Unbridled’s Note returned to Santa Anita’s downhill turf course and
was a game winner of Saturday’s $75,000 Joe Hernandez Handicap for older
horses under Corey Nakatani, prevailing by a nose over comebacking
Chips All In and Tyler Baze while negotiating 6 ½ furlongs in
1:11.17—just seven one hundredths of a second off the course record.
“I felt I had the race,” said Nakatani. “My horse, he’s such a
real nice horse, a real game horse. I want to thank Mr. McCarty (owner)
for letting me have this opportunity with him…You know, it’s been a
tough meet for us but they are very good horses…The turf was a little
soft, had a lot of cut to it and he kept switching leads on it.
“He’s better with a little bit of a target but the pace scenario
just didn’t pan out like I thought it would. He ran a tremendous race
After running a brilliant second down the hill in the Grade I
Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on Nov. 3, Unbridled’s Note, trained by Steve
Asmussen, was third, beaten three lengths in the opening day Grade I
Malibu at seven furlongs on dirt.
“He’s a pretty versatile race horse,” said Asmussen assistant
Scott Blasi. “It looks like his numbers are comparable on both dirt and
turf. We’ll just see how he comes out of it, and and I’m just glad to
win a race, honestly. It feels good to win a race.”
The Asmussen Stable, America’s leader by races-won in five
different years, and the winner of consecutive Eclipse Awards in 2008
and ‘09, had two wins from 23 starts coming into Saturday.
Off as the 4-5 favorite, Unbridled’s Note, who broke from post
position three in a seven-horse field, was gunned by Nakatani to the
lead and quickly established a one length lead over the runnerup, who
pressed Nakatani through splits of 21.44, 44.05 and 1:05.41.
Unbridled’s Note, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by Unbridled’s
Song, paid $3.60, $2.40 and $2.20. With the winner’s share of $45,840,
he increased his earnings to $457,581. His record now stands at
Runner-up Chips All In, idle since running third in the Grade II
La Jolla Handicap on Aug. 11, he finished 3 ¾ lengths in front of
third-place finisher Tale of a Champion and Joe Talamo.
“This horse ran his heart out,” said Baze. “He gave me
everything he had. If he would have had a (recent) race under his belt,
he would have won easy. He just is a really hard-trying horse, just a
pleasure to ride.”
The third choice in the betting at 6-1, Chips All In paid $4.20 and $3.20.
Tale of a Champion, the longest shot in the field at 25-1,
finished a half length in front of 3-1 second choice Irish Art and paid
$6.40 to show.