Lewis G. Lakin’s Unbridled Command (Master Command) came from well off the pace to score a powerful no-doubt-it victory over a huge field the Grade 1, $250,000 Hollywood Derby at Betfair Hollywood Park on Sunday. The Tom Bush-trainee is the fifth New York-bred Grade 1 winner this year.
Drawn in post three in the deep and contentious field of fourteen sophomores signed on for this year’s renewal of the 1 1/4-mile turf contest, and piloted for the first time by Javier Castellano, the grey son of Unbridled Command (7-1) took a back seat to the speed in the early going, running in eleventh position and eight lengths off the pace going in the Clubhouse turn.
Starting to pick off horses in the two-path along the run down the backstretch, Unbridled Command moved up into seventh and had good momentum going three-wide into the far turn.
Rapidly making up ground and taking over second place, in a flash Unbridled Command gained the lead at the top of the lane and kicked away by more than two lengths. Grandeur and Lucky Chappy came closing fast heads apart, but Unbridled Command was still 1 1/2 lengths to the good when he crossed the wire in a final time of 2:01.07 for the 10 furlongs.
Javier Castellano, who earlier on the card was aboard Dayatthespa who unfortunately spooked herself out of contention in the Grade 1 Matriarch, said “I had a beautiful trip this time and everything worked out perfect. I saw the horses start backing out and I chose to go around and it worked out perfect. I knew the closers would show up down the lane, but I was able to get the jump on them. This was my first time on this horse. I watched his race replays and I was very impressed and really liked him.”
Trainer Tom Bush said, “[Unbridled Command] likes to track on the turns. He just matures from race to race to race. I couldn’t dream of a horse developing any nicer than this horse. He’s really gotten special. He’s going to fly to Palm Meadows (in Florida) tonight and we’ll figure out his next race.”
Unbridled Command broke his maiden on the Aqueduct turf in November 2011 in his third and final start at two. As he ascended the class ladder this year in seven starts, his performances have improved with every outing, and his Beyers have steadily climbed. He adds his Grade 1 triumph in the Hollywood Derby, his fifth straight victory, to wins this year in the 1 1/8-mile Grade 3 Saranac at Saratoga on September 2, a 6 3/4-length romp in the Mohawk Stakes on Showcase Day and a pair of state-bred allowance victories. In all, the sophomore has won six of 10 starts with one second and two thirds. His career earnings now stand at $469,040.
Five different New York-breds have won Grade 1 races at five different tracks this year: Willy Beamin took the Foxwoods King’s Bishop at Saratoga; The Lumber Guy won Belmont’s Vosburgh Stakes; and on the same weekend Dayatthespa won the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes at Keeneland and Next Question took the Nearctic Stakes at Woodbine.
Bred by Sequel Thoroughbreds LLC in partnership with A. Lakin & Sons Inc., and foaled at Sequel Stallions New York in Hudson, Unbridled Command was purchased outright by Lewis Lakin for $28,000 at the 2011 OBS Spring 2-year-old sale.
Unbridled Command is the most successful offspring to date of four winners produced by Unbridled Betty, an unraced daughter of Unbridled’s Song, who sold in foal to Master Command to Top Sale for $75,000 at the 2008 Keeneland November sale. Unbridled Betty is a half-sister to two stakes winners and to Astaire Step, dam of multiple Grade 1 winner Manistique (Unbridled), who earned over $1.3 million.
The mare currently has a 2-year-old colt by Freud named Mr. Panda, who has not started, a yearling colt by Freud and a weanling filly by Read the Footnotes. She was bred in the spring to Girolamo, who entered at stud at Sequel Stallions New York in 2012.