Mother Goose: Stumble can't stop Music Note

ELMONT, N.Y. -- Proud Spell's return to the races didn't quite go as planned Saturday at Belmont Park.

The Kentucky Oaks winner stumbled badly at the break then was disqualified from second and placed third in the four-horse field.

Meanwhile, the $250,000 Mother Goose could prove to be a coming-out party for Music Note, who overcame a stumble of her own to win the Grade 1 race by 3 1/2 lengths. Never Retreat, who finished third, was elevated to second over Proud Spell. Hamsa finished last.

It was the third consecutive victory for Music Note, a daughter of A.P. Indy owned by Godolphin Stable and trained by Saeed bin Suroor, who was at Belmont from Dubai to saddle the filly.

Breaking from post 4 under Javier Castellano, Music Note stumbled badly at the break and wound up losing her right hind shoe. She raced three wide outside of pacesetting Never Retreat, who was getting pressure from Proud Spell, who had stumbled even more severely than Music Note at the break.

Castellano let his filly track Never Retreat through splits of 24.83 seconds, 48.66, and 1:13.09. Castellano took a quick peak over to his inside to see that Proud Spell was in tight along the rail and he asked his filly to run straightening away for home. She opened up a two-length lead in midstretch and cruised home an easy winner while covering 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.75. She returned $5.30 to win.

"I saw [Proud Spell] was in trouble in the race," Castellano said. "When I pushed the button, I took off. I didn't want to wait for anybody."

Suroor said Music Note would probably point to the Alabama at Saratoga on Aug. 16, but he didn't rule out a start in the Coaching Club American Oaks here July 19.

Meanwhile, Jones thought his filly had recovered sufficiently from the bad stumble to be in good position down the backside. But Saez got Proud Spell in tight and nearly touched the rail at the quarter pole. Saez got Proud Spell off the rail in deep stretch, but the filly was bearing out on Never Retreat, which led to the disqualification.

"You could tell instantly it wasn't supposed to be our day," said Jones, who said he was surprised that his filly was disqualified. "When we needed somewhere to go, it wasn't there and when it was there to go, we weren't going."

Belmont Park, 8th Race - June 28, 2008