There is little doubt Unbridled Belle is ready to embark on the next stage of her career.
In a handful of days, the 6-year-old daughter of Broken Vow is slated to head to Hill 'n' Dale Farm to begin her broodmare career, and she has a date booked with rising Darley sire Medaglia d'Oro.
However, before the dark bay mare begins her new job, she has one task remaining in her current vocation.
Team Valor's Grade I-winning starlet is scheduled to wrap up her on-track career Thursday when she faces five rivals in the Grade II Falls City Handicap over the main track at Churchill Downs.
A winner of more than $1.8 million, Unbridled Belle's career was extended this year when she did not get in foal after being bred to leading sire A.P. Indy in March.
Though she hasn't quite been able to duplicate the form that allowed her to win the 2007 Grade I Beldame Stakes, Unbridled Belle has earned two graded stakes wins in six starts this season. She took the Grade III Obeah at Delaware Park by 11 lengths on June 20 and the Grade III Turnback the Alarm at Aqueduct on Oct. 31.
"She's been so good to us for a number of years," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "It's nice to see her doing as well as she is at the moment. Hopefully, we can get one more."
Both of Unbridled Belle's triumphs this year have come over the same 11⁄8 miles distance she will travel Thursday. Among the biggest challengers in her swan song, though, is fellow Grade I winner and nemesis Swift Temper.
Swift Temper, fourth in the Falls City last year, has enjoyed her most successful season yet at age 5, winning the Grade I Ruffian Handicap in September.
The daughter of Giant's Causeway has finished ahead of Unbridled Belle three times this year — including her 4-length win in the Grade II Delaware Handicap. But she has disappointed in her last two outings, running 10th in the Grade I Judd monte Spinster in October and sixth in the Grade II Chilukki Stakes at Churchill on Nov. 7.
"I hope she wakes up," trainer Dale Romans said. "She didn't care for the Polytrack (at Keeneland), and she didn't have the best of trips in the Chilukki."
Swift Temper went through the ring at the Keeneland November sale but was bought back by owner Mark Stanley for $2.05 million.