Lexington, KY (SportsNetwork.com) – Four years ago Team Valor International
hit the jackpot when its 3-year-old colt Animal Kingdom won the 137th Kentucky
Derby and finished second in the Preakness Stakes on the way to being voted
2011’s champion 3-year-old colt.
This year Team Valor has a Parx Racing-based 3-year-old colt named Unrivaled
on the trail to the Run for the Roses.
Unrivaled, trained by Marya Montoya, will start in Saturday’s $1 million Blue
Grass Stakes at Keeneland as he makes his stakes debut. The colt, formerly
owned by breeder WinStar Farm, is coming off a pair of decisive wins at Parx
which totaled 20 lengths.
The colt is a son of 2010 Kentucky Derby champ Super Saver.
“There was a time that we thought we had a horse who could run but wasn’t
worth anything because we couldn’t overcome the gate,” said Montoya. “Now he’s
broken three times perfect.”
Unrivaled had five starts as a 2-year-old in 2014, the first three for trainer
Kellyn Gorder, and finished in fifth, third and second, respectively. He was
claimed by Montoya for David Wright’s Waldorf Racing Stables and brought to
Parx where he got second on Dec. 9 before scoring for the first time two weeks
“(Unrivaled’s) form was OK. It wasn’t spectacular. I liked that he was out of
the Unbridled mare (Safely). We had two horses picked out and decided to go
with the better-bred horse,” Montoya said.
The colt followed his 15-length maiden victory, now owned by Team Valor, with
an allowance win on March 15 at Parx in suburban Philadelphia. Whatever
starting gate problems Unrivaled had were solved with the help of Ross
Montoya, the trainer’s husband.
“We tried several things,” Ross Montoya said. “The final thing was a shadow
roll. He wasn’t bad in the gate, but the sudden movement of the gates would
startle him. I put the shadow roll on him, and he couldn’t see the bottom of
the gate move. That was the key.”
For the Blue Grass Stakes, Unrivaled is listed at 12-1 in the morning line and
will start from post 4 with Robby Albarado riding in the eight-horse field.
“It’s very, very exciting,” Marya Montoya said. “I don’t think it’s completely
sunk in yet.”