Rachel Alexandra will make her first start since her historic Preakness (gr. I) victory June 27 at Belmont Park, but her presence in the $300,000 Mother Goose (gr. I) isn’t scaring everyone away.
Trainer Mark Hennig has the Mother Goose under serious consideration for Alan Brodsky’s Don't Forget Gil, while Kiaran McLaughlin is also mulling a start in the nine-furlong race for West Point Thoroughbreds’ Justwhistledixie. Of the other 22 nominated to the race, Godolphin Stable’s Flashing and Edward P. Evans’ Malibu Prayer are considered probable.
“Mainly, she’s training well, and she loves Belmont,” said Hennig of Don’t Forget Gil, who broke her maiden impressively here last fall and went on to win the East View Stakes at Aqueduct and the Florida Oaks (gr. III) at Tampa Bay Downs. “She’s a pure route horse. Obviously, there’s Rachel Alexandra, but we’re going into the race with our eyes wide open. I’d rather race her here than ship elsewhere, and she could get a grade I placing if she’s lucky enough to hit the board.”
If the weather would cooperate, McLaughlin would be more committed to running Justwhistledixie, a multiple-graded stakes winning daughter of Dixie Union, in the Mother Goose.
“We’re trying to get a work into her,” said McLaughlin of Justwhistledixie, who had to scratch out of the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and was then second as the favorite in the grade I Acorn on June 6. “If we can’t, we’re up in the air.”
McLaughlin added that Stewart Armstrong’s Dream Play, winner of the Dearly Precious and Comely (gr. II), would warrant a start only if there were a small field.
“If there’s a three-horse field and a chance for black type, maybe,” said McLaughlin.