Midnight Bisou Faces Deep Field in Mother Goose Stakes
Although Saturday’s $250,000 Mother Goose Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park lost its Grade 1 status last year, that hasn’t stopped the 2018 renewal of the 8.5-furlong event from drawing a top-class field packed with proven graded stakes winners.You know the stakes are high when the Triple Crown-winning Hall of Fame jockey travels from California to ride on the East Coast, so it will come as no surprise if Smith’s mount Midnight Bisou starts as the favorite in the Mother Goose. The talented daughter of Midnight Lute won three graded stakes races in succession earlier this year, including the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I), before finishing third with a very wide and difficult trip in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
The Mother Goose will mark Midnight Bisou’s debut for Steve Asmussen, who took over training duties from Bill Spawr following the Kentucky Oaks. Facing a smaller field in the Mother Goose should help Midnight Bisou work out a cleaner trip, and the slight cutback in distance should also be beneficial.
Still, victory is far from guaranteed in this competitive race. Road to Victory defeated Kentucky Oaks winner Monomoy Girl in the Golden Rod Stakes (gr. II) last fall and recently returned from a long layoff to win the 6 ½-furlong Alywow Stakes over the turf course at Woodbine, signaling that the daughter of Quality Road is ready for another big season.
My Miss Lilly was soundly beaten when eleventh in the Kentucky Oaks, but like Midnight Bisou, she endured a tough trip and could be poised to bounce back with an effort closer to her game win in the Gazelle Stakes (gr. II) two starts back. That’s pretty much what happened with the Gulfstream Park Oaks (gr. II) winner Coach Rocks, who finished seventh in the Kentucky Oaks before rebounding with a runner-up effort in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) two weeks later.
Coach Rocks has plenty of speed and could find herself as the pacesetter in the Mother Goose, though on the other hand Mo Smart could have something to say about that. Trained by , the daughter of Uncle Mo has won her first two starts by a combined 20 ½ lengths, setting a fast pace to win her debut sprinting at Gulfstream before stretching out to 8.5 furlongs for an allowance race at Pimlico, which she won with a rally from three lengths off the pace. No matter which running style she showcases on Saturday, Mo Smart figures to be a major player in the Mother Goose.
Completing the field are Indy Union, third in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes; and Gio Game, third in the Acorn Stakes (gr. I) behind Monomoy Girl. The Mother Goose is the eighth race of the day, with a post time of 5:18 p.m. Eastern.