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Barn Notes: Saturday, January 31

 

IN TODAY'S NOTES: FOREVER UNBRIDLED DRILLS A BULLET FOR RACHEL ALEXANDRA; HIGHBALL POSSIBLE FOR FAIR GROUNDS HANDICAP; SUNBEAN BACK FROM SHORT BREAK, DELTA-BOUND


FOREVER UNBRIDLED DRILLS A BULLET FOR RACHEL ALEXANDRA

            Charles Fipke’s homebred Forever Unbridled continued her preparation for the Grade III $175,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes on Feb. 21 with an impressive bullet work on Friday at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots – besting 45 other moves at the distance with a time of :48.40. 

By Unbridled’s Song out of Kentucky Oaks winner Lemons Forever, Forever Unbridled is a full-sister to Unbridled Forever, who was third in last year’s Rachel Alexandra behind eventual Eclipse Award champion 3-year-old filly Untapable. 

Trained by Dallas Stewart, the Kentucky-bred also earned a bullet in her previous work on Jan. 11 – swiftest of 114 half-mile workers over a testing surface in :48.80 – six days prior to finishing second in the Listed $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes. 

         

HIGHBALL POSSIBLE FOR FAIR GROUNDS HANDICAP

            Late-closing turf specialist Highball continued preparations for what could be a promising 4-year-old season earlier this week when drilling a half-mile in :49.40 for trainer Wayne Catalano and owners Gary and Mary West.  Last seen missing second-place by a nose after a game rally in the Grade III $100,000 Col. E. R. Bradley Handicap behind String King, the son of Lemon Drop Kid is possible to return in the Grade III $125,000 Fair Grounds Handicap.

            Over nine grassy furlongs at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, the Handicap will be a chance for the lightly raced colt to stretch beyond 1 1/16 miles for the fourth time in his career – something that would seem welcoming based on his form. 

After winning his maiden at 1 1/8 miles on the Churchill Downs turf last June, the $250,000 Keeneland September 2012 yearling purchase was a late-charging third in the Grade III $200,000 American Derby at 1 3/16 miles and a game but overmatched fifth in the Grade I $500,000 Secretariat Stakes – both at Arlington International Racecourse.

            Highball has raced twice this meet, with a second-place finish in the rained-off and sloppy $60,000 Woodchopper Stakes on Dec. 27 – three weeks prior to his Bradley effort.  In the Bradley, the Kentucky-bred ran the highest Equibase Speed Figure of his career (110).

SUNBEAN BACK FROM SHORT BREAK, DELTA-BOUND

            Brittlyn Stable’s star pupil Sunbean has returned to serious training after a couple weeks of well-earned rest and is scheduled to make his next run at Delta Downs in the $200,000 Louisiana Premier Night Championship on Feb. 7. 

On Thursday, the son of Brahms worked five furlongs in 1:03 flat at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots as he prepares to extend is perfect 10-for-10 streak in Louisiana-bred stakes races.  The Championship could serve as a prep for the Grade II $400,000 New Orleans Handicap – a race in which the Pelican State-bred gelding finished third last year to Eclipse Award finalist Palace Malice. 

            “He’s doing fine,” trainer Ron Faucheux reported. “We’re getting him ready for Delta and are going to try to take it one race at a time.  The (New Orleans) is definitely a possibility.  We gave him two weeks off serious training – one week walking and another jogging – after his last race.  He had run three races really close together.”

            Last seen winning the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic over the same nine furlongs as the New Orleans at Fair Grounds on Dec. 13, Sunbean was winning his third stakes in six weeks’ time.  In his career, he has tallied an impressive 12 stakes wins and earned just over $1 million.