Unbridled Mo Upsets Unique Bella In Apple Blossom

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).

Winning Todd Pletcher (Unbridled Mo) – “We were kind of kicking around a couple of different options. 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.”

Winning owner Stephen Brunetti (Unbridled Mo) – “This is our first time we’ve ever been to Hot Springs, and I’m sure we’ll be back again. We were going back and forth between a couple of different races and Todd told us how well she was training and he said, ‘Let’s take a shot in the Apple Blossom.’ You never knew what would have happen with Unique Bella. She was shipping and it was a sloppy track. Just all worked out for the best.”

Winning Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. (Unbridled Mo) – “We got a good break. 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 4th and at the 5/8ths I took her out a little bit and then she came on pretty good. At the 3/8ths, 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.”

Jockey Mike Smith (Unique Bella, second as favorite) – “She’s squatted in the gate. I was trying to stand her up. The next thing I knew they opened the gates and she squatted back. She totally missed the break. I wish I could have stayed last. If I could have, I would have. She was very strong and very fresh. After she got left, she just wanted to catch up. I could have thrown her down, but I never had to do that and I wasn’t about to start. It was just unfortunate.”

Trainer Anthony Quartarolo (Fuhriously Kissed, third) – “I give the credit to the owner (Ronald Paolucci of Loooch Racing Stable). He picked her out. She ran great. We were hoping for moisture in the track and we got a little, so it worked out. (Jockey) C.J. (McMahon) rode her great.”

Jockey C.J. McMahon (Fuhriously Kissed) – It set up perfect just like I mapped it out. I saved ground when I was able to break. She broke good with her feet underneath her. I dropped down to the fence as soon as I could, being in the three hole. With speed in the race it worked out perfect. Coming down the lane she hesitated just a tad passing on the fence but when she got through she galloped out great. Anthony did a fantastic job and I appreciate the opportunity.

The post Unbridled Mo Upsets Unique Bella In Apple Blossom appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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