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Apr 03, 2015

Team Valor pins hopes on Unrivaled


Lexington, KY ( - 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 later.

"(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."

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