Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey doesn't rush his horses into stakes races. So when Pine Island ran in the Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) after just two starts--granted two wins--is was clear he thought a lot of the daughter of Arch
Pine Island ran second in the July 1 Mother Goose, beaten less than a length by Bushfire, so she will be among the betting choices Saturday when Belmont closes its meet with the Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I).
The action will then shift upstate to Saratoga before returning for Belmont's fall meeting.
A field of nine 3-year-old fillies was entered today for the Coaching Club, contested at 10 furlongs and carrying a $300,000 purse. McCaughey has won the prestigious race twice, with Smuggler last year and in 1996 with My Flag.
A Phipps Stable homebred, Pine Island is out of the Seeking the Gold
mare Matlacha Pass. She will be ridden by Javier Castellano, who was aboard in her first three starts as well.
All starters will carry 121 pounds.
Another who should garner support at the windows is Sugar Shake, from the powerful stable of trainer Bobby Frankel. She is a Stronach Stables homebred. Though it took the daughter of Awesome Again
five starts to break her maiden, she did so impressively May 25 and then came back June 29 to win an optional claiming contest under wraps by 6 ½ lengths. John Velazquez has the mount.
Wonder Lady Anne L may be ready for a big effort. She finished fifth in the grade I Kentucky Oaks and was put up to fourth and then ran second in the Susan's Girl Breeders' Cup Stakes. Trained by Rick Dutrow and owned by IEAH Stables and Jachlen Farm, she is by Real Quiet
Speaking of the Kentucky Oaks, the winner, Lemons Forever, looks to rebound following a fourth in the Mother Goose. The Lemon Drop Kid
filly is owned by Horton Stable and trained by Dallas Stewart.
The field, in post order:
1) Teammate, Cornelio Velasquez
2) Lemons Forever, Mark Guidry
3) Miss Shop, Richard Migliore
4) Wonder Lady Anne L, Edgar Prado
5) Sugar Shake, John Velazquez
6) Baghdaria, Fernando Jara
7) Pine Island, Javier Castellano
8) Vague, Kent Desormeaux
9) Unbridled Belle, Ramon Dominguez