Ron Winchell's Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) victress Untapable continued her perfect season June 28, starting for the first time since her May 2 Oaks win and running away with the $300,000 Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park by 9 1/2 lengths (VIDEO).
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez replaced the injured Rosie Napravnik in the irons and had little to do from the far turn to the wire, as Untapable ranged up under her own power, took over from front-runner Princess Violet, and widened away to win by daylight. Final time for the 1 1/16-mile test was 1:41.48.
Velazquez had his hands full a few strides from the start, however, as Untapable was in close quarters from post 2 and nearly clipped heels with Princess Violet while that rival veered over when striking out for the lead. Steadied sharply, the 3-year-old daughter of Tapit was shifted outside by her expert rider and found running room in third about one length back of America, who pressed the pace through a quarter in :23.30 and a half in :45.95.
"I didn't hesitate at all; I got her out of there," Velazquez said. "After that, it was pretty easy. I put her into the clear, she settled really well, and it was a nice ride. I just kind of put my hands down and I was confident I could give her the opportunity she needed."
Untapable got her signal to go shortly thereafter and began a sustained bid around the turn for home through three-quarters in 1:09.65. She easily passed the leader entering the lane, and struck out on her own to gallop a mile in 1:34.57 while increasing her advantage to the line.
"I'm very pleased with her race today," trainer Steve Asmussen remarked. "I loved how quiet she was pre-race and in the paddock. She turned off right after a little trouble at the start and was pretty relaxed. She picked it up when she needed to and appeared to be looking around quite a bit in the stretch,
Based at Churchill Downs this spring, Untapable turned in her final pre-race move at the Louisville oval June 23, going four furlongs in :49 3/5 before shipping to New York to compete.
"It was her first time (at Belmont)," Asmussen said. "All of her previous victories had been where she was training, so I think that this was a pretty good step. I think she's a very special filly."
Bred in Kentucky by Winchell Thoroughbreds out of the Prized mare Fun House, Untapable improved her career total to six wins and a third from eight starts, with earnings of $1,304,725. Before taking the Oaks by 4 1/2 lengths earlier this season, she won the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) and the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (gr. III), both at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, for a combined 2014 win margin of 31 1/4 lengths.
Untapable was the 1-9 favorite in the field of five sophomore fillies and returned $2.10 and $2.10 to win and place, while Princess Violet held for second and brought $3.70 to place. There was no show wagering. Completing the order of finish were America, House Rules, and Aqua Regia, who jumped at the start and lost all chance.
Untapable is the third Mother Goose winner for Asmussen, who saddled Dreams Gallore in 1999 and took the 2009 edition with Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra. Velazquez has won the race six times; his previous triumphs came aboard Buster's Ready (2011), Devil May Care (2010), Octave (2007), Fleet Renee (2001), and Yanks Music (1996).
According to her trainer, Untapable's connections continue to maintain great interest in running her against males this year.
"There's definitely the thought of running her against the boys," said Asmussen. "I think that this was a very good obstacle for her, as far as shipping and running, because of how bad her Breeders' Cup was (8th in the grade I Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies). Maturity, time, confidence, how she acted pre-race in the paddock today, all of those are steps in the right direction, and it will be an interesting conversation with Ron after today's win."
Untapable will ship to Saratoga, which will be her summer base, June 30.
"The Coaching Club is a very lucrative race that is there, but I don't want to speak for Ron at this point," Asmussen said. "We're aware that the Haskell is (July 27) and the timing is excellent. It's nice to have a horse like her because you can consider races as good as these."