Stellar Jayne kicked away from even-money favorite Ashado in the final furlong to register a huge 2 1/2-length surprise in the $300,000 Mother Goose (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park.
Ridden expertly by Robby Albarado, Stellar Jayne was able to enjoy tepid early fractions while racing on the inside of Ashado and John Velazquez, who held a slight lead most of the way, before pulling away from the field . She completed the one-turn 1 1/8-mile event in 1:48 on a track that was upgraded to "fast" just before the race.
"She didn't break that alertly so I jumped on her right away," Albarado said. "Then she put herself in the race and from there on she was comfortable up the backside. Ashado ranged up to her and it looked like (John Velazquez) had a lot of horse so I said 'you know what, I'm going to ride her from here.' Turning for home, she just exploded. She ran great."
Island Sand, who fought jockey Terry Thompson down the backstretch, lacked any response in the lane after making a three-wide move on the turn and finished third, 4 1/4 lengths behind the winner.
Trained by D. Wayne Lukas for owners Spendthrift Farm, Nancy Cole, Charles Kidder and Nick Strong, the gray filly paid $61.50, $12.60 and $4 and keyed a $146.50 exacta. Lukas won his sixth Mother Goose. He last scored in 1995 with Serena's Song following wins with Open Mind (1989), Fiesta Gal (1987), Life At The Top (1986) and Life's Magic (1984).
Stellar Jayne was seventh behind the winning Ashado, beaten by 10 lengths, in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) April 30. She bounced back from the performance with a 3 1/2-length win in the Dogwood Breeders Cup (gr. III) June 5 at Churchill Downs. Ashado was making her first start since taking the Oaks impressively.
Lukas' assistant, Peter Hutton, said Stellar Jayne had hinted of a big effort following her break-out win in the Dogwood.
"Wayne expected her to be in the first three," Hutton said. "Obviously coming in, you don't expect to beat Ashado, but as well as she was doing, she had to have a shot."
Ashado inherited the early lead when no one else wanted it and she and Stellar Jayne on her inside took the compact field through fractions of :23 4/5, :47 and 1:10 4/5. Island Sand, held up toward the rear of the six-horse field but only three lengths off the pace, fought her way into contention when finally unleashed, but she could not go with the leaders through the long Belmont stretch.
Ashado returned $2.90 and $2.20 and Island Sand was $2.60 to show.
Miss Coronado, Daydreaming and Society Selection completed the order.
Stellar Jayne, a daughter of Wild Rush–To the Hunt (by Relaunch), was bred in Kentucky by Wind Hill Farm and sold at Fasig-Tipton in November 2001 for $150,000.
She won for the fifth time in 13 lifetime starts and increased her career earnings to $446,551.
Hutton said the $500,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I), the second leg of the Triple Tiara series at 1 1/4 miles July 24, would be a likely target for Stellar Jayne.
Ashado's trainer Todd Pletcher said she was tired at the end and she should be sharper for the Coaching Club American Oaks.
"She hadn't run since April 30," he said. "Hopefully this will move her forward for the next one."
Larry Jones, trainer of Island Sand, said, "Terry (Thompson) said she was making a lot of racket breathing. When she cools out, we'll get her scoped and see what we have. Terry said he had a lot of horse and then she just quit. There's a real good shot she's entrapped or displaced. That's something we can fix."
The Alabama at Saratoga on Aug. 21 is the final leg of the New York Racing Association's filly triple.