06/23/2011 4:14PM

Belmont: Mother Goose a chance for Joyful Victory to regain winning ways


ELMONT, N.Y. – Trainer Larry Jones hopes Joyful Victory can revert to the dominant form she displayed at Oaklawn Park in the spring when she seeks her first Grade 1 victory in Saturday’s $250,000 Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park.

The defections from the Mother Goose earlier this week of Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty and Black-Eyed Susan winner Royal Delta should make things a lot easier for Joyful Victory, who comes off a fourth-place finish as the favorite in the Kentucky Oaks.

In the Oaks, trainer Larry Jones felt that Joyful Victory was pinned down on the inside and by the time she got clear running room in the stretch, she couldn’t match strides with Plum Pretty, ultimately finishing 3 1/4 lengths back.

“She took a while to get into her stride, she was stuck down in there,” Jones said. “She has a little more of a high cruising speed than we were able to use that day. Hopefully, we can let her get into her natural stride and see how everyone matches up from there.”

Ramon Dominguez will ride Joyful Victory from post 4 in the seven-horse field.

Before the Oaks, Joyful Victory has won the Grade 3 Honeybee and Grade 2 Fantasy – both at Oaklawn – by a combined 15 3/4 lengths.

Salty Strike was no match for Joyful Victory in the Honeybee, but since trainer Ken McPeek cut her back to one-turn races on the dirt, Salty Strike, a Smart Strike filly, has a seven-length allowance win and a 3 3/4-length score in the Grade 3 Dogwood Stakes at Churchill Downs. The Mother Goose is run around one turn at 1 1/16 miles.

Those two victories also coincided with McPeek taking the filly off of Lasix, making her one of two of the 90 horses entered on Saturday’s card to run without the anti-bleeding medication.

“She seems to run well without it,” McPeek said. “We feel like we can come back a little quicker because we’re not running on Lasix. She’s doing good right now.”

Trainer Todd Pletcher will run the uncoupled entry of Buster’s Ready and R Gypsy Gold in the Mother Goose. Buster’s Ready has recorded all three of her career victories at a mile, but, from a speed-figure standpoint she ran the best race of her career when she was second to Royal Delta in the Black-Eyed Susan, run at 1 1/8 miles around two turns. R Gypsy Gold is cutting back to one turn after winning a two-turn maiden race at Monmouth on June 4.

“Without Plum Pretty and Royal Delta, it certainly opened up the race leaving you feeling more confident in an accomplished filly and worth taking a chance with a talented filly,” said assistant trainer Jonathan Thomas.

Alseera, a daughter of Distorted Humor, won a maiden race going a mile here last fall. She returned from an eight-month layoff to win a six-furlong allowance race by 2 1/2 lengths last month. Assistant trainer Art Magnusson said he and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin are hopeful that Alseera is a stakes-caliber filly, “so no time like the present.” to find out.

My Assets tries a Grade 1 coming off a solid maiden win last out. Victoria’s Wildcat wheels back two weeks after running fourth in the Grade 1 Acorn.