared during the first turn when I had to stop her a little bit, but I knew she was coming back. I was sitting fourth and at the five-eighths [pole] I took her out a little bit and then she came on pretty good. At the three-eighths, I was just waiting for the turn for home because I didn’t want to move too soon. When I turned for home, I asked her and her class won out.”
Todd Pletcher always thought Unbridled Mo could win an elite race.
“The filly was training extremely well and seemed like she was sitting on a good race. We thought ultimately a Grade I was sort of the only thing missing on her resume,” he said.
“She’s a very consistent mare. We knew that there was 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. We decided to go ahead and take a shot and we’re very happy that we did.”
A homebred for the Red Oak Stable, Unbridled Mo has won seven of ten starts earning over $900,000 in prizemoney.
The sixth Grade I winner for Uncle Mo, Unbridled Mo is a half-sister to Grade III winner Unbridled Essence from good producer Unbridled Waters.