Sunday, October 19th, 2014
By Sarah Mace
Albert Fried, Jr.’s late-blooming homebred Moonlight Song (Unbridled’s Song), who brought home his first stakes victory earlier this year in the Gold and Roses Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack at age seven, wrapped up the stakes portion of the Empire Showcase Day card by collecting his second career tally with a frontrunning victory in a deep and competitive running of the 6 1/2-furlong, $150,000 Hudson Handicap.
Returning to the starting gate 64 days after his last start, Moonlight Song was last seen finishing fifth in the restricted John Morrissey at Saratoga, a race in which the next four horses who followed two-length winner Weekend Hideaway across the line ended up in a blanket finish. The first five finishers in the Morrissey (Weekend Hideaway, Big Business, West Hills Giant, Saratoga Snacks and Moonlight Song) were all back for another tilt in in the Hudson, along with six more. With plenty of speed signed on, it looked like the winner would either be the “speed of the speed,” or in the event of a pace collapse, the best of the closers.
Partnered for the first time with jockey Joel Rosario, Moonlight Song (5-1) got out of post seven cleanly and threw down the gauntlet, forging his way to the front and carving out solid early fractions of 22.54 and 45.18 while prompted by longshot Laila’s Jazz.
With a length advantage, Moonlight Song cut the corner neatly exiting the far turn and, when faced with a challenge from Captain Serious with a furlong to go, dug in and kept to business on his way to a 1 1/2-length victory. After six panels in 1:09.25, he completed the six furlongs in 1:15.58.
Big Business closed wide from midpack to finish second, followed a half-length back by West Hills Giant and Captain Serious noses apart in third and fourth. Completing the order of finish were favored Noble Cornerstone, Weekend Hideaway, Crafty Dreamer, John’s Island, Chapman, Laila’s Jazz and Sandy’z Slew. [VIDEO]
With the his second stakes victory, the relatively lightly raced Moonlight Song improved his career record to seven wins, two seconds and a third from 16 starts with $414,294 in earnings.
Rosario said he let Moonlight’s Song’s natural speed work to his advantage. Said the jockey, “He broke sharp and I was thinking it looked like, on paper, there were a couple of horses with speed like my horse. I was thinking if a couple of them go, I’ll just let him settle behind but he broke sharp and I just let him go on and he took it all the way. Every time a horse came to him he kept on going. He was game the whole way.”
Charlton Baker, who trains Moonlight Song for Fried, said, “He’s a nice horse. He’s got a lot of speed. We rated him a little last time because he runs at horses pretty good. Today, he broke sharp and nobody seemed like they wanted the lead. He’s the best horse I have in the barn. He was second in this race last year to Palace; he came back and beat Palace in January [in the Gold and Roses]. Palace is going to the Breeders’ Cup, so you know he’s been keeping good company.”
Moonlight Song is the third foal, and one of four winners, out of Moonlightandbeauty (Capote), also bred by Fried, who purchased her dam, Stolen Beauty (Deputy Minister), for $30,000 at the 1990 Keeneland September yearling sale. Winner of the Grade 2 Demoiselle in 1992 in her third career start, Stolen Beauty won or placed in seven stakes races and earned $299,451.
Moonlightandbeauty, a stakes winner and $228,053-earner trained by Rick Schosberg, began her broodmare career with a bang, producing Giant Moon (Giant’s Causeway) as her first foal. Also trained by Schosberg, Giant Moon went undefeated in his first four starts, culminating with a victory in the 2008 Count Fleet Stakes, and was voted champion New York-bred 2-year-old male in 2007. Giant Moon won at least one stakes race every year from 2007 to 2010 and earned just over a half million dollars ($502,586).
Moonlightandbeauty’s most recent reported foal, and first to be offered for sale at auction, was a Medaglia d’Oro colt now named Apollo Eleven who was purchased by The Elkstone Group for $250,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga preferred New York-bred sale in 2013. The mare was bred to Street Cry this year.