Four hours before the Florida Derby, Ryerson knew that Unbridled's Song, who had lost his first two starts as a 3-year-old, was facing the biggest race in his life. There could be no more excuses. Was this just another Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner who would expose himself as the distances stretched out? Ryerson paced nervously. "You haven't seen the best of this horse yet," he said.
The best came when Smith nudged Unbridled's Song and he sailed, like a windsurfer, down the stretch in front by two. By three, four, five, almost six. He has one more test, the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 13, before heading for the Downs.
No one feels more blessed than Paragallo. He sold the horse for $1.4 million, then got him back. Today he has the Kentucky Derby favorite, a gunmetal roan who is a son of the '90 Derby winner, Unbridled, and who has far more natural speed than his sire. Paragallo has grabbed the bit, too. "I don't care who's on the bandwagon," he says. "I know who's got the best horse."
For the moment, so do we all.