Relentless Dancer Could Be Tough to Catch in Unbridled Stakes

Gambling
Racing at Gulfstream Park
Racing at Gulfstream Park (Eclipse Sportswire)

With few tracks running this weekend, Gulfstream Park shifted their stakes calendar to bring us the Unbridled Stakes for 3-year-olds around two turns. The race drew a field of seven but is not short on horses which have shown some ability. Only two in the group have ever run in a two-turn race – South Bend and Relentless Dancer. South Bend enters the race off a runner-up effort in the Cutler Bay Stakes (on grass) in his most recent race while Relentless Dancer, who appears to be the lone front-runner in the field, finished fourth in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby last month. The other five are stretching out to the mile and one-sixteenth distance for the first time including Attachment Rate and Necker Island, who finished third and fifth, respectively, in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes, also in March. Dr Post enters the Unbridled off a strong rallying win at seven furlongs in a maiden race and hopes to step up to the task. Americanus also won a seven-furlong race over the track when last seen in February and may have a say in the outcome. Soros rounds out the field, having won the one mile (around one turn) Smooth Air Stakes in November but coming into the race off a poor fifth-place finish last month in his first start of 2020.

weekend Television schedule

Friday, April 24: 4-8 p.m. ET on NBCSN; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, April 25: 1:30-7 p.m. ET on FS1; 4-8 p.m. ET on NBCSN; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, April 26: 1:30-2:30 p.m. ET on FS2; 2:30-6:30 p.m. ET on FS1; 4-8 p.m. ET on NBCSN; post time varies on TVG

After starting his career on turf and finishing poorly to end up sixth of nine, Relentless Dancer moved to dirt and led from start to finish when winning powerfully by nearly 10 lengths last September. Winning the Louisiana Legacy Stakes in October and earning a 91 Equibase Speed Figure, Relentless Dancer took 3 ½ months off and without a prep race was entered in the Holy Bull Stakes in February. In the Holy Bull, Relentless Dancer pressed the pace early before fading to fourth like a horse which wasn’t yet back to his 2-year-old form. One month later in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, Relentless Dancer set the pace for the first seven furlongs then faded to fourth, beaten a half-length by the third finisher. In spite of that finish, Relentless Dancer earned a career-best 99 figure which is also the highest figure any horse in the field has earned on dirt. Additionally, as it appears none of the other six runners in the Unbridled Stakes have any desire to lead early in a race, I suspect jockey Chris Landeros will have Relentless Dancer on an easy lead from the moment the gate opens. Considering Relentless Dancer is one of only two horses with experience around two turns, the colt can successfully play “come catch me” and win this race.

Americanus is the other horse I feel has a good chance to win the Unbridled Stakes. After winning in his career debut last September in a dirt sprint, Americanus ran about as badly as a horse can run when eighth of nine in the Nashua Stakes in November. Returning refreshed in January as a 3-year-old, Americanus finished second to a runaway five-length winner to earn an 83 figure. Then, five weeks later, he rallied from last of seven to draw off late in a seven-furlong sprint at Gulfstream Park. That effort earned a 90 figure which can be improved upon in the colt’s third start of the year. Another reason I think Americanus can improve is his pedigree, which suggests he will like the additional distance as he’s by War Front out of a mare that has produced dirt route winners. Likely to be in a stalking position from a ground saving post from the start, if Americanus can stay within hailing distance of Relentless Dancer in the early stages he has potential to pass the expected pacesetter and win the Unbridled Stakes.

Two more horses, South Bend and Attachment Rate, deserve mention as contenders in the Unbridled Stakes but each may be compromised by late running styles in a race without enough early pace to benefit their late charges. South Bend is the other Unbridled Stakes entrant with two turn experience. He’s also a stakes winner, having won the Street Sense Stakes at a mile on dirt in October while earning a 97 figure. His last three races were on all on grass and all were decent efforts in stakes races. First, South Bend missed by a neck and a head in the Dania Beach Stakes on Feb. 1, then four weeks later he rallied from 10th of 11 to miss by a length and a half in the Palm Beach Stakes. Last month, South Bend rallied from 11 lengths back in ninth position early to get second. In the Unbridled it appears South Bend will be finishing fast but it may not be enough to catch Relentless Dancer if that one is allowed to run slowly in front for most of the race. Attachment Rate was visually impressive when starting far back early and finishing fast to be second of 10 on Jan. 25 in his first start of the year. He did not disappoint in his next start in mid-February when winning by 6 ¼ lengths. In his most recent race in the Gotham Stakes, Attachment Rate didn’t show the same kind of explosive kick in the last eight of a mile as he was third during the entire stretch run and did not make up significant ground. Nevertheless he earned a 98 figure and could be a factor if he improves off that effort.

The rest of the field, with their best representative Equibase Speed Figures, is Dr Post (92), Necker Island (99), and Soros (84). 

Win contenders:

Relentless Dancer

Americanus 

Contenders for exacta and trifecta wagers:

South Bend

Attachment Rate

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