Unchained Melody hits all the right notes in impressive G2 Mother Goose victory | NYRA
Stakes Recap
Jul 1, 2017
News Image
Robert Mauher Photo

Unchained Melody hits all the right notes in impressive G2 Mother Goose victory

by Brian Bohl and Michael Johnson

Unchained Melody handled the step up in competition with aplomb, going gate-to-wire in an impressive stakes debut to win the 61st running of the Grade 2, $250,000 Mother Goose for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on Saturday at Belmont Park.

Owned by Hidden Brook Farm and Hare Forest Farm, Unchained Melody broke sharp from post 2 and dueled Spanish Harlem and Vexatious for the race's early speed, going a quarter-mile in 23.62 seconds and the half in 46.62.
Jockey Joel Rosario maintained position out of the turn and drifted out heading home, fending off Lockdown's late bid before outkicking the favorite for a three-length score, hitting the wire in 1:42.45.
"She broke on top and I thought there was going to be somebody on the outside of me and so we could track for a bit but she was so comfortable," Rosario said. "I just let her sit where she was and she was going easy. She was enjoying the middle of the track, so I just kept her there where she felt most comfortable. I worked her in the morning the other day so I was able to get a feel for her and she moved very good."

Unchained Melody won for the third time in four career starts for trainer Brian Lynch, including her second straight victory at the Mother Goose distance. Off as the 2-1 choice, the Smart Strike filly paid $6.40 on a $2 win wager.
Unraced as a 2-year-old, Unchained Melody's only failure to visit the winner's circle came in a runner-up effort in her second race on April 21 at Keeneland against allowance company. With her stakes win, she more than doubled her previous career earnings, upping the total to $233,400.
Lynch said Unchained Melody will now target the Grade 1, $600,00 Alabama on August 19 at Saratoga Race Course.
"She's got such a high cruising speed and there didn't look like there was going to be a lot of pace in the race, so we hoped she'd get comfortable on the lead," Lynch said. "Not that those were slow fractions, she cracked out a half in 46, but she's tough to get by, obviously. 

"The Alabama would be the next step," he added. "We'll give her some time and set her for that. I think she's certainly stamped her card in that direction today."

Lockdown, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, was the runner-up in her first start coming in third in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks.

Moana, My Miss Tapit, Vexatious, Lights of Medina and Spanish Harlem completed the order of finish.

In Race 7, On Leave used a ground-saving trip to power her way to victory in the fourth running of the $100,000 Perfect Sting.

On Leave, under jockey Jose Ortiz, stalked the pacesetters on the firm Widener turf course as Ultimate Holiday took the field of eight through slow fractions of 24:13 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 48:23 for the half.

Turning into the stretch, the Shug McGaughey-trained 4-year-old filly moved through on the rail, holding off an outside bid from jockey John Velazquez aboard Off Limits to win by a neck, hitting the wire in 1:34.06.

"She trained good coming into this race," McGaughey said. "The other day I told Lina [Louriel, exercise rider] to let her ease away from the pole and let her go the last three-eighths of a mile, kind of a blow out on the grass, because I wanted to get a little more out of her with her second race coming off a layoff.

"It's been a slow spring, so hopefully this starts something good," he added. "I'll nominate her for the [Grade 1, $500,000] Diana [July 22] but also the [Grade 2, $400,000] Ballston Spa [August 26]. We'll see. She's ran good at Saratoga. She won a stake up there, so we have our options and [we'll] go from there," he added.

On Leave, a daughter of War Front owned and bred by Stuart Janney III, paid $5.50 for a $2 win wager. 

Chad Brown's three entries filled out the rest of the spots on the board, with Ancient Secret nosing out stablemate Conquest Babayaga for third. Ultimate Holiday, My Sweet Girl, Outsider Art and Ancient Goddess completed the order of finish.

All News Stakes Advance Stakes Recap Headlines Notes Features

More Stakes Recap