MOTHER GOOSE STAKES | 3-YEAR-OLD | FILLIES | GRADE 1 | 1 1/16-MILES
Ron Winchell's homebred Untapable moved her sophomore record to a perfect four-for-four on Saturday when taking the Grade 1, $294,000 Mother Goose by an easy 9 ¼ lengths with jockey John Velazquez in the irons for the first time.
The Steve Asmussen-trained filly settled into a perfect tracking spot outside of America as Princess Violet set a quick pace of :23 ⅕ seconds, :45 ⅘ seconds and 1:09 ⅗. America and Untapable kept in close contact with the leader, but the former couldn't keep up as Untapable went on to challenge Princess Violet entering the turn.
Untapable easily opened up in the lane, pulling away to finish 1 1/16 miles over Belmont Park's fast main track in 1:41 ⅖. Velazquez substituted for the Tapit filly's regular rider, Rosie Napravnik, who was injured in a training accident at Churchill Downs on June 15.
"She's been inside before," Velazquez explained. "The only concern I had was that another horse went left leaving the chute. I didn't hesitate at all. I got her out of there. After that, it was pretty easy. I put her into the clear, she settled really well, and it was a nice ride. I just kind of put my hands down and I was confident I could give her the opportunity she needed."
Untapable paid $2.10 as the heavy 1-9 favorite after show wagering was canceled.
"I'm very pleased with her race today," Asmussen stated. "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."
Princess Violet held second by a neck over America, who in turn had 3 ¾ lengths to spare on House Rules. Aqua Regia leapt in the air when the gates opened and never factored, coming in last.
Stopchargingmaria was scratched, reportedly in favor of running in the Grade 1, $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks on July 20.
Untapable has faced no real threats this year, opening her three-year-old campaign with a 9 ½-length victory in the Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds. She stayed at that New Orleans venue to take the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks by 7 ¾ lengths, then shipped to Churchill Downs for a 4 ½-length tour de force in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks. That made Napravnik, the only female rider to win the Kentucky Oaks, a two-time winner of the Run for the Lillies.
Untapable had to do without her regular jockey but that didn't stop her from running her career line to 8-6-0-1, $1,304,725, on Saturday. The bay Kentucky-bred miss captured her initial two starts -- a maiden and the Grade 2 Pocahontas -- at Churchill Downs as a juvenile, and closed out 2013 with a well-beaten eighth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and a much better third in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet.
"There's definitely the thought of running her against the boys. I think that this was a very good obstacle for her, as far as shipping and running, because of how bad her Breeders' Cup was. Maturity, time, confidence, how she acted pre-race in the paddock today, all of those are steps in the right direction, and it will be an interesting conversation with (owner) Ron (Winchell) after today's win," Asmussen noted.
"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 Grade 1, $ 1 million Haskell on July 27 at Monmouth Park) 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."
Untapable is out of the Grade 2-winning Prized mare Fun House, making her a half-sister to Grade 1-scoring millionaire and 2010 Kentucky Derby third-placer Paddy O'Prado. Her third dam is Carols Christmas, from whom a whole slew of black-type runners are descended. Among that group are Grade 1-winning millionaires and sires Olympio and Pyro; 2012 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile victor Tapizar; and Grade 1-scoring stallion Cuvee.
Others of note in this female family include Fun House's half-brother Early Flyer, a Grade 2-winning sire, and current Grade 1 vixen On Fire Baby.