Ending Of A Song

Sarah Whitelaw on Unbridled's Song

Unbridled’s Song

Unbridled’s Song

One of North America’s top stallions, Unbridled’s Song, was euthanized last Thursday at the age of 20. An inoperable mass had been discovered in the big grey’s sinus cavities, and a decision was made to euthanize the horse.

Unbridled’s Song was one of a 1993 foal crop, whose members also included the prominent American sires Hennessy and Maria’s Mon. Between the three sires, they produced two Kentucky Derby winners, four Breeders Cup winners, 32 Grade One winners and over 230 stakes winners.

Unbridled’s Song was the best sire son of Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled, whose sire Fappiano himself was one of Mr Prospector’s top sire sons. Despite dying prematurely, Fappiano formed a sire line through such important descendants as Unbridled, Empire Maker and Quiet American. His blood can be found in successful and popular stallions, Tapit and Midnight Lute.

A powerful grey who stood 17 hands, Unbridled’s Song inherited his colour from his broodmare sire Caro (also damsire of the aforementioned Maria’s Mon).

He was sold for a then world record price of $1 400 000 as a juvenile, but original buyer Hiroshi Fujita later backed out of the sale when a bone chip was detected in Unbridled’s Song’s left front ankle.

The colt became one of just a handful of Breeders Cup Juvenile winners not to achieve an Eclipse Award as champion 2yo colt of his generation. (That award went to Maria’s Mon). At three Unbridled’s Song won both the Gr1 Florida Derby and Gr1 Wood Memorial, but could only finish fifth, as favourite, in the 1996 Kentucky Derby.

His racing career suffered from a series of physical problems, and, he was eventually retired to Taylor Made Stud in 1997 having won five races and over $1 300 000 in prize money.

Unbridled’s Song became one of just two Breeders Cup Juvenile winners to sire a fellow Juvenile winner. (Capote, victorious in 1986 sired 1996 Juvenile winner, Boston Harbor). Unbridled’s Song not only sired the 2008 Juvenile winner Midshipman, but also Breeders Cup winners, Unrivaled Belle and Unbridled Elaine, both of whom won the Distaff. Three other offspring by Unbridled’s Song were placed in Breeders Cup events.

In total, Unbridled’s Song has sired 15 grade one winners to date. His offspring include 100 stakes winners, who have earned over $88 000 000 in prize money.

He did extremely well when mated to Storm Cat line mares. This cross produced no fewer than nine stakes winners, including the Gr1 winners Buddha and Magnificent Song.

Another of the stallion’s top sons, the multiple Grade One winner Thorn Song, was produced by a daughter of Storm Bird (sire of Storm Cat).

While he never sired a winner of a US Triple Crown race, Unbridled’s Song did have offspring finish second in the Kentucky Derby (Eight Belles) and Belmont Stakes (Dunkirk).

He was as good a sire of colts as he was of fillies. Of his 15 Grade One winners, nine were colts and six filles.

While not an unqualified success as a sire of sires, Unbridled’s Song is the sire of useful sire Songandaprayer (sire of 32 stakes winners), proven Gr1 stallion Even The Score, as well as the very promising Juddmonte stallion First Defense. The latter, a Grade One winner himself, produced the Gr1 Mother Goose winner Close Hatches in his very first crop of runners.

As the majority of top sires do, Unbridled’s Song has become a highly successful broodmare sire. To date, his daughters have produced 60 stakes winners, highlighted by the Grade One winners General Quarters, Once Were Wild, Mrs Onassis, The Lumber Guy, Unbridled Command, J.B.’s Thunder, and Rolling Fog.

A hugely popular stallion in the sales ring, to date, Unbridled’s Song sired yearlings have fetched over $198 000 000. He has sired no fewer than 26 yearlings to fetch $1 000 000 plus.

Following the tragic breakdown of his daughter Eight Belles in the 2008 Kentucky Derby, Unbridled’s Song was given unwonted attention due to the fact that his progeny were known not to be the soundest or most durable in North America. His offspring, in fact, average just over 11 starts although some of his top progeny had just a handful of starts before retiring. His Gr1 Wood Memorial Stakes winning son Buddha ran just four times, another son, Songandaprayer, ran eight times during his career, and the classic placed Dunkirk made a mere five starts before retiring to Ashford Stud.

While never champion sire, Unbridled’s Song produced some staggering numbers as regarding stakes winners per crop. Three times he produced at least ten stakes winners in a single crop, with both his 2001 and 2003 progeny achieved 12 black type winners.

Unbridled’s Son is one of just 26th US sires to have been represented by 100 stakes winners plus, with his black type winners ranging from top sprinter Zensational (a promising first crop sire in the US), to VRC Leger winner Grey Song, who also ran second in the Gr1 Caulfield Cup.

He is currently 12th on the US general sires list, with his offspring, headed by Gr1 Donn Handicap hero Graydar, having earned $4.154 million already this season. His foals in 2013 include six individual stakes winners, and include another potential Gr1 winner in Cross Traffic.

Unbridled’s Song was very much a North American success story. His influence has not been felt in Europe or in any other major racing centre, barring the States. Nonetheless, his achievements at stud, both on the track and in the sales ring, make Unbridled’s Song one of the finest US stallions of the past 20 years.

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