Well-bred multiple Grade I winner Forever Unbridled (Unbridled’s Song) gets her 5-year-old season underway Saturday night in Churchill’s GII Fleur de Lis H., a Win and You’re In qualifier for the GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff. The Chuck Fipke homebred capped a three-race win streak in last April’s GI Apple Blossom H. at Oaklawn, and was second and third, respectively, in salty runnings of Belmont’s GI Ogden Phipps S. in June and Saratoga’s GI Personal S. in August. The Dallas Stewart pupil easily handled a weaker group in the GI Beldame Invitational S. back in Elmont Oct. 1, and was a good third behind superstars Beholder (Henny Hughes) and Songbird (Medaglia d’Oro) in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita Nov. 4. The daughter of 2006 GI Kentucky Oaks heroine Lemons Forever (Lemon Drop Kid) underwent surgery to remove an ankle chip since her last start.
Among those who could give the expected heavy favorite a run for her money is the streaking Big World (Custom for Carlos). The 2015 GIII Tempted S. winner completed her 2016 campaign with a restricted stakes score in the Louisiana Champions Day Ladies S. at Fair Grounds Dec. 10, and has been a win machine since then. She added another restricted event at Delta Feb. 11 and an open optional claimer at Oaklawn Mar. 30 before stealing this venue’s GI La Troienne S. in the slop May 5. Romantic Vision (Lemon Drop Kid) was second that day.
Four runners exit the local GIII Matron S. May 20, including winner Walkabout (Stroll), a half-sister Fort Larned (E Dubai), the dominant winner of the GI Stephen Foster H. on this card in 2013. Last year’s GI Ashland S. upsetter Weep No More (Mineshaft) was a late-on-the-scene fifth that day.