Alabama a chance for Unchained Melody to make up ground

Hare Forest’s Virginia raised filly is favored in tomorrow’s Alabama

A victory in Grade I race at Saratoga would get filly in title picture
Updated 10:16 pm, Thursday, August 17, 2017

On that day, she broke out of the gate and never looked back, winning the 11/16-mile race by three lengths.

“I thought that race had a lack of speed,” Lynch said outside his barn on the Saratoga backstretch. “I said to Joel (jockey Rosario, who was on board for the first time) that if she broke well and was comfortable on the lead, don’t be afraid to leave her where she is.”

That’s just what Rosario did. Unchained Melody ran a first quarter mile of 23.62 seconds.

“Running a quick first quarter is one of her assets,” Lynch said. “She can open up. She can relax. She has such a high cruising speed that she can maintain.”

In the Mother Goose, Unchained Melody cruised home ahead of the Bill Mott-trained Lockdown, who is also in the Alabama.

Lockdown, the fourth choice in the Alabama morning line at odds of 5-1, stumbled at the start of the Mother Goose and then ran very wide in the stretch before settling for second.

She has shown nothing but bullet works for the Alabama, including a four-furlong breeze in 47.98 seconds on Tuesday on the Oklahoma Training Track. That was the fastest of 36 works at the distance.

“(The Alabama) is going to be a tougher group, but we’ll see what happens,” Mott said.

Unchained Melody looks like she could be the main speed in the Alabama.

Lynch is confident that the extra distance will not be a problem for his filly.

“I think she has enough gas in there to kick again,” said Lynch, originally from Australia.

Unchained Melody did not race as a 2-year-old, Lynch said, because she has not fully developed.

She made her debut at Gulfstream Park on March 19 and rolled to a front-running win. What followed was her only career loss when she did not get to the front and finished second as the 2-1 favorite in an allowance race at Keeneland.

Then came her first start at Belmont Park on June 1 and she won by a pair of lengths and then it was onto the graded stakes, the Mother Goose.

Saturday will be the toughest race to date. The leader of the 3-year-old division is not going to be in the Alabama. Abel Tasman, who won the Grade I Coaching Club American Oaks here on July 23, is skipping this race. Her trainer, Bob Baffert, is giving his filly a break. She won’t run again until the Grade I, $1 million Cotillion at Parx on Sept. 23.

If Unchained Melody is able to add the Alabama to her resume, Lynch said he will be cutting into the lead Abel Tasman has over the rest of the 3-year-old filly division.

“I am hoping that, after the Alabama, (Unchained Melody) is considered to be right there with Abel Tasman,” Lynch said. • 518-454-5415 • @tjwilkin