Odds-on favorite Devil May Care took over from stablemate Katy Now at the top of the lane and bounded home for an impressive victory in the $250,000 Mother Goose (gr. I) (VIDEO) June 26 at Belmont Park in her first start since the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
The only filly in this year’s Derby, Devil May Care finished 10th after being in contention when turning for home but tiring in the final furlong back on May 1 at Churchill Downs. Cutting back to 1 1/16 miles in the Mother Goose, which had been run at 1 1/8 miles in years past, the daughter of Malibu Moon had no problem returning to her winning ways against 3-year-old fillies.
Todd Pletcher went to post with three of the five starters in the Mother Goose, including Katy Now, who set a solid pace in her stakes debut. The daughter of Tiznow clicked off opening fractions of :22.81, :45.59, and 1:09. 92 under Kent Desormeaux, with Connie and Michael pressing the pace.
Devil May Care was a stalking third through the backstretch and came up four-wide to challenge Katy Now approaching the far turn while still in hand under John Velazquez. She went by her stablemate with ease nearing the three-sixteenths-pole and sprinted clear from the field.
Connie and Michael, who had dropped back a bit nearing the quarter-pole, re-rallied gamely under Rajiv Maragh while ducking inside, but fell 1 1/4 lengths short of the winner. Biofuel, a three-time stakes winner making her debut on dirt, missed the break but came on strongly for third, one length behind Connie and Michael.
The final time on a fast main track was 1:42.06. Katy Now was fourth, followed by Pletcher’s other starter Ailalea.
“She broke a little sharp today, a little close to the pace," Velazquez said. "I didn’t want to be that close to the pace, but with blinkers on, she was very aggressive. I had to play with her down the backstretch, give and take a little bit. Down the lane, I let her do her thing, she took the lead, and it was good enough today.”
Owned by Glencrest Farm, Devil May Care won for the fourth time in seven starts. She won the grade I Frizette Stakes as juvenile at Belmont and earned her other graded stakes victory in the Bonnie Miss (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park in March. The bay filly has now earned $549,000.
"It was a big race from her, and I’ve always felt she was the best filly in her generation," said Pletcher, who celebrated his 43rd birthday Saturday. "She had shown us every sign (after the Kentucky Derby) that she was as good as she had ever been. She trained brilliantly, like she always does. Aside from losing a little bit of weight in the Derby like most horses, colts or fillies, will do, she came out of it really well. It was just a matter of making sure we gave her the proper time.”
Devil May Care was bred in Kentucky by Diamond A Racing and is out of the Red Ransom mare Kelli’s Ransom.
The winner paid $3.90, $2.70, and $2.10. The exacta (3-4) paid $16.40 and the trifecta (3-4-1) was $48.40.