Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Unbridled Elaine relaxes in her Jonabell Farm paddock. (Photo courtesy of Darley America)
A $230,000 purchase as a weanling, there were always high expectations for Unbridled Elaine.
By the time she was born, her half-sister (same dam [mother], different sire [father]) Glitter Woman was a Grade 1 winner, so it was no surprise that Unbridled Elaine went into her debut as the favorite. That proved to be a learning experience, however, with the filly breaking slow and finishing second by two lengths.
Her next three starts as a 2- and early 3-year-old proved much more successful with three trips to the winner’s circle, including in the Pocahontas Stakes. An unsuccessful trip to the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes in her first graded stakes attempt led to her return to the ungraded level in her next start — an 8 ¾-length blowout over five other fillies.
After that race, she returned to the graded stakes scene and scored her first win at that level win in the Grade 2 Monmouth Breeders’ Cup Oaks. Unbridled Elaine then took a huge step up when taking on male 3-year-olds in the Pennsylvania Derby. It took the previous year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner to beat her with Macho Uno finishing 1 ½ lengths ahead of Unbridled Elaine.
Unbrided Elaine’s crowning moment came two races later in the 2001 Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
UNBRIDLED ELAINE WINS THE 2001 BREEDERS CUP DISTAFF
Photo by HorsePhotos
The 3-year-old filly had a trip that would lead most horses to quit early on, with the comment on the race’s chart simply saying “rough trip”. First, she had a poor start. Then, when making a move on the far turn, she had to check when stuck behind a wall of horses. But once she altered course and was in the clear, Unbridled Elaine finally was given a chance to really run and had just enough stretch to pass late race leader Spain, who was looking for her second victory in the race, and win by a head.
“Our filly run an awesome race,” jockey Pat Day told the Blood-Horse after the race. “I had to alter course severely between the 3/16s and the eighth pole, but I finally got her outside and in the clear. I put her to the task and she responded beautifully. She got down on her belly and really went after the leader with a vengeance and got up in the final stride. It was great effort.”
2001 BREEDERS’ CUP DISTAFF
Nearly a month later, Unbridled Elaine made her last start, finishing third behind Forest Secrets, who had broken Unbridled Elaine’s winning streak earlier that year when she won the Acorn. Unbridled Elaine retired with six wins in 11 starts and three other top-three finishes for $1,770,740 in earnings.
On June 4, 2003 Unbridled Elaine produced her first foal, a filly by Rahy named Seresa’s Spirit. The filly sold the following year for $260,000 but never made it to the racetrack.
Unbridled Elaine hit a homerun with her next foal when she produced Etched. In 11 starts, he won seven races, including three graded stakes. Earning $587,586, Etched made a small dent in the $4.4 million purchase price Darley had paid at a November breeding stock sale for Unbridled Elaine while she was carrying Etched.
“[Darley was] quite light on mares with dirt pedigrees at the time of her purchase and she [fit] the bill, being by Unbridled’s Song and was very impressive winning the Breeders Cup,” said Michael Banahan, Darley America’s director of farm operations, in a recent interview.
It took Unbridled Elaine a few more foals to get another stakes runner, but in 2009 she produced another promising colt. By Discreet Cat, Out of Bounds won the 2012 Sham Stakes in only his third start, defeating Breeders’ Cup winner Secret Circle. The victory put Out of Bounds on the Triple Crown trail but an injury forced him to take the rest of the year off.
Out of Bounds returned last year as a 4-year-old and finished second in a Dubai Group 2 event. He won in England later that year and is still racing in England, finishing fifth in a July 19 race in his last start.
UNBRIDLED ELAINE IN HER PADDOCK
Photo courtesy of Darley America
“We got lucky with her first foal, after buying her, being the multiple [graded stakes winner] Etched and then backing it up with producing another [graded stakes winner] in Out of Bounds. The trait that she passes to all her stock is size and obviously ability as well,” Banahan said.
Unbridled Elaine’s other racing-aged foal is a 4-year-old gelding named Justaframeofmind, who has never started. Last year, she produced a colt by Shamardal and currently is in foal to Discreet Cat for a full sibling to Out of Bounds.
Now 16 years old, Unbridled Elaine spent two years in Ireland but returned to the U.S. last year. The gray mare is a barn favorite with the staff and hopes are high that she will produce another graded stakes winner next year.
“She is doing very well and residing at Jonabell Farm. … She is an easy, uncomplicated mare, and hopefully she will produce another graded stakes winner next spring, she is carrying a full [sibling] to Out of Bounds. She is an old favorite with all the crew, as she was the first mare to reside on Jonabell after we developed the farm.”
Since Unbridled Elaine first entered the ring at the Keeneland auction as a weanling, her life has been full of expectations. But it is safe to say that since the gavel dropped on the November day, she has lived up to each challenge, both on and off the racetrack.