Lights of Medina will look to build off 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, posting two wins, including a two-length score in her stakes debut in a victorious effort in 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 2-for-2, 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 by winning the Busanda and holding on for second-place behind Miss Sky Warrior in the Grade 2 Gazelle on April 8 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Lockdown is a full sister to champion Close Hatches, who captured this race in 2013.
Lockdown, whose first four starts came at the Big A, will get her first crack at Big Sandy in breaking from post 4 with jockey Jose Ortiz.
Unchained Melody will look to make an impression in her first stakes race. The daughter of Smart Strike has two wins and a runner-up finish in her three career starts, including her maiden-breaking debut on March 19.
Running the Mother Goose distance won’t be a new feat for Unchained Melody, who won at 1 1/16 miles on Big Sandy against optional claiming company on June 1. That effort earned her a 90 Beyer Speed Figure that is the highest any horse in the field has recorded.
“I’ve been very happy with the way she’s come into the race; she had a solid work on and I don’t think we could have her any better,” trainer Brian Lynch said. “We’re looking to see if she can step it up in her first stakes appearance.
“With her last win being at a mile-and-a-sixteenth, we think she’s probably better at the distance,” he added. “I look forward to Saturday. She’s in tip-top condition.”
Javier Castellano rode Unchained Melody in her first three starts but will be riding in Florida on Saturday, so Joel Rosario will pick up the mount from post 2.
Vexatious has produced competitive efforts in her last three starts – all graded stakes – including a fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks in which she was second heading into the stretch at Churchill. The Neil Drysdale-trainee also was third in the Grade 3 Fantasy and Grade 3 Fair Grounds Oaks. The daughter of Giant’s Causeway has raced three times at 1 1/16 miles, finishing third in each start.
Kent Desormeaux will be in the irons from post 6.
Rounding out the field is Spanish Harlem out of post 5 for trainer Danny Gargan.
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