Rachel’s Valentina: disappointed down the field in fifth
PICTURE: Jessie Holmes / Equisport Photos
By Stuart Riley 1:01PM 3 JUL 2016
Report: USA, Saturday
Belmont: Mother Goose Stakes (Grade 1) 1m½f, 3yo fillies
MUCH like Germany in their Euro 2016 victory over Italy minutes earlier, Todd Pletcher found a way to win yet another Mother Goose.
Historical dominance meant both carried an air of inevitability into their respective shootouts on Saturday night. Both faltered, with the Pletcher-trained favourite Rachel’s Valentina never able to land a blow. But both got the job done.
Pletcher was responsible for three of the seven runners in the Grade 1 for three-year-old fillies, but it was the stable’s second string Off The Tracks – who led from start to finish and was not for passing – who gave the trainer a fourth Mother Goose in the last ten years, and a fifth overall.
“I was a little concerned going as fast as they were but she seemed like she was doing it comfortably, in a good rhythm,” Pletcher told ESPN. “I was happy to see her have something left to finish up with.”
The winner’s regally bred stablemate – a daughter of 2009 Mother Goose winner Rachel Alexandra – continued her disappointing form.
Having won her first two starts, including the Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes, she has now been beaten on her last four starts and jockey John Velazquez refused to use an early bump by eventual second Lewis Bay as an excuse.
He said: “She got back into a rhythm, she was going well, halfway down the backside I put her in the clear and that was it, she didn’t have anything to respond with. If it was the stumble you’d know right away, but she was running well.”