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Edgar Prado looks happy after winning aboard Bushfire in the Mother Goose Stakes.
The second Grade 1 event on the Saturday card at Belmont Park was the $250,000 Mother Goose Stakes. A field of seven three-year-old fillies went to the post in the 1 1/8 mile second leg of the New York Triple Tiara, which also includes the Acorn and the Coaching Club American Oaks. Kentucky Oaks winner Lemons Forever was sent off as the 5-2 favorite over Acorn winner Bushfire at 3-1 and Fantasy Stakes winner Ready to Please at 7-2.
Bushfire came out of the gate running and had the lead coming out of the chute after 1/4 mile in 23.86 before 8-1 shot Teammate took over the lead after a bad start. She took the field through a half in 46.64 and 3/4 in 1:11.11 as Bushfire continued to stalk her from the outside. At the top of the stretch Teammate tired from her fast early pace and dropped out of contention, allowing Bushfire to inherit the lead with a quarter mile to go. Through the stretch, Bushfire held off the late charge of 5-1 Pine Island to prevail by 3/4 length in a time of 1:49.86 over the fast track. It was just 1/2 a length back to Ready to Please in third, while Lemons Forever disappointed in fourth.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 2 Bushfire Prado 8.60 4.60 3.40 7 Pine Island Castellano 6.10 4.60 4 Ready to Please Velazquez 3.30 Winning Time: 1:49.86 $2 Exacta 2-7 73.50 $2 Trifecta 2-7-4 262.50
Bushfire and her trainer Eddie Kenneally take the walk down Victory Lane. Kenneally said, "Perfect ride. The filly is maturing and has more patience. She's just a consistent hard-knocking filly. She had to run her eyeballs out today to hold those fillies off. I think this race will definitely put her at the head of the division; she's beat everybody. I would have to think she's at the head of the division and, hopefully, we can keep her there. I think we're going to back off now and shoot for the fall. She likes Churchill Downs and we'd like to point her to the Breeders' Cup there. The Triple Tiara is very prestigious; I just wish the races were spread farther apart. We might run her in the Alabama and then possibly the Gazelle."
Bushfire in the post parade. Winning jockey Edgar Prado said, "I think the key to the race was the first quarter mile. She broke sharp, but she wasn't rank. She was relaxed and even when another horse came to us, she was still relaxed. She was waiting for me to tell her what to do. When I shook her up, she found another gear and went on with it."
Second place finisher Pine Island returns after the race. Her trainer Shug McGaughey said, "I was real happy with her race. It looked like a strange start for a couple of horses, but she was clear and she kept running and galloped out real good. There were some nice horses in there with a lot more experience. We'll see how she comes out, but this is only her second race off a long layoff, so, both the CCA and the Alabama are on the radar."
Third place finisher Ready to Please gallops out after the finish. Her jockey John Velazquez said, "I had to use her a little earlier than I wanted to. I had to go and put a little pressure on the leader because she was going so easy. We got to Bushfire at the quarter-pole, but I guess she didn't have enough."
Beaten favorite Lemons Forever leaves the paddock before the race. Her trainer Dallas Stewart said, "She broke cleanly. She kept grinding away and it looked to me that she was steadily trying to make up ground. But these one-turn races can be tough, and it might not be her thing. We'll consider the Coaching Club, but that one-turn is a factor. We will definitely look at the Alabama. That gives us a lot of time and two turns."
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