As the stud career of the late, great Storm Cat began to wind down in the early 2000s, the Kentucky breeding industry needed a successor as the designated young sire of sires. The obvious choice seemed to be Unbridled’s Song, who had begun his stud career brilliantly, with Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Unbridled Elaine, Grade 1 winner Songandaprayer, and multiple Grade 2 winner Even the Score in his first crop and Grade 1 winner Buddha in his second.
As recently as the middle of last year, however, the investment the breeding industry made in sons of Unbridled’s Song looked like an expensive wager gone very wrong, since Even the Score, the sire of Dullahan and Take the Points, was his only son to have sired a Grade 1 winner. That lackluster record began to improve dramatically in the last half of the year, as Unbridled’s Song’s sons First Defence, Dunkirk, and Rockport Harbor all added Grade 1 winners to their stud records.
After last Saturday’s Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita, another name can be added to that list, a name that could turn out to be the most promising of all. Las Virgenes winner Fashion Plate is the first Grade 1 winner by Unbridled’s Song’s son Old Fashioned, but if other promising runners in his first crop are any indication of his potential as a stallion, she will not be his last.
Rest of article: DRF Article on Old Fashioned
After getting a quick jump out of the gate, Fashion Plate went wire-to-wire and held off tenacious even-money favorite Streaming for a game victory in the $300,000 Las Virgenes Stakes Feb. 1 at Santa Anita Park.
Sent off at odds of 9-2, the 3-year-old daughter of Old Fashioned — Miss Puzzle (by Citidancer) broke on top along with Taste Like Candy but opened up a daylight lead after a half-mile was completed in :46.26 seconds.
With Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens urging his mount along, Fashion Plate continued on through three-quarters in 1:10.91, even as Streaming, who had been forwardly placed in third, closed resolutely on the outside under Martin Garcia. But in the end, Fashion Plate and Stevens held sway by a half-length, and Fashion Plate became the first Grade 1 winner for her sire, who stands at Taylor Made Stallions.
For video and rest of article: Fashion Plate Leads All The Way
Coup de Grace certainly surprised Chad and me and was a real disappointment. I see the race this way. We were not sure whether Coup de Grace could handle two turns and how far he could run effectively. Chad had his apprehensions about him going long since he first ran. One thing we thought we would surely discover from The Holy Bull Stakes was whether he could handle two turns and go another sixteenth of a mile. We did not discover either. The plan with the jockey was to take the lead if we got a good jump from the gate and found ourselves in front. Otherwise, we were going to relax and settle in behind the sure speed horse Almost Famous. Instead, after a poor break, he rushed him up to the front and took the lead and got into a speed duel with that horse. That was the last thing that we wanted. Then, amazingly as we approached the quarter pole he was checked strongly for a reason unknown to me and that was the end of the race for Coup de Grace. When Chad spoke with the jockey after the race he never mentioned being pushed towards the rail or anything else about the brutal check. Worst than only beating one horse, we did not learn one thing about Coup de Grace that we were hoping to see. The race was a disaster for us but he seems to have come out of the race fine and he will live to run another day. Chad and I will discuss our options but the Derby trail is not one of them. We will probably take him back to one turn and see how he responds. He has a lot of talent and he will be a stakes horse this year. We had some good and bad luck in the following race at Gulfstream when Charade just got nipped by a short nose for the win but was claimed. Winning and getting claimed was our objective. The Fair Grounds was a different story. General Ike, almost impossible to control, ran off to a huge lead with a wide open mouth and was collared at the quarter pole and dug in to be second. Larry told me it would take four or five races to get General Ike where he wanted him. He made great progress yesterday. I don’t think he will be a maiden after his next start. Mary Rita ran a great race with the jockey taking the lead, slowing the pace to a crawl, and pulled away when turning for home with a little asking. He was eased up the last part of the race for an easy win. I sold Lucky Bow Tie privately yesterday which was the reason for the scratch. Normandy Invasion and Thirteen Arrows had A+ works this morning galloping our beautifully. Chad was extremely happy with both works. Tiffany had a nice work at PARX. She is ready to run. The Trunk Monkey is entered at the Fair Grounds on Friday. I am excited and anxious to see his debut. All in all, it was a mixed day for Fox Hill Farm but it was yesterday and today is today and we will keep marching on.