A field of six fillies passed the entry box for Saturday's Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park. The 1 1/8-mile contest features a who's who of 3-year-olds and marks the grade I debut of Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) winner Spun Sugar. She'll need to get by Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) star Summerly, though, if she is to take home top prize.
Adena Springs and Stronach Stables' homebred Spun Sugar was most impressive on Preakness Stakes (gr. I) weekend, driving to a 3 3/4-length win in the slop after being carried six paths wide. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the daughter of Awesome Again
enters the race off three straight wins in the clear along with a string stellar works over the Elmont, N.Y., track.
With rider John Velazquez in Virginia to guide the Pletcher-trained English Channel in the Colonial Turf Cup, the conditioner gives Javier Castellano the call for a trip from post three and a spot on the pace for her preferred stalking trip.
Looming out of post six will be Winchell Thoroughbreds' multiple graded stakes winner, Summerly. The daughter of Summer Squall proved she can handle the distance Oaks Day with a two-length score over In the Gold.
Bred in Kentucky by the partnership of T. F. Van Meter and Michael Lowenbaum, and conditioned by Steve Assmussen, the chestnut Summerly brought $410,000 at the 2003 Keeneland September yearling sale and has earned the Winchell outfit a $709,763 return on their investment.
In addition to the Oaks, Summerly was easily the best annexing the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) in March, and ridden out after a 3 1/4-length score in the Silverbulletday Stakes (gr. II) at Fair Grounds in February. Her only blemish in 2005 came in the Ashland Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland where she was no threat to divisional foe Sis City.
A bullet work (4f, Fast, 47.43, B, 1/41) at Belmont on Tuesday shows she likes the surface and is up to the task. Out of the Mr. Prospector mare Here I Go, Summerly has shown early speed in her wins and looks to be one to reckon with on the front. Asmussen gives Jerry Bailey, who was up for the Oaks, the mount.
Phipps Stables' homebred Smuggler was game in defeat earlier in the month over the track in the grade I Acorn Stakes, second to Round Pond. Never worse than second in five career starts, the daughter of Unbridled is looking for her first stakes win.
Trained by Phipps family regular Shug McGaughey, Smuggler is familiar with the Belmont surface and put up a fine work (5f, Fast, 59.92, B, 4/30) herself early in the week. She looks to be the primary threat to the top two. Edgar Prado also subbing for Smuggler's regular rider John Velazquez, gets the mount for a trip from post two.
Seeking the Ante, by Seeking the Gold
, Winning Season, by Lemon Drop Kid
, and Lady Pegasus, by Fusaichi Pegasus,
round out the field from the rail out.Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I), Saturday, June 25, 3-year-old fillies, 1 1/8 miles, $300,000, appx. post time 4:45 p.m. EST.
1 -- Seeking the Ante, Mike Luzzi
2 -- Smuggler, Edgar Prado
3 -- Spun Sugar, Javier Castellano
4 -- Winning Season, Eibar Coa
5 -- Lady Pegasus, Richard Migliore
6 -- Summerly, Jerry Bailey