A field of seven three-year-old fillies take to the track at Belmont Park on Saturday in the $250,000 Mother Goose (G2) at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.
Unchained Melody (7-2) makes her stakes debut for trainer Brian Lynch. She was an impressive winner against first level optional claimers over the Belmont Park main track in her last outing.
The Bill Mott trained Lockdown is the 2-1 morning line favorite and is looking for a better trip than she got in a troubled third in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs in her last outing.
The Mother Goose was downgraded from a Grade 1 this year. The race has been won by some all-time greats including Rachel Alexandra, Serena’s Song, Sky Beauty, Go for Wand and Ruffian.
The Neil Drysdale Vexatious (5-2) also exits the Oaks where she was fourth, beaten 2 ¾ lengths behind the winner Abel Tasman, who came back to win the Acorn (G1) at Belmont Park on June 10.
Two fillies exit the Black Eyed Susan (G2) at Pimlico—the runner up Lights of Medina (10-1) and fifth place finisher Moana (8-1), both trained by Todd Pletcher.
Pletcher will also saddle My Miss Tapit (6-1), who won the restricted Game Face Stakes at Gulfstream Park in her last outing at seven furlongs.
Completing the field is Penn Oaks sixth place finisher Spanish Harlem (20-1) who is trained by Danny Gargan.
My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my strongest plays from Belmont Park and Gulfstream Park.
Let’s head out to Belmont Park for today’s featured race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 9 The Mother Goose (G2) Post time 5:50 ET
2 Unchained Melody 7-2
4 Lockdown 2-1
6 Vexatious 5-2
3 My Miss Tapit 6-1
Unchained Melody makes her stakes debut here for the Lynch barn. The filly stretched out to a route of ground for the first time last out and beat Alw-1 optional claimers in a sharp effort earning the top last out speed fig. She beat Jamyson ‘n Ginger by two lengths. That filly has won the Demoiselle (G2) at Aqueduct after running fifth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). The filly has a solid pedigree, by Smart Strike out of the stakes winner Love Match ($188,966). She loses Castellano, who is at Gulfstream Park today and picks up Rosario.
Lockdown was third last out at Churchill Downs in the Kentucky Oaks (G1). The comment lines states “nightmarish go” which I don’t think I have ever seen before. She was caught in tight and had to steady in the early going, was blocked behind foes on the far turn and had to steady again bumping with a foe, and then jockey Jose Ortiz dropped his whip and she was still only beaten 2 ¼ lengths. Mott is giving Ortiz another shot of getting this gal home. She fits here but our top pick likely is going to offer a bit more value for the top spot.
Vexatious also exits the Oaks where she was outrun early and came with a good five wide rally but then ran out of gas late in a fifth-place finish at 40-1. The winner of the Oaks was Abel Tasman who was our top pick at 9-1 and she came back to win the Acorn (G1) in her next outing here. The Drysdale trainee was third in the Fantasy (G3) at Oaklawn Park and third in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) in her two previous starts. She is going to get a solid early pace to run into here.
WIN: Unchained Melody to win at 3-1 or better.
EXACTA: 2,4 / 2,3,4,6
TRIFECTA: 2,4 / 2,3,4,6 / 1,2,3,4,6
Get Michael’s Best Plays Report each Saturday which will include all of the U.S. based Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” races from now to October and Michael Dempsey’s 2-Day Breeders’ Cup Report.
Michael’s two-day Breeders’ Cup Report includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for every race on the two-day championship event from Del Mar on Nov. 3-4.