ELMONT, NY – Peter Brant’s Dunbar Road made the step back up to graded company in dominating fashion, running away in the end to win Saturday’s $250,000 Mother Goose Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park.
Breaking from the rail under Jose Ortiz as the 1/5 exorbitant favorite, Dunbar Road settled comfortably in mid-pack while Classic Fit posted opening fractions of :24.34, :49.13, and 1:14.34. Still in mid-pack but now racing in the two-path as the field turned for home, Dunbar Road was full of run and looking for a way to unleash it.
Swinging out four-wide at the top of the stretch, Dunbar Road commenced an impressive rally only under mild urging. Taking off in mid-stretch as she swept past Classic Fit, Dunbar Road finished the 1 1/16-mile event strongly. The Chad Brown trainee crossed the wire with a 2 1/2-length advantage in a final time of 1:43.54.
“With her being a young horse, she needs to get something out of it, and today was a perfect day because it was an easy race for her,” Ortiz said. “I knew with the amount of horse that I had, I was going to find something to work with. She was traveling comfortably and I felt like she was always there for me. When she got out of there, I was close to them and I just liked that she showed a good turn of foot. This will set her up for later.”
Classic Fit was clearly second-best, outkicking the third-place finisher Jeltrin by 4 lengths. It was a similar margin back to Cassies Dreamer in fourth, while Safta and Wings of Dawn both tired in the stretch run before completing the order of finish.
Dunbar Road’s win was her third in four career starts, with her lone loss coming in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) on March 30, her second career start. The 3-year-old daughter of Quality Road, purchased for $350,000 as a yearling, increased her lifetime bankroll to $257,900.
“I’ve never won this race before,” Brant said. “This is a first time for me. I’m very pleased with her. It’s very exciting. We’ve got a lot of nice horses in the barn and we’re proud to be producing in this great sport. I think she’ll go to Saratoga following this and we’ll see what happens up there.”
Dunbar Road returned $2.60 to win, $2.10 to place, and $2.10 to show. Classic Fit brought back $6.50 to place and $5.40 to show, while Jeltrin paid $2.80 to show.