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Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
A New York State of Racing

Untapable Romps in the Mother Goose

Untapable continued her unbeaten 2014 by easily winning the $300,000 Mother Goose (G1) at Belmont Park. Earlier this year the Steve Asmussen-trained three year-old filly won the Rachel Alexandra (G3) and the Oaks (G2) at the Fair Grounds in Louisiana, and then the Kentucky Oaks (G1) during Derby weekend at Churchill Downs.

The early scratch of morning line second choice Stopchargingmaria left a field of just five horses in the Mother Goose. None of the other four fillies had a stakes win to their credit, although House Rules and America were both graded stakes placed.

Untapable’s dominant victory answered any questions that handicappers had about the almost two month layoff going back to the Kentucky Oaks or about the somewhat slow workouts she had turned in while training at Churchill Downs. In today’s post parade Untapable looked dry, composed, and full of energy.

Jockey John Velazquez was up on Untapable for the first time replacing regular rider Rosie Napravnik who was nursing a shoulder injury from a morning workout spill at Churchill Downs. The race began with a scare, as Velazquez had to hard check Untapable not far from the gate when the early leader Princess Violet suddenly angled over into her path.

Untapable seemed unfazed by the incident and settled down very nicely. After the first quarter went in :23.30, she sat in third place in the three path going down the back stretch. After the half-mile in :45.95 she began to move up, easily taking over second and moving to the shoulder of Princess Violet. After three quarters in 1:09.65 and a mile in 1:34.57 Untapable cruised to her easy win. Track announcer Tom Durkin described her as, “Poetry in four-legged motion.”  The final time for the mile and a sixteenth was 1:41.2.
Asmussen was very happy after the race, "I'm very pleased with her race today. I loved how quiet she was pre-race and in the paddock. She turned off right after a little trouble at the start and was pretty relaxed. She picked it up when she needed to and appeared to be looking around quite a bit in the stretch, but it was her first time [at Belmont]. All of her previous victories had been where she was training, so I think that this was a pretty good step. I think she's a very special filly." 

Untapable paid $2.10 to win after being bet down to 1/9 from $172,000 out of the $224,000 in the win pool. She also paid $2.10 to place. The bridge jumpers were out in the place pool where $867,000 out of $913,00 was bet on Untapable.

With every performance Untapable looks more and more impressive and we now get to wonder what is next for the stellar daughter of Tapit? Will owner Ron Winchell make a run at the Horse of the Year title? If so Untapable would most likely need a win against the boys. Inside sources at Monmouth Park have stated that they would make a very serious play to get her to run in the $1,000,000 Haskell on Sunday, July 27th.

The Haskell scenario would be a familiar one for Asmussen. Of course in 2009 he beat the boys at the Jersey Shore with Rachel Alexandra as she went on to be named Horse of the Year that season.
About what's next for Untapable, Asmussen said, "There's definitely the thought of running her against the boys. She'll ship up to Saratoga to train on Monday. [The Coaching Club American Oaks] is a very lucrative race that is there, but I don't want to speak for Ron at this point. We're aware that [the Haskell] is there and the timing is excellent. It's nice to have a horse like her because you can consider races as good as these." 


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Older Comments about Untapable Romps in the Mother Goose...

That picture of her on the scroll sure looks like she has "it". Did she even break a sweat in the Mother Goose? Wow.
I hear you Jay. I in turn, have see Untapable, whom I call Monster (with affection) twice in person. First time she walked by me, I gave her the name. She has "it". I'd love to see CH in person.
This year at Oaklawn I was fortunate enough to see WTC, Revolutionary, Danza, and Close Hatches. No need to comment about Will. Was very impressed with Rev. Was SUPER impressed with Danza...WOW! But was most impressed by Close Hatches. Untapable may be the real deal, no doubt...but until I see her beat Close Hatches I will never believe she can be Close Hatches.
I think it will only go against her if she wins the year until the distaff beating elders in the Beldame and then lose the distaff
Mallios never did I say it was the reason she lost? But thNks for assuming
The so called "Track bias" was probably the least of the reasons Untapable ran bad in the BC over the Santa Anita track. First of all she was making only the 3ed start of her career.She wasn't anywhere near the same quality Racehorse then ,that she is now. The comparisons are not even in the same area code. 2nd reason is that it was the first time she ran without Lasix. Very important to her. 3rd and might be the most important,she was checked up to avoid the accident ,the one i believe took the life of 1 or maybe more fillies. The Distaff should be their absolute main goal. If Assmussen were smart and he wants an absolute monster as a 4yo. Just give her 2 more starts before The Distaff. Run her in the Alabama and the race at Belmont on JCGC day. She already showed that she can handle an extensive layoff. Why not have her at peak and optimum performance level for all the remaining races.
Ekindy- what makes you suggest she will run in the distaff? She ran the worst race of her life at Santa Anita and was the only time she finished out of the money. With how bias that track was, and no one knowing what the new surface will be like- if she is still undefeated by then and wins the Beldame then I think they should skip the distaff and not have a princess repeat of last year where they lose three year old honors
I'd say put her in the Del Cap, but that is only two weeks away (if she had done the Acorn that would have been possible). Beyond that you've got the Personal Ensign, but by that point they may as well see how she handles 10f in the Alabama. That means waiting until the Beldame to move her up in class, which is the traditional race the top 3YO fillies make the jump. I would not run her in both July and August, a rest before the final BC prep would be a good idea. So basically I would say either the Coaching Club or the Haskell or the Alabama, then Beldame then BC Distaff then a nice winter's rest. I would go with the Alabama, because going against the boys is too risky if you want her good next year and because she's already proven herself at 9f.
quote: They went for the jugular in THe Woodward against older Males. She WON. and was never the same as her hide was filleted 24 times down the lane.....GUTTED never to return. I sent to Oaklawn to have a program in the showdown but since she would have been openly embarassed in the Apple Blossum, her connections wisely kept some of the patina extant.
I totally agree with Tom. She's a wonderful filly and I sure don't want what happened to Rachel to happen to her. This year if she wants more competition than the other 3 year old fillies have there are the 3 great 4 yr. old girls. If she beats them she will be best filly/mare. As far as the boys Palace Malice, Chrome and a few others would probably be too much but if some of them have losses and she does not she could still be considered for HOTY. Hope to see her back in top form next year.
Danny if all they wanted was a potentially Amazing 3yo filly,that would be the formula. By doing the same thing,he already basically destroyed the best female horse of this Century>>>>Rachel Alexandra. Beating the 3yo colts in The Preakness and Haskell was not enough. They went for the jugular in THe Woodward against older Males. She WON. But what was the cost>>>>Her Career. She did not come back after that. Threw in 2 Lemons as a 4 year old and then they pulled the plug. Ask Todd with Rags To Riches and Unlimited Budget how great a plan down the line that is. I have to laugh at you and others on HRN. On one hand the accolades flow about Beholder,P.O.S and Close Hatches. They are considered greats. Yet Untapable has not beaten them yet,and we want to skip over them and possibly try The Boys in The JCGG. Talent is nowhere to be compared. Funny though about Ria Antonia. Most are calling her owners the Ass Holes of the Century for trying the boys. Yet after she was Awarded the BC Jeuvenile(in respect to Anne Shaw,i will not say won) Most were cheering them ,that they were going to aim for the Derby. I was accussed of not liking her,and not knowing what i was talking about. This filly although extremely fast(arguably the fastest 3yo filly in the last 15 years)does not have Rachels syntelating early speed. She does not look that big on TV. She would get roughed up by the boys .
I usually don't care for Beyer figures but I actually agree with this one. Untapable beat nothing today and it would have been embarrassing if she didn't romp.
  • Mike Relva · Hey! Glad to know you're horse won yesterday......great! Will you tell Myrtlewood hello for me? I'm banned. · 1206 days ago
hannah, thanks for the sanity. i love this filly and today was very impressive, but who did she beat? allowanace/maiden winners. and i'm not trying to take anything away from her win, just pointing out the facts. i think she can hold her own against her elders (no romping there), but until it happens i will reserve judgement.
  • Mike Relva · She can only run against who they have in the gate. I'm impressed with her,just don't care for her trainer. · 1206 days ago
If she is good enough, then why not chase HOTY. Hence why I said if she were to win the Haskell dominantly. She's unbeaten. If she looked good in the Haskell, then why not take on older for a chance at HOTY? There are a lot of ifs, but if she didn't do well in the Haskell or was all out, I wouldn't suggest it then. "To chase and overrated HOTY Trophey" would not be the only reason, because like i said, I would only do so IF she won dominantly, which would indicate that she is capable and ready. The Award if won once, IMO is not a huge deal, unless it is given to a filly, because in that case it recognizes that the filly had an incredible season. Busher and Twilight Tear both beat males multiple times and were the only three year old fillies to win HOTY until RA, who became the third. If the Award is won multiple times, like with Forego, Kelso, Wise Dan or Curlin, it again, IMO shows just how great they were. That they were not one hit wonders, that they were able to stay at the top of their game, stay consistently great over a long period of time, which is not easy at all, especially when you constantly are facing top level horses. You also have something special if a 3yr old colt is to win the HOTY. Why, because he was able to take on and defeat the best of his elders, something not accomplished a lot, at the top level. Triple Crown winner Affirmed could not even do it when he face, older Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew. The reason the award has lost much of it's luster is not because it's overrated. It's because the lack of brilliance, sustained brilliance, during the last few years. It has been won by horses with safe and boring seasons, the last few years, when it used to take a season of great merit to take it. This year I believe we'll see that happen. Chrome has a chance, if he were to take the Awesome Again and Classic. He would have a season of five grade one wins, two thirds of the Triple Crown, wins over his elders twice and a BCC victory. He'd be the first three year old to win the Award since 09, I believe. The first three year old colt, since 07. If Palace Malice wins, it will most likely be due to the dominance he has show during a fantastic season. He is being aimed to the Whitney, Woodward, Gold Cup and Classic. If he wins HOTY, it is likely because he ended the year unbeaten, with wins from a mile to 10f in grade one company, with a total of five grade one wins under his belt. For Untapable to win, she would have to do something amazingly special, like win the Haskell and Gold Cup, and that would be deserving of the recognition. For she would have four grade ones, two against colts, one against older males and while going 10f. This year has the potential to give us a HOTY, with a season truly worthy of winning the award. Do not blame the award for the lack of brilliance of it's recipients. It is not responsible if there is a year where the horses competing give us less than what we are used to seeing.
Beyers have nothing to do with the competition. They are strictly based on time comparisons with track variants applied. Just because a superior horse wins easily against modest competition doesn’t mean anything in Beyer terms unless the time is super fast, which Untapable’s wasn’t. Until you know what the track variant was yesterday you can’t make a definitive argument whether the Beyer was fair or not. There weren’t many races on dirt to get the truest indication of how the main track was playing, but we did have a 7F MSW in 1.22 1/5 (three year best time 1.20 4/5); and optional claimers run a mile in 1.34 1/5 (three year best time in 1.32 4/5) and which compares to Untapable’s a mile in her race in 1.34 2/5). Untapable’s 8.5F time of 1.41 2/5 is well off the three year best time of 1.39 4/5…….When going back to Super Saturday, Sweet Reason won the Acorn in 1.34 4/5 and got a 92 Beyer. Close Hatches won the Ogden Phipps in 1.40 2/5 (one second faster than Untapable) and only received a 102 Beyer. According to the Beyer charts a one second difference on a one turn 8.5F race is 10 (not counting variants, which we don’t know what the variant for yesterday was yet). This BSF of 94 seems about right. It would have been the same if she would have won this race by a nose or 20 lengths if the time was the same.
If I were her owner/trainer, I would race her in the Haskell because it looks like it will come up weak this year. If she wins, then I would take her against older mares instead of the Travers. I would definitely not take her to the BC though, after her poor showing last year on the service
If the Assmussen / Winchell connections feel that she is ready and capable to take on the Boys. Then be my guest. Just don't do it for such a silly reason as to chase the overated HOTY Trophy. I am still curious,what exact benefit does this Award carry. Outside of HRN(where people are predominately fans than anything else) that is a compliment-before someone decides to take a shot. Nobody even mentions the Award. Other than the obvious Wise Dan (who stole the Award 2 years in a row) i would love to put people to a test and name me the last 5 winners. Yes with the aid of Google or Yahoo,i to can bring them up immediately. My point,it does not help in Breeding,nor is there any financial reward. Just idle chatter before and maybe 10 hours after the award is given out. Thankfully this Award means nothing to Trainers during the course of the Racing Srason. I wonder how many more horses would break down chasing the Holy Grail.
If they want to make a play for Horse of the Year, if I were her connections, i would not take her to the BC to do it. She did not take to the surface last year, and who knows what the knew stuff will be like, especially after they soup that up for BC weekend. From here, I'd run her in the Haskell. If she wins and is dominant in doing so, then I'd turn my sights to the Jockey Club Gold Cup. It is a one turn 10 furlong race. That fact has helped several horses with distance concerns get the extra distance. Not saying she has concerns or not, but she has never run that far and that would be the best place to try it. It gives her a few more weeks to grow and mature, as opposed to running in the Woodward, too. If she wins, and it's over Palace Malice, currently the best in training, it is very likely that she wins HOTY, even if he wins the Classic. Is it a gamble, yes, but if she wins the Haskell, she already has her division in the bag, so why not take a risk and go for the gold?
I guess that based on the info in the article, no minus pool was realized in the Win pool, but their normal takeout pct probably wasn't realized. The Place pool really cut it close, as to the track realizing a loss. All in all, you don't normally see the parimutuels even come close to losing money.

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Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.


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The best way to get to know Matt is to check out some of his favorite articles from the past couple years.

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