When your older sister is a multiple Eclipse Award winner, you tend to come with expectations a bit more lofty than most. Perhaps these high hopes could say... prompt your connections to go straight from a maiden race to a grade 1 stakes test against one of the most highly regarded horses in the nation. Seems ambitious, but that is exactly what the connections of Royal Delta’s little sister, Carnival Court are considering with a possible date in Saturday’s Mother Goose, and a confrontation with none other than, Dreaming of Julia. To be fair, Darley Stable and Kiaran McLaughlin have pretty good reason to feel good about what they have in the dark bay sophomore filly.
The happy result of a Street Sense and Delta Princess rendezvous, Carnival Court did not show much in her career debut. The sloppy sprint at Gulfstream Park in April did not figure to be her thing, so the sixth place finish was not much of a discouragement. Brought back in late May, this time at Belmont Park, Carnival Court caught a fast track, and a little lightning in the bottle. Sent off as a chalky 4-5 choice in the field of five, the daughter of the 2007 Kentucky Derby winner looked like something quite special.
Winning as easy as she pleased, Carnival Court showed good speed and then proceeded to blitz the maiden special weight field to the tune of 12 3/4 lengths. Even with rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. sitting on her like a statue for much of the 1 1/16 miles, you got the feeling that the $650,000 that Darley shelled out for her as a yearling, was a potential bargain.
Now for the bad news. The horses she beat in that race, to be frank, do not look very fast. Dreaming of Julia, on the other hand, is very fast. The step up in class that Carnival Court will attempt, if she does indeed run in the Mother Goose, might require more of a high speed elevator than a stepladder. Because of this, I cannot in good conscience say that I expect her to be a major challenge to the likes of the Stonestreet star on Saturday.
So when the draw for the Grade 1 Mother Goose comes out for tomorrow, look for the name of the lightly raced, regally bred, Carnival Court. If she runs, hope for a somewhat competitive performance that validates her talent and future. As sporting as I am, and you’ll almost never hear me say this, I think I would prefer for her connections to take a pass this time, and get her just a little more experience before an undertaking like this.
Dreaming of Julia is just too much, too soon... capiche?