Dreaming of Julia Tops Compact, Classy Mother Goose
By Jenny Kellner | 06/19/2013 05:07 PM ET
Dreaming of Julia
The best performance by a 3-year-old this year may have come before Orb, Oxbow and Palace Malice divvied up the Triple Crown, when the filly Dreaming of Julia rolled to an eye-popping, 21 ¾-length victory on March 30 in the Gulfstream Park Oaks.
The victory earned the daughter of A.P. Indy a 114 Beyer Speed Figure, which not only ranks fourth in 2013 among all thoroughbreds at distances of 1 1/8 miles and beyond, but is tops among all sophomores, a full eight points better than the Triple Crown best, Oxbow’s 106 for his wire-to-wire Preakness win.
As the favorite in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, however, Dreaming of Julia endured a nightmare trip and finished fourth behind stablemate Princess of Sylmar, the first time in seven career starts she’d been off the board.
Saturday, Dreaming of Julia looks to regain her winning ways at Belmont Park, where she is the 1-2 morning-line favorite over four other fillies in the 57th running of the Grade 1, $300,000 Mother Goose.
“I don’t really think she lost any credibility in the Oaks because she was annihilated at the start, and if that wasn’t bad enough, she got stopped later in the race,” said trainer Todd Pletcher, who has won the Mother Goose four times, most recently in 2011 with Buster’s Ready. “I thought she ran very well in the race, considering everything she tried to overcome, and we’re hoping to get her back on course.”
A winner of both her starts at Belmont, including the overnight Meadow Star stakes and the Grade 1 Frizette as a 2-year-old, Dreaming of Julia drew post position 2 for the 1 1/16-mile Mother Goose. Her regular jockey, Hall of Famer John Velazquez, will ride.
Heading the challengers is Juddmonte Farms’ Close Hatches, a good second to Midnight Lucky in the Grade 1 Acorn at Belmont, which followed a seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks. Unraced at two, the First Defence filly won her first three starts, including the Grade 2 Gazelle at Aqueduct Racetrack, for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.
Joel Rosario will ride Close Hatches, the 7-2 second choice on the morning line, from post position 3.
Trainer Tom Albertrani, who won last year’s Mother Goose with Zo Impressive, returns Saturday with West Point Thoroughbreds’ Toasting. The Florida-bred daughter of Congrats is 1-0-2 from three starts this year, including a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan on May 17 at Pimlico Race Course when outfitted with blinkers.
“She ran a good race [in the Black-Eyed Susan], she was a good third,” said Albertrani, who sent Toasting out Wednesday morning for a four-furlong breeze in 49.96. “It looked like the blinkers helped a little bit and put her a little closer into the race, and she seems to have bounced back OK.”
At 12-1 on the morning line, Toasting will leave from post position 4 with Luis Saez aboard.
Coming in from the Midwest is Marathon Lady, seeking her first graded stakes score after a third and a pair of seconds, including a neck loss to Fiftyshadesofhay in Black-Eyed Susan.
“I think she’s progressing and moving forward with each race,” said trainer Steve Hobby of the Graeme Hall filly, who is owned by Alex and JoAnn Lieblong. “She’s maturing all the time, and getting bigger and stronger. Of course, beating Dreaming of Julia is going to take some doing – she’ll probably have to beat herself – but it’s a Grade 1 race and a small field, so why not take a chance?”
Robby Albarado will ride Marathon Lady, the 5-1 third choice on the morning line, from the rail.
Completing the field is Darley Stable’s Sister State, who is 1-1-0 in four races this year. The A.P. Indy filly, who broke her maiden on May 3, will be making her first start on Lasix after finishing seventh in an optional claimer last time out.
“Her last race looks worse on paper than it actually was,” said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. “We think she’ll improve off that. We’d be over the moon to hit the board, and this is too good of an opportunity to pass up.”
Irad Ortiz, Jr. will ride Sister State, 20-1 on the morning line, from post position 5.
The field for the Grade 1, $300,000 Mother Goose: