Red Oak Stable’s homebred Unbridled Mo staved off a bid from Power of Snunner to win the 23rd running of the Grade III, $100,000 Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare for fillies and mares by three-quarters of a length before a Friday afternoon crowd of 16,664 at Keeneland.
Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez, Unbridled Mo covered the 1 1/16 miles on a fast main track in 1:45.11.
With the victory, Pletcher earned his record-extending 52nd Keeneland stakes victory and third stakes win of the Spring Meet. It also marked his fourth victory in the race, having previously won with Colony Band (2005), Pool Land (2006) and Embur’s Song (2011).
It was the fifth win in the race for Velazquez, who in addition to the four wins for Pletcher won the 2015 renewal on Deceptive Vision.
Dear Elaine set the pace with Unbridled Mo in closest pursuit through fractions of :23.61, :46.77 and 1:11.63. On the far turn, Velazquez moved at the leader and took command only to be quickly pursued by Power of Snunner, who moved in from the back of the pack.
Unbridled Mo never let Power of Snunner get the lead and gradually began to inch away at the wire for her third Grade III victory.
“When (Unbridled Mo) got to the lead, she started waiting,” Velazquez said. “When the other horse (runner-up Power of Snunner) got to her, she put in a nice fight. It was her, just waiting, looking at the crowd and everything. Thank God the other horse came to her and made her run again.”
The win was worth $60,000 and increased Unbridled Mo’s earnings to $526,180 with a record of 8-6-0-0. Unbridled Mo is a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Uncle Mo out of the Unbridled mare Unbridled Waters.
Unbridled Mo returned $2.80 and $2.10. Power of Snunner, ridden by Mike Smith, returned $3. There was no show wagering. It was another 7¼ lengths back to Lady Fog Horn in third with Dear Elaine finishing fourth.
“I let her run out of there to make sure there was a good pace,” Smith said of Power of Snunner. “I tapped on the brakes in the middle of the first turn a little bit just to see if I could come from behind. I couldn’t stay up there (on the lead) and try to beat her that way. It almost worked, but it just didn’t. I thought I would catch her at the end.”