“I spoke to Saeed a day and a half ago and he said to carry on as if both fillies (Music Note and Little Belle) will run in the Alabama,” Mettee said. “The Travers is a million dollars and a classic race, and we do have Little Belle, who would be second choice in the Alabama. But Saeed has reservations about running Music Note in a big field of 10 to 12 horses. It’s not easy, even for a filly who has already run at a mile and a quarter. There’s a chance to make history, but (Godolphin) realizes it’s going to be tough for her. She’s not a robust filly; she’s more of a tall, lanky filly, which is another concern Saeed has. She’s lightly made, and although she has gotten bigger and stronger through the summer she’s still not robust by any means.”
Music Note, who originally carried the Darley Stable colors of Sheikh Mohammed, was turned over to the Godolphin stable after breaking her maiden by 7 1/4 lengths at Aqueduct last November for trainer Tom Albertrani.
Since then, the daughter of A.P. Indy has won an allowance race by seven lengths, the Mother Goose by 3 1/2 lengths, defeating favored Proud Spell, and the CCA Oaks by 11 lengths in a sharp 2:01 3/5 for the 1 1/4 miles. Other than her maiden score, all her starts have come at Belmont Park.
Mettee said Music Note had been shipped to their barn at Payson Park last November. “We have a quarantine facility there that we rent,” he said. “She was supposed to go to Dubai, but she got sick while in quarantine a week before she was to leave, so we took her out of quarantine and she eventually rejoined our stable at Belmont.”
If Music Note does run in the Alabama as expected, she will face off again with Proud Spell, who captured the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) early in the year and then rebounded from her troubled Mother Goose defeat with a victory in the Delaware Oaks (gr. II). Also providing competition will be Little Belle, winner of the Ashland Stakes (gr. I) and Busher Stakes and second in the Kentucky Oaks and CCA Oaks. Another daughter of A.P. Indy, Little Belle also ran in the colors of Darley, winning the Ashland and Busher in their familiar maroon and white silks before joining Godolphin. She previously had been trained by Kiaran McLaughlin.
“She absolutely need (the CCA Oaks),” Mettee said. We just kind of just stuck her in there at the end when we saw it wasn’t a big field. We gave her a couple of works and were pleasantly surprised she was able to get the mile and a quarter so well off the preparation she had. She’s a tough, hard-knocking filly who’s kind of a one-paced, grind-it-out type, and we feel she’ll move forward off that race.”
Bobby Frankel likely will send out Stonerside Stable’s Skylighter, who will be making her stakes debut. It took the daughter of Sky Mesa six races to break her maiden, but she has now won two in a row and is coming off an allowance/optional claiming score at Belmont Park July 10. Zayat Stables’ Mushka looked like a powerhouse when she inhaled her field in last year’s Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II), but has had only one start this year, a third in an allowance/optional claimer at Saratoga.
A possible starter is the Gary Contessa-trained Sweet Vendetta, who has not run since she won the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) May 16. The daughter of Stephen Got Even also won the Andover Way in the slop at Aqueduct back in March.