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Mother Goose Stakes Preview: Tough Field Lines Up Searching for Important Win

Maryland Jockey Club

Lights of Medina will look to build off of her impressive graded stakes debut as part of a field of seven 3-year-old fillies in Saturday’s Grade 2, $250,000 Mother Goose on the Belmont Park main track.

One of three entrants for trainer Todd Pletcher, Lights of Medina rallied from eighth to finish second in the Grade 2 Black Eyed Susan last out on May 19 at Pimlico. Owned by Sumaya U.S. Stable, she has finished off the board just once in six career starts while posting two wins, including a 2-length score in her stakes debut, the Webster City Miss.

Lights of Medina, who made her first career start as a juvenile in Saratoga, is 2-2-0 in four starts as a 3-year-old. Feargal Lynch will ride from the inside post.

Her stablemate, Moana, will be making just her fourth career start. The Uncle Mo filly broke her maiden on April 14 at Keeneland and was promptly entered in the Black Eyed Susan for her first stakes race, where she finished fifth.

Moana, owned by Bridlewood Farm and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, will depart from the outside post with Hall of Famer John Velazquez.

My Miss Tapit, also trained by Pletcher, is two-for-two, including a win in the Game Face on April 22 at Gulfstream Park. Manny Franco will have the call from post 3.

Lockdown should be fresh after a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on May 5 at Churchill Downs. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Lockdown has never finished out of the money in her first five starts, going 2-2-1.

Owned by Juddmonte Farms, Lockdown posted a victory and a runner-up finish in her two starts as a 2-year-old and started her 3-year-old campaign with aplomb, winning the Busanda and holding on for second behind Miss Sky Warrior in the Grade 2 Hazelle on April 8 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Lockdown, whose first four starts came at the Big A, will get her first crack at Big Sandy from post 4 with jockey Jose Ortiz.

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Top Choice

#4 Lockdown – She’s all class, having not finished off the board in any of her five races. Last time out in the Kentucky Oaks, she put in a fantastic effort to finish third while only getting beat by 2 1/4 lengths. Only four horses have finished in front of her so far in her career, and all are solid fillies. She’ll be able to get a much better position in the race than what she got in the Kentucky Oaks, setting up nicely for her to stalk the speed while sitting fairly close. She’s ready to pick up her first graded stakes win and she’s found the field to do it against.

Horses to Use in Multi-Race Wagers

#1 Lights of Medina – A really tough-luck loser of the Black Eyed Susan last time out, she only lost by a head after looking like a winner for much of the stretch. She’s not an overly-talented filly, but she’s a very game horse who brings it every single time. The down side is that she was beaten in the Black Eyed Susan by a maiden, so just how good was that field? She’ll be a factor here, as this field didn’t come up extremely tough, but it’s perhaps a little more top-heavy than the Black Eyed Susan, so be hopeful and skeptical at the same time.

#6 Vexatious – She’s overdue to win one of these types of races. The story leading up to this one always seems to be the same in every race: she finds ways to get in trouble and finds ways to lose. Last time out, she was a fast-closing fourth in the Kentucky Oaks, only beaten a 1/2-length by Lockdown. She’s always coming with a run at the end, but she might be turning into a Lookin At Lee type that only does enough to hit the board. She’s got a shot again in this spot, so we’ll see if she can turn her fortunes around.

#2 Unchained Melody – She seems to be flying under the radar coming into this race but has quietly put together three straight solid efforts. After winning on debut, she was only beaten at Keeneland by 3 lengths in a really tough allowance field. Last time out, she tried allowance company again while also stretching out for the first time, defeating a very solid horse, Jamyson ‘n Ginger, by 2 lengths. Based on that race, she’s definitely ready to try stakes company, and this is the perfect spot to give it a go. She is vastly improving and looks ready to run big in a race like this one.

Exotic Plays

#7 Moana – Her race in the Black Eyed Susan last time out was a pretty solid effort, considering it was her first career stakes start, but it wasn’t anything to get overly excited about. She shows up here in a race that looks a little tougher than that one, so I don’t like her chances of actually winning. However, she’s classy enough to hit the board, and perhaps she’ll run better on a dry track, as the track at Pimlico last time out was a mess.

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Party Crashers

#3 My Miss Tapit – She could be a ringer, or she could be overmatched. There’s just no way of knowing what this horse is all about after only two career sprint races at Gulfstream Park. It’s a very good sign that Todd Pletcher has spotted her here, as she has several other options out there. As far as her breeding goes (daughter of Tapit), it’s fairly obvious that she should be able to go long, but she did look a little tired going only one turn in her last start. Watch the tote board and be smart about including her in some of your plays, but don’t rely on her heavily.

Throw Outs

#5 Spanish Harlem – What an extremely inconsistent horse. Who really knows what she’ll do here. For example, three races back, she lost the Busher Stakes by 23 3/4 lengths, followed that by winning a Belmont allowance by 29 3/4 lengths, and then she lost the Penn Oaks Stakes by 10 1/2 lengths. She’s up-and-down, to say the least.

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