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Zo Impressive takes her walk down Victory Lane after winning the Mother Goose Stakes.
The $300,000 Mother Goose Stakes (G1) features top 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles around one turn of the Belmont Park main track. Just five fillies went to post on Saturday afternoon under sunny skies before the 6,490 fans in attendance, with Contested as the 1-2 favorite off a 4 race winning streak including the Eight Belles (G3) and the Acorn (G1). In to challenge her included Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) and Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Believe You Can at 5-2, and 6-1 third choice Zo Impressive, second in both the Acorn (G1) and the Gulfstream Oaks (G2).
Zo Impressive and Disposablepleasure brush in the stretch
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 5 Zo Impressive Maragh 14.60 6.60 10.00 3 Disposablepleasure Dominguez 5.90 10.20 1 Believe You Can Napravnik 5.20 Winning Time: 1:44.28 $2 Exacta 5-3 95.00 $2 Trifecta 5-3-1 245.00
Left: Zo Impressive in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Tom Albertrani said, "Going into the race, she was very sharp. We had a great post and everything worked out exactly as we planned. We wanted to be in a position where we could eyeball Contested, you know, be just sitting off her and everything just worked out beautifully. You could definitely see she was a lot more focused today going into the race, that's what probably made a difference. Timing means everything, and she was training well coming into this race so that meant a lot."
Right: Zo Impressive returns after the race. Albertrani added, "It wasn't a big field but it was probably the four best fillies you've got in the country right now, so that's what made the race pretty special. We always had confidence in our filly, and she was just very sharp today and gave us a lot of confidence going into the race. She came out running and she's so easy to place, that Rajiv just took her back as planned, just to give her a target and wait, wait, wait until the right time."
Left: Zo Impressive heads out of the paddock. Jockey Rajiv Maragh said, "Maybe the biggest difference was the Acorn had a very speed-favoring track, and Contested got an uncontested lead. Several horses gave her more respect and put on pressure, and that help me beat her. The pace was a little hot (in the Acorn) and they got away from me more than I wanted. I had too much ground to make up. We wanted more of a tracking position today."
Right: Zo Impressive circles during the objection. Albertrani added, "I don't think (more distance) should hurt her any, we'll see when we get to Saratoga with two turns again, try to stretch her out to 1 1/8 (Coaching Club American Oaks). We're just happy to get the Grade 1, that's important, and as long as she comes out of the race healthy, that's really what we want."
Left: Second place finisher Disposablepleasure in the post parade. Her trainer Todd Pletcher said, "I was looking forward to stretching her out to 1 1/16 miles. It was a lot different track than we saw on Acorn day. She'd been training very well and I wasn't surprised by the way she ran."
Right: Third place finisher Believe You Can returns after the race. Her trainer Larry Jones said, "It's my Mother Goose jinx – I've never had any luck in this race. I was second with Joyful Victory last year, Proud Spell didn't win (2008), and neither did Island Sand (2004). I think maybe next time we'll skip the Mother Goose and go straight to the Coaching Club American Oaks."
Last place finisher and beaten favorite Contested in the paddock before the race. Jim Barnes, assistant to trainer Bob Baffert said, "I think the track she ran on in the Acorn was just a much different track. This was kind of wet down deep inside and kind of a dead track, didn't look like it had life to where they were bouncing over it. She looked to be running fairly easy early, but I knew at the top of the stretch that we were in serious trouble." Jockey Javier Castellano added, "I'm not disappointed with the way race unfolded. She made the lead. At the 1/4 pole, I was dead. I didn't have a horse. It really surprised me because she had been working so good. It could be the track. I was inside, and the track is very deep inside."
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