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Barn Notes: Friday, February 9


•              Forever Unbridled Works Five Furlongs, Still Dubai Bound

•              Wonder Gadot, Heavenly Love Gear Up For Grade II Rachel Alexandra

•              Calhoun Will Take His Time With Thursday Maiden Winner Caymans Cobra




Champion Older Dirt MareForever Unbridled is working on getting back on schedule for what trainer Dallas Stewart hopes is another big year.

The Charles Fipke-owned daughter of Unbridled’s Song recorded her second work since being crowned with an Eclipse Award went five furlongs in 1:01.00 over the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots main track on Friday morning.  The move was the fourth fastest of 38 works at the distance. She remains on target for the $10 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), according to Stewart.

“We’re just getting her ready,” Stewart said. “It was a really good work like her basic works. She was solid the whole way. (She) came back bucking and kicking, which is just what you want to see. She’s back on schedule.”

Forever Unbridled only made three starts last year, all of which were victories. Her threesome of wins took place in Churchill Downs’ Gr. II Fleur de Lis Stakes, the Gr. I Personal Ensign at Saratoga where she defeated two-time champion Songbird and finally, she won the Gr. I Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Del Mar.

Meanwhile, Seeking The Soul –fifth behind Horse of the Year Gun Runner in the Gr. I Pegasus World Cup last out – will likely not race again until the spring.

“He’s just chilling out,” Stewart said. “We’ll start him back in the spring at Churchill. Probably the (Gr. II $400,000) Alysheba (May 4) or something like that.”



Trainer Mark Casse’s two contenders for the Gr. II $200,000 Rachel Alexandra – Wonder Gadot and Heavenly Love – turned in half-mile works over the Fair Grounds main track on Friday morning, which were their final serious preparations for the mile-and-a-sixteenth event.

Casse’s assistant trainer David Carroll sent Wonder Gadot to the track first set. The last out runner-up to Stronger Than Ever in the Silverbulletday Stakes recorded her four furlong work in :48.40. Heavenly Love, fifth in the Silverbulletday Stakes, worked in company with Malibu Bonnie and logged her half-mile in :47.60.

“Both train very forwardly,” Carroll said. “Wonder Gadot is a more aggressive filly in the morning time. Heavenly Love just goes out there and is more laid back so that’s why we  kind of feel that she needed that last race, whereas with Wonder Gadot we want to keep her where she’s at. She’s fit and ready.”

The Silverbulletday was the first start of the year for both fillies, who also faced off in the Gr. I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Del Mar. Wonder Gadot was sixth but raced once more last year when taking the Gr. II Demoiselle at Aqueduct on Dec. 2. Heavenly Love was 11th and did not race again until the Silverbulletday.

“Heavenly Love worked extremely well,” Carroll said. “We felt that she may have needed that last race but she’s trained forwardly since then. She looks great and her last two works have been very good. We’ll go in there with no excuses. It’s a tough race, but we’re looking forward to it.”

Other notable works on Friday morning include Craig Aguilar’s Ebben, who is entered in the Gr. II $400,000 Risen Star Stakes. The son of Trappe Shot drilled a half-mile in :47.20 – the  fastest of 108 works at the distance – for  trainer Steve Margolis,. Also working towards the Risen Star was Valene Farms LLC’s Givemeaminit who worked a half-mile in :49.00 for trainer Dallas Stewart.

Trainer Bret Calhoun sent out Craig D. Upham’s Texas-bred Patrona Margarita for her final drill in preparation for the Rachel Alexandra Stakes. The 3-year-old daughter of Special Rate worked a half-mile in :48.20. The Silverbulletday winner Stronger Than Ever went five furlongs in 1:02.40. Fern Circle Stables’ Kenny McPeek-trainee has opted to bypass the Rachel Alexandra and will instead target the Gr. III $200,000 Honeybee Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Mar. 4.



Following a hard-fought gate-to-wire victory against a salty group of maidens in Thursday’s eighth race, trainer Bret Calhoun will race Caymans Cobra in an a other than allowance event next out.

“He’s been a little slow coming around so we’ll give him a chance to run against the next level first,” Calhoun said.

Owned by Cobra Cooper Racing LLC and guided by Gabriel Saez, the son of Super Saver broke from the rail at post time odds of 39-1 and held off a challenge from Red Right Hand to break his maiden at third asking.

“I thought that it was a good group of horses,” Calhoun said. “He took of the worst of it drawing the inside and standing in (the gate) forever. He broke sharp though, he took pressure every step of the way and held on and put them away. It was a very game race.”

Perhaps the biggest story out of the race, however, was Enjoy The Journey breaking through the starting gate multiple times before the race started.

“I was watching and most all of them just stood there the whole time and were very mature about it,” Calhoun added. “There were a lot of highly talented horses in there, a lot of horses with some potential.”