06/20/2013 3:31PM

Belmont Park: Dreaming of Julia can let bygones be bygones in Mother Goose

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Barbara D. Livingston
Dreaming of Julia’s run in the Kentucky Oaks was badly compromised by a bump at the start and being forced to steady on the far turn.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Though he was obviously happy to win the Kentucky Oaks with Princess of Sylmar, there was still a tinge of disappointment for trainer Todd Pletcher when it came to Dreaming of Julia, the Oaks favorite whom he also trains, who finished fourth.

After getting bumped hard at the break and having to steady entering the far turn while attempting to get back into the race, Dreaming of Julia had to settle for fourth, 2 1/2 lengths behind Princess of Sylmar.

Dreaming of Julia on Saturday gets an opportunity to put that result behind her when she starts as a prohibitive favorite in the Grade 1, $300,000 Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park. The Mother Goose, which drew a field of only five, goes as race 10 on an 11-race card.

[MOTHER GOOSE: Get PPs, watch video handicapping preview]

Dreaming of Julia, a daughter of A.P. Indy owned by Stonestreet Stables, won her most prestigious race at Belmont, last year's Grade 1 Frizette. But in her race before the Oaks, Dreaming of Julia was her most impressive, winning the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks by 21 3/4 lengths, a race in which she earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 114.

In the Kentucky Oaks, however, Dreaming of Julia was creamed at the break, and was eighth of 10 in the early going. Under John Velazquez, Dreaming of Julia advanced steadily down the backside, but she had to steady leaving the half-mile pole. She made another run in the stretch, but understandably flattened out.

"The break was the single biggest factor," Pletcher said. "It took her completely out of the position that she would normally have been in very easily. Having to steady on top of that was too much to overcome."

The Mother Goose became the goal for Dreaming of Julia, and she has had four easy half-mile breezes in preparation for this.

"I think she's training as well as she ever has," Pletcher said.

Pletcher will be seeking his fifth Mother Goose victory, having won three of the last six runnings, plus the 1998 edition. Velazquez has won the Mother Goose five times, tying him with Jorge Velasquez for most wins in the race.

Close Hatches is the only other graded stakes winner in the field, having taken the Grade 2 Gazelle in gate-to-wire fashion. She finished seventh in the Kentucky Oaks before running second in the Grade 1 Acorn. Joel Rosario rides for trainer Bill Mott.

Marathon Lady is intriguing, coming off a very good effort in the Black-Eyed Susan, in which she made a clear lead in midstretch, but was caught late by Fiftyshadesofhay, raising the question: Did jockey Robby Albarado make the lead too soon?

"After the race that's easy to say, but it looked like to me Robby rode a winning race," said trainer Steve Hobby, who earlier this meet won the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps with Tiz Miz Sue. "She ran really well, it's hard to take much away from her. The other filly just caught her."

Hobby has great respect for Dreaming of Julia, but said, "You can't just run away from one horse. I think she matches up real well with the rest of the field."

Robby Albarado, a two-time winner of the Mother Goose, rides Marathon Lady from the rail.

Toasting, third in the Black-Eyed Susan, will make her second start with blinkers on. Luis Saez rides.

Sister State, a maiden winner attempting to get black type, will make her stakes debut.