The best performance by a 3-year-old this year may have come
before Orb, Oxbow and Palace Malice divvied up the Triple Crown, when
the filly Dreaming
of Julia rolled to an eye-popping, 21 ¾-length victory on March 30 in
the Gulfstream Park Oaks.
The victory earned the daughter of A.P. Indy a 114 Beyer Speed
Figure, which not only ranks fourth in 2013 among all thoroughbreds at
distances of 1 1/8 miles and beyond,
but is tops among all sophomores, a full eight points better than the
Triple Crown best, Oxbow’s 106 for his wire-to-wire Preakness win.
As the favorite in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, however, Dreaming
of Julia endured a nightmare trip and finished fourth behind stablemate
Princess of Sylmar, the first
time in seven career starts she’d been off the board.
Saturday, Dreaming of Julia looks to regain her winning ways at
Park, where she is the 1-2 morning-line favorite over four other fillies in the 57th running of the Grade 1, $300,000 Mother Goose.
“I don’t really think she lost any credibility in the Oaks
because she was annihilated at the start, and if that wasn’t bad enough,
she got stopped later in the race,”
said trainer Todd Pletcher, who has won the Mother Goose four times,
most recently in 2011 with Buster’s Ready. “I thought she ran very well
in the race, considering everything she tried to overcome, and we’re
hoping to get her back on course.”
A winner of both her starts at
including the overnight Meadow Star stakes and the Grade 1 Frizette as a
2-year-old, Dreaming of Julia drew post position 2 for the 1 1/16-mile
Mother Goose. Her regular jockey, Hall of
Famer John Velazquez, will ride.
Heading the challengers is Juddmonte Farms’ Close Hatches, a
good second to Midnight Lucky in the Grade 1 Acorn at Belmont, which
followed a seventh-place finish in
the Kentucky Oaks. Unraced at two, the First Defence filly won her
first three starts, including the Grade 2 Gazelle at Aqueduct Racetrack,
for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.
Joel Rosario will ride Close Hatches, the 7-2 second choice on the morning line, from post position 3.
Trainer Tom Albertrani, who won last year’s Mother Goose with Zo
Impressive, returns Saturday with West Point Thoroughbreds’ Toasting.
The Florida-bred daughter of Congrats
is 1-0-2 from three starts this year, including a third-place finish in
the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan on May 17 at Pimlico Race Course when
outfitted with blinkers.
“She ran a good race [in the Black-Eyed Susan], she was a good
third,” said Albertrani, who sent Toasting out Wednesday morning for a
four-furlong breeze in 49.96. “It
looked like the blinkers helped a little bit and put her a little
closer into the race, and she seems to have bounced back OK.”
At 12-1 on the morning line, Toasting will leave from post position 4 with Luis Saez aboard.
Coming in from the Midwest is Marathon Lady, seeking her first
graded stakes score after a third and a pair of seconds, including a
neck loss to Fiftyshadesofhay in
“I think she’s progressing and moving forward with each race,”
said trainer Steve Hobby of the Graeme Hall filly, who is owned by Alex
and JoAnn Lieblong. “She’s maturing
all the time, and getting bigger and stronger. Of course, beating
Dreaming of Julia is going to take some doing – she’ll probably have to
beat herself – but it’s a Grade 1 race and a small field, so why not
take a chance?”
Robby Albarado will ride Marathon Lady, the 5-1 third choice on the morning line, from the rail.
Completing the field is Darley Stable’s
State, who is 1-1-0 in four races this year.
The A.P. Indy filly, who broke her maiden on May 3, will be making her
first start on Lasix after finishing seventh in an optional claimer last
“Her last race looks worse on paper than it actually was,” said
trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. “We think she’ll improve off that. We’d be
over the moon to hit the board,
and this is too good of an opportunity to pass up.”
Irad Ortiz, Jr. will ride
State, 20-1 on the morning line, from post position 5.