What to watch for: Dunbar Road leads Mother Goose probables

June 24, 2019 11:44am
What to watch for: Dunbar Road leads Mother Goose probables
Photo: Chelsea Durand/NYRA

After Guarana’s breakout victory in the Acorn (G1) on Belmont Stakes day, trainer Chad Brown is expected to send another highly regarded but lightly raced filly postward Saturday in the Grade 2, $250,000 Mother Goose Stakes.

Peter Brant’s Dunbar Road, who moved her record to 2-for-3 in a local allowance score on May 30, leads Mother Goose probables provided by the New York Racing Association’s stakes coordinator, Andrew Byrnes.

A daughter of Quality Road, Dunbar Road broke her maiden on debut March 3, then went straight into the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), finishing second. She failed to make the body of the Kentucky Oaks field on points but would have been the second morning line choice.

The $350,000 filly needed a race after that, and Brown chose to prep for the Mother Goose in that 1 1/16-mile allowance. Dunbar Road won by a widening 5 1/2 lengths under jockey Jose Ortiz, with Brant saying she “did everything right.”

So there’s your favorite ahead of Wednesday's entry deadline. Who’s up for the challenge?

Jeltrin, third in the Acorn, is listed as a contender by Byrnes, as is Espresso Shot, a New York-bred who won the Busher Stakes earlier this season. But with off-the-board finishes since then, trainer Jorge Abreu has said Espresso Shot’s final work needs to be up to par to enter.

Some up-and-comers are next on the list.

Mark Casse-trained Wings of Dawn opened her career with a pair of flat efforts on the turf but has since gone back-to-back over Woodbine’s synthetic, most recently defeating winners on May 19. The $600,000 filly runs in the familiar John Oxley colors.

Michael Stidham has Classic Fit, away since winning the Dec. 8 Hut Hut at Gulfstream Park, on the list as well. The Godolphin homebred daughter of Bernardini has won three straight since her defeat on debut and is working consistently at Maryland’s Fair Hill training center.

Two others to mention have been defeated in races of similar class to the Mother Goose in the past. But both the Barclay Tagg-trained Cassies Dreamer (May 5 allowance) and Dermot Magner-trained Safta (May 30 maiden) prepped for the Mother Goose with local wins.

Diverse cast for the Queen’s Plate

Woodbine’s $1 million kickoff to the Canadian Triple Crown series doesn’t appear to have in its prospective field a superstar. But contenders are coming from all over to go 1 1/4 miles on the synthetic in Saturday's Queen's Plate.

Winter book favorite Avie’s Flatter had connections thinking Kentucky Derby trail, but they elected to go on turf instead, winning Keeneland’s Transylvania (G3) to open the season. Perhaps the Flatter colt gets a pass for failing to fire in Churchill Downs’ American Turf (G2) on a soggy Derby day.

Steve Asmussen-trained Tone Broke hasn’t won since his juvenile season at Remington Park. But he was among the barn’s runners to winter in Dubai, running twice there before returning to be second by 2 1/2 lengths to King for a Day — the horse that went on to beat Maximum Security — in Pimlico’s Sir Barton.

One Bay Boy will be in from California for trainer Richard Baltas. He hasn’t missed the board in four starts and, back in February, has a notable appearance on his past performances in the form of a second to Omaha Beach. Last out, he was a runner-up over synthetic in Golden Gate Fields’ Alcatraz.

Of course, top Woodbine trainer Casse will be involved Saturday. He has a more local contingent, with Afleet Alex colt Skywire a winner of the May 25 Marine Stakes (G3) and Federal Law, by Scat Daddy, second in the June 8 Plate Trial. Both ran over the winter at Turfway Park.

Fourteen in all are considered probable for the Queen’s Plate according to Woodbine Communications with the Highlander (G1) at six furlongs on turf, King Edward (G2) at a mile and Dance Smartly (G2) at 1 1/4 miles all on the undercard.
Summit of Speed standout

Gulfstream Park’s Saturday program is led by a Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint automatic qualifier, the Grade 2, $250,000 Princess Rooney. And it appears defending winner Stormy Embrace will be back in the mix to headline the race.

Kathleen O’Connell trains the 5-year-old mare, who won last year’s Princess Rooney by six lengths. While off the board in the Breeders’ Cup, she has been second in the Dec. 15 Sugar Swirl (G3) and third in the more recent Hurricane Bertie (G3) since then.

O’Connell has also nominated the familiar Well Defined — off since finishing eighth in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) — for the $75,000 Carry Back, a seven-furlong undercard sprint. Two starts ago, the gelding won the Sam F. Davis (G3) on the front end.


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