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Dreaming of Julia photo courtesy of Bob Coglianese Photos/Gulfstream Park

By Ellis Starr – National Racing Analyst for Equibase

The 57th running of the $300,000 Mother Goose Stakes brings together a field of just five fillies, three of them with wins or near-wins in important 3-year-old stakes races this spring. Leading the field is Dreaming of Julia, who disappointed as the favorite when finishing fourth in the Kentucky Oaks last month following a dominant 21 3/4-length win in the Gulfstream Park Oaks in March. Close Hatches is another who disappointed her backers in the Kentucky Oaks when she never mounted a rally and finished seventh. She rebounded somewhat since then when second in the Acorn Stakes and may be approaching the top form that saw her win the Gazelle Stakes prior to the Oaks. Marathon Lady has yet to win a graded stakes, but with a neck defeat in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes last month and a narrow loss by a nose in the Bourbonette Stakes in March she is another solid contender. Toasting and Sister State round out the quintet and are both seeking the first stakes wins of their careers.

Marathon Lady ran too good to lose last month in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes as she rallied from off the pace to open up by 3 1/2 lengths with an eighth of a mile to go, only to be run down in the last few strides by Fiftyshadesofhay. Earning a 98 Equibase Speed Figure that is one point shy of her career-best figure earned two races prior to that when beaten a nose in the Bourbonette Stakes, Marathon Lady has potential to improve significantly and post the mild upset in this year’s Mother Goose Stakes.


Fiftyshadesofhay HERO

Photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Close Hatches won the first three starts of her career, the first from far back and the second and third leading from start to finish. Her best effort of the three races came when defeating eventual Kentucky Oaks winner Princess of Sylmar in the Gazelle Stakes with a career-best 103 Equibase Speed Figure. Although there was no apparent excuse for her disappointing seventh-place effort in the Kentucky Oaks following the Gazelle, Close Hatches redeemed herself somewhat when second to 6 ¼-length winner Midnight Lucky in the Acorn Stakes last month at Belmont. Having a recent race on the track gives Close Hatches an edge as she moves back to top form, so she must be considered a strong contender to win this race.

Dreaming of Julia ran the best race of her career by far when dominating by 21 ¾ lengths to win the Gulfstream Park Oaks at the end of March. The 116 figure earned that day was higher than the figure earned shortly after that on the same day by Orb when victorious in the Florida Derby. However, Dreaming of Julia did not come close to repeating that effort when a disappointing fourth in the Kentucky Oaks. That being said, the 102 figure Dreaming of Julia earned in the Oaks is still the best last figure among the entrants in this year’s Mother Goose. Rested since the Oaks, Dreaming of Julia has every right to come out on top at the end if she repeats that effort.

Toasting earned a career-best 98 figure in mid-February when winning an allowance race but has finished third in both stakes tries since that race. Sister State has just a maiden win to her credit with an 87 figure effort that would need vast improvement to be competitive with these.

My Selections:

Marathon Lady

Close Hatches

Dreaming of Julia

$300,000 Mother Goose Stakes

Saturday, Belmont Park, Race 10, 5:49 p.m. ET

1 1/16 miles, 3-year-old fillies







Marathon Lady (FL)

R. Albarado

S. Hobby



Dreaming of Julia (KY)

J.R. Velazquez

T A Pletcher



Close Hatches (KY)

J. Rosario

W I Mott



Toasting (FL)

L. Saez

T Albertrani



Sister Stake (KY)

I. Ortiz Jr.

K P McLaughlin


All carry 121 pounds





Image Description

Ellis Starr

National Racing Analyst for Equibase, Fan Education Specialist, Bettor, Magister of Equine Prognostication (Handicapper).

Image Description

Ellis Starr

National Racing Analyst for Equibase, Fan Education Specialist, Bettor, Magister of Equine Prognostication (Handicapper).

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