Mother Goose Stakes 2016: Odds and Analysis

June 29, 2016 01:03pm
Rachel's Valentina wins 2015 Spinaway
Photo: NYRA

In the past, the tradition rich Mother Goose Stakes has been won by such greats as Shuvee, Ruffian, Davona Dale, Mom’s Command, Go For Wand, Serena’s Song, and Rachel Alexandra. It remains to be seen whether any filly from this year’s cast will ever rise to those levels of greatness, but a number in the 2016 edition have the potential to take this Grade 1 race and run with the momentum. Half of the six-horse field exits making their presence known in the Kentucky Oaks, while another comes in off two straight stakes wins. Without further ado, let’s take a look at this group of three-year-old fillies, who will be looking for a big win at Big Sandy on Saturday.


Rachel’s Valentina 5-2 – Eight weeks ago, the Stonestreet Stables’ runner looked poised to join her famous mom as a winner of the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks. Sent off as a clear 5-2 favorite in the field of 14, the diminutive filly pressed the pace before coming up empty at the top of the stretch. Her sixth-place finish was a disappointment, but now she gets the chance to redeem herself after the only poor performance of her career. The daughter of Bernardini and Rachel Alexandra has been working steady and working well over the Belmont Park training track for her return engagement. Perhaps a bit rushed, and not quite at her very best on Oaks day, after a tough run in the Ashland in her first start of the year, a bounce back is fully expected on Saturday. In fact, she is my top pick. The One to Beat


Lewis Bay 2-1 – Another well-bred daughter of Bernardini also making her first start since the Kentucky Oaks, Lewis Bay has been a consistent runner since making her debut for trainer Chad Brown last September. Never once out of the money, she has a pair of Grade 2 wins to her credit already in New York. Both of those (Demoiselle and Gazelle) came at Aqueduct, rather than Belmont, however. In the Oaks, she loomed as a menacing presence at the head of the stretch, but her rail run was quickly denied by a better moving Cathryn Sophia. Solid every time out, the feeling here is she may not quite have the upside of the filly that she beat at Churchill Downs. If they both run their best, I will take Rachel’s Valentina. Classy Competition


Off The Tracks 7-2 – Any question as to whether this daughter of Curlin could both run with the big girls, or do well past sprint distances, were erased with her strong finish in the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes just three weeks ago, when she split the classy duo of Carina Mia and Cathryn Sophia. She has found another tough spot here, as she goes a sixteenth farther on Saturday. A repeat performance certainly puts her in the mix, but she was not getting to Carina Mia that day, and my guess is that she will have an equally tough time beating everyone again this time. I certainly respect her, but I want to see what she can do past a mile before jumping on the bandwagon. A Clear Threat


Lightstream 9-2 – Turf or dirt, it seems to matter little for this daughter of Harlan’s Holiday. A perfect three-for-three, the bay filly is already a two-time stakes winner, having accounted for the Beaumont and Soaring Softly in her last two starts. One on the main track at Keeneland, and one of the turf course at Belmont, the Mother Goose will represent her first attempt past the distance of seven furlongs. In both of those wins, she was able to come off the pace, but in this one she may need to be closer to the pace to have her best shot to win. While certainly a filly to watch out for in the future, it’s really hard to tell if she fits with fillies of this level, going the distance. Like the one above her, I am taking a wait and see approach. Stepping Up


Mo d’Amour 15-1 – Has proven to be a very nice filly for her King of Prussia ownership group. In the Kentucky Oaks, she was right in the picture with the best perfomers behind Cathryn Sophia, and actually finished ahead of Rachel’s Valentina. Interestingly, between the Oaks and this, she tried to turf in the Wonder Again Stakes. She faltered late that day, but back on dirt, she should run an improved race. I have my doubts as to whether that will be good enough to secure her first graded stakes victory, however. Not Without Merit


Mom’s On Strike 15-1 – She might be one of only only two in the field yet to win a stakes race, but like every filly in this field, she certainly has the potential for good things. After breaking her maiden at Oaklawn Park in her second career start for trainer Joe Sharp, she was thrown right into the deep end against graded stakes fillies in the Black-Eyed Susan. She was no match for Go Maggie Go on that afternoon, but ran better than her fifth-place finish might suggest, as she was only a half-length out of second. She finds an even tougher spot here, but if she can improve again, with the addition of blinkers, who knows. Lightly Raced

Linda Mimi 15 - 1 - A progressive sort from the barn of Gustavo Delgado, the daughter of Congrats has improved in each of her three lifetime starts. In her last, she looked good opening up by five lengths in the lane, before cruising home, while going the same trip she will see on Saturday. Having said that, she has never faced winners before, so the jump to Grade 1 company is a big one. She may have a nice future in front of her, but as far as the Mother Goose goes, it's probably asking a bit too much. Not Quite Ready for These


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Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, American Pharoah and Justify. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. His new racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, created the popular racing show, HorseCenter and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as hosting HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.

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