Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Proud Spell will face just three foes in the Mother Goose (gr. I). <br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Proud Spell will face just three foes in the Mother Goose (gr. I).
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Jeffrey Snyder

Proud Spell Faces Only 3 in Mother Goose

The Kentucky Oaks winner goes for her fourth graded stakes victory June 28

A three-time graded stakes winner, including a dominating five-length triumph in the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) last month, Brereton Jones’ Proud Spell will face just three fillies in the $250,000 Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) June 28 at Belmont Park – none of them with any more than an allowance win to their credit.

Already with more than $1.2 million in earnings and five wins on her résumé, Proud Spell has never been off the board in eight lifetime starts. Aside from the Kentucky Oaks, she has racked up victories in the Matron (gr. II) and Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) and was runner-up twice to 2007 Juvenile Fillies champion Indian Blessing. Trained by Larry Jones, Proud Spell has been working steadily at Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland since taking the 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Oaks under Gabriel Saez. The Mother Goose is also a nine-furlong main track contest.

“She’s just been ultra-consistent, ever since we got her,” Larry Jones said. “In her training, she always found ways to keep up, and she’d win every work by a head or a neck. In her races, whenever Gabriel sets her down, she gets to work.”

Proud Spell is a daughter of Proud Citizen--Pacific Spell, by Langfuhr. She was bred in Kentucky by Brereton Jones. Saez will get the mount once more, breaking from post two.

Proud Spell will have to regress and one of her rivals will have to do some serious improving if an upset is to be sprung in the Mother Goose. None of the three contenders have ever won at a distance of more than a mile and only one, Never Retreat, has even tried a stakes event.

Jeff Singer’s Never Retreat was third, four and a half lengths behind, in the 1 1/16-mile Susan’s Girl Stakes June 14 at Delaware Park. Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, the Smart Strike filly will be making her fourth start. She won sprints in maiden special weight and allowance company earlier this spring. Alan Garcia will ride.

Roy and Gretchen Jackson’s Hamsa has also won in maiden special weight and allowance competition, the latter coming May 2 at Belmont Park while going a mile. The daughter of Fusaichi Pegasus  is trained by Barclay Tagg. She turned in a bullet work June 22 at Belmont, stopping the clock in :59.93 for five furlongs. Cornelio Velazquez retains the mount.

Godolphin Racing’s Music Note has been the most impressive allowance winner of the three challengers. The A.P. Indy filly scored by seven lengths May 22 at Belmont, drawing away with ease under Javier Castellano. That effort was her first since breaking her maiden last November at Aqueduct while in the barn of Tom Albertrani. Saeed bin Suroor now trains the well-bred filly, who is out of the Sadler's Wells mare Note Musicale.

With Indian Blessing having suffered back-to-back losses, Proud Spell is clearly atop the division and Jones hopes she will remain there for the rest of her 2008 campaign, which will include the Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) July 19 and the Alabama Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Aug. 16.

“Former Governor Jones and myself don’t think too far ahead,” Jones with a laugh. “We just want to get through this one first. A short field is capable of taking a lot of horses out of their game plan. (But) Proud Spell is plenty fast enough and is capable of handling whatever pace scenario comes up.”

$250,000 Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I, Race 8, 4:43 p.m.), Three-Year-Old Fillies, 1 1/16 Miles (Dirt)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Hamsa (KY), 121, Cornelio H. Velasquez
2. Proud Spell (KY), 121, Gabriel Saez
3. Never Retreat (KY), 121, Alan Garcia
4. Music Note (KY), 121, Javier Castellano