May 14, 2016
Source: TDN

‘TDN Rising Star’ Unified (Candy Ride {Arg}) successfully stretched to nine furlongs while showing a new dimension with a 3/4-length tally in Saturday’s GII Peter Pan S. at Belmont Park.

An ultra-impressive front-running debut winner going six furlongs at Gulfstream Feb. 21, the Centennial Farms colorbearer scored another decisive victory over next out Gold Fever S. winner King Kranz (Munnings) in the mud last time in Aqueduct’s seven-furlong GIII Bay Shore S. Apr. 9.

The handsome bay, favored at 1-2, broke on top in the Peter Pan, but was rated off the pacesetters beneath Jose Ortiz, allowing longshot Singleton (Malibu Moon) to carve out early fractions of :23.32 and :46.38. Seizing control while in hand entering the far turn, Unified rolled clear to a three-length advantage in the stretch, but got a little leg weary late, and had to dig down as Ortiz got busy to hold off a late-charging Governor Malibu (Malibu Moon). California invader Wild About Deb (Eskendereya) was third.

“We wanted to give him a little test,” trainer Jimmy Jerkens said. “We didn’t have to completely turn him around [because] it was one turn. He’s got quality. We trained him hard for this race, and he took it like a man. He didn’t miss an oat. He actually looks like he’s carrying more flesh than he did when he ran the last time. Only the good ones do that.”

As for what’s next, Jerkens continued, “I don’t know [about the GI Belmont S.]. There would have to be a lot of horses going by the wayside for that to happen. But you’d be an idiot nowadays to rule anything out, because things change overnight. It’s improbable, but not impossible.”

Donald Little Jr., managing partner of Centennial Farms, added, “It’s another step accomplished. Jose [Ortiz] said he didn’t want the horse in front of him to get away so he said he may have used him a little bit too soon, but the way he got away from them at the stretch, you could see he was getting a little tired at the end. Everything is very open. He’s a talented horse, he always tries. I think he’s got the competitive spirit you want to see.”

Unified’s stakes-placed dam Union City, a full-sister to 2010 GII Demoiselle S. heroine Dixie City, has a 2-year-old filly by Broken Vow and a yearling colt by Candy Ride (Arg). The Edward. P Evans homebred brought $260,000 from Blue Devil Racing while in foal to Bluegrass Cat at the 2011 KEENOV sale.

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