Lets all go back 6 years, to 2007 when a filly named Rags to Riches dominated the boys in the final quest to the last jewel of the Triple Crown. It was a monstrous feat to outlast the almighty Curlin but Rags to Riches prevailed, and become the first filly since 1905 to win the Belmont Stakes.
I can faintly hear the echoes of Tom Durkins’ thrilling race-call as the horses are running toward the top of the stretch, “A filly is in the front of the Belmont, but Curlin is right there with her. These two in the “Battle of the Sexes” in the Belmont Stakes. It is Curlin on the inside, and Rags to Riches on the outside in a desperate finish. Rags to Riches and Curlin they’re coming down to the wire. It’s going to be close… and it’s going to be a filly in the Belmont! Rags to Riches has beaten Curlin and a 100 years of Belmont history. The first filly to win it in a century!”
What an exciting feat for Todd Pletcher’s first “Classic”, win with a filly in the Belmont!
June 8th will be the 145th running of the Belmont Stakes, and with no Triple Crown on the line there is still much suspense brewing in the air with Todd Pletcher’s filly possibly running in the most challenging leg of the Triple Crown. Decision to run her is still not 100%, but after turning in a sharp half-mile in: 47 2/5 this morning and galloping out five furlongs in 1:00 in company with Capo Bastone, Todd Pletcher estimates her chances of running in the Belmont as 80-90%. In a recent article from Bloodhorse website, Pletcher was very happy with how she worked as she seemed enthusiastic, and did not have to be asked or encouraged at any point. He plans to confirm with Owner Mike Repole at the end of the day whether the filly will run in the race. Her connections have been debating on whether to run her in the Belmont Stakes against the boys, or go against top filly Dreaming of Julia in the Grade I- Mother Goose on June 22nd.
Now if she does run in the Belmont, will she be able to emulate Todd Pletcher’s “only” Belmont win with Rags to Riches? Inquiring minds want to know: Can the only filly in the race beat a tough field of male contenders? Does she have the tenacity that Rags to Riches had? Does she have the pedigree to go a mile and a half? Will this finally be the year that Todd Pletcher adds another Belmont win to his resume? Who is this filly, and what do we need to know about her?
Her name is Unlimited Budget. She is a stunning 3 -year old filly, out of the 2010 Kentucky Derby and Preakness 2nd place winner, Street Sense- Unlimited Appeal, by Valid Appeal. She was bred in Florida, out of Ocala Stud. Her name refers to what Owner, Mike Repole regretfully told his wife about her spending limit for their new home after selling his company Glaceau, maker of Vitaminwater and Smart water, to Coca-Cola for $4.1. “You’ve got an unlimited budget with this house.” What a perfect name!
She’s a big Street Sense filly, and although there is some concern from her female family, which is more predominately speed-oriented, her sire’s line is bred for stamina.
In another article in Blood Horse website, when comparing Unlimited Budget to his 2007 Belmont Stakes winner, Rags to Riches this is what Todd Pletcher had to say, “The bottom side of her pedigree isn’t as deep in stamina as Rags to Riches. The biggest thing about Rags to Riches pedigree is that she is so stoutly bred. She was sired out of a Belmont winner , A.P. Indy and being a half sister to a Belmont winner, Jazil”. So there is little concern, but on the positive side Unlimited Budget has already won at a mile and a sixteenth twice this year, and has also won going at a mile and an eighth as a 2-year old so going longer in distance, should not be a major problem. Her speed figures also match up to the colts she would be going up against; so she seems to fit into the mix.
Add the top female jockey to the equation, and you could possibly have a winning combination. Rosie Napravnik is likely to ride Unlimited Budget, and will attempt to become the only female rider to win the Belmont since Julie Krone in 1993, aboard Colonial Affair. Having a female duo in a male dominated race is always exciting, as it gets the female bettors more involved in the sports betting.
Lets hope Unlimited Budget runs with the boys, and shows the sport what she is all about. In Mike Repole’s words, “She’s not only Unlimited Budget; I think she has unlimited potential too”.