06/23/2012 7:06PM

Belmont Park: Zo Impressive shows she fits with the best in Mother Goose score

Adam Mooshian/NYRA
Zo Impressive holds off Disposablepleasure to win the Mother Goose.

ELMONT, N.Y. - The Mother Goose was more than a two-horse race after all.

Zo Impressive, a well-beaten second to Contested in the Grade 1 Acorn last month, rebounded with a gritty three-quarter-length victory over Disposablepleasure in Saturday’s Grade 1, $300,000 Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park.

It was 8 1/2 lengths back to Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can in third. Wildcat’s Smile, a 35-1 shot, was fourth while Contested, the 1-2 favorite, finished last after leading to the quarter pole.

The win was the first stakes victory for Zo Impressive, a daughter of Hard Spun owned by Live Oak Plantation and trained by Tom Albertrani.

“It was probably the four best fillies you got in the country right now, that’s what made the race pretty special today,” Albertrani said. “We always had confidence in our filly. She was very sharp and gave us a lot of confidence going into the race today.”

Zo Impressive had to withstand an objection from Ramon Dominguez, the rider of Disposablepleasure, for a brushing incident in deep stretch. But after reviewing the replay, the stewards let the result stand, a decision with which Dominguez even agreed.

“I felt like he came out into me and there was a little bump to the point where my filly switched back to her left lead,” Dominguez said. “In a race like this you want to do everything you can and cover all your bases. When I watched the replay it was fair for the result to stand.”

In the Acorn, run over a fast and speed-favoring Belmont surface, Zo Impressive was taken six lengths off the pace while Contested got loose on the lead and won by five.

The Mother Goose was run over a harrowed track labeled good but one that was significantly slower based on more than 2 1/2 inches of rain that fell Friday.

Rajiv Maragh kept Zo Impressive within two lengths of the lead while racing three wide down the backside. Contested, under Javier Castellano, made the lead and set fractions of 23.08 seconds for the quarter, 46.47 for the half-mile and 1:11.28 for six furlongs while being stalked by Wildcat’s Smile.

Believe You Can bobbled at the break under Rose Napravnik and bumped with Contested and was fourth and along the inside early on.

At the quarter pole, Contested was empty and Zo Impressive was in front having confronted Contested at the five-sixteenths pole. Zo Impressive had a one-length lead at the eighth pole and was able to keep Disposablepleasure at bay after the two brushed at the sixteenth pole.

Zo Impressive covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.28 and returned $14.60 to win.

“In the Acorn it was a very speed-favoring track and Contested got an uncontested lead,” Maragh said. “Now, a couple of horses gave her more respect and put a little pressure on and that helped me beat her.”

Castellano said Contested “was dead” by the quarter pole.

“It could be the track, I was inside, the rail was very deep, maybe she struggled and she got tired today,” Castellano said.

Napravnik concurred with Castellano’s assessment of the inside, but she had little choice but to be there after breaking from the rail and stumbling.

“It was bad luck drawing the one hole, but stumbling out of the gate was even worse,” she said. “We were just forced in the only position we possibly could have been. The rail’s been heavy all day and it’s not been the place to be and she was struggling on the track. The filly has more guts and grit than any other horse I ride because she tried anyway and still ran a decent race.”

Zo Impressive and Believe You Can are likely to come back in the Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga on July 21.

Todd Elliot More than 1 year ago
the track was quicksand on the inside and thats why the two best horses floundered..run it again on a fast track, ,you will see totally different results,,therefore, this race proved nothing
Ronnie Malo Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
Good openning fractions to the half mile then they started to slow down. How they let that horse go off at 1-2 is ridiculous. One turn mile and eigth 5 horse field and a 6-1 and 10-1 running 1,2 I love it chalk eaters got burned on this one.
Carlos Barragan More than 1 year ago
I do agree that the track did not favor speed in the Mother Goose. Im sure that Belive You Can & Contested would agree if they were to be interviewed post game as Lebron & Wade. No matter what Baffert runs, there hardly ever any value for your dollar. If you bet Baffert, no when to bet him. Same goes for Pletcher.
john petrig More than 1 year ago
I understand the criticism for BB when he has a horse run poorly the natural response is he drilled em too hard. Why don't we hear that when Bodemeister freaked in the Ark Derby or Game On Dude or Richards Kid.... And the list goes on. If his owners don't have a problem with hard stamina building works nor should we. He owns Contested and he works her the same way he works all his champions, without fear. The best will survive. Contested wasn't right on Saturday and probably should have been a scratch. All that travel is tough on those young fillys.
Jim More than 1 year ago
Yeah, that was 'middle class' Jill B, commenting on a drf blog. Come on people. Jill B, outta touch with reality, to even make a ridiculous 'middle class' comment. Anyone who defends or justifies it is just as simple.
Ginger Buttrey More than 1 year ago
Jim, did you bother to read the posts on here? Mrs. Baffert clarified that she was referencing the "blue-collar, middle class" breeding of most of the horses that she and Bob usually own/buy. Maybe you should be sure that your cynicism and criticism are accurately aimed before you make "ridiculous comments." Besides, why would her assessment of her own socioeconomic status (as you thought that was what she was referencing) offend you so anyway unless you were responding out of envy or jealousy? Speaking of simple, maybe you should check your mind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Zo impressive ran a great race. Take nothing away from her. I felt she was creaky the second best horse going into the race. believe you can is extremely over rated because of her Oaks Victory on a lighting fast church hill track. All her other races were average. The huge disappointment was Contested. Another brilliant Baffert Horse who was lightly raced. She did not run anywhere near as fast. Clearly something was wrong with her.
Frank Altieri More than 1 year ago
For the the sake of the sport, the Jockey Club should expand it's powers and exert control in order to generate and maintain interest. This could mean requiring certain horses to race to say age 5 at least prior to retirement if they are sound. Also, there needs a humane program for horses at the end of their careers. These are but 2 pressing issues of many for the only sport in America without a rudder.
Stephen Jeffers More than 1 year ago
Was that really Jill B?!! Wow
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You can't get caught up in the hype. Favorites get beat all the time. You have to try and beat em.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Personally I think I'll Have Another was a Charismatic waiting to happen. I'm glad he didn't run if he wasn't 100%. But with just 5 wins he is a long way from immortality Sad, but the reality is that he had a really great four months. Banzai, all the way. Black Caviar, Frankel, now they are the greats that the world will talk about for years. Cheers.
Jim More than 1 year ago
Welcome to typical horse racing, notice 'HORSE' racing, not car racing!! This is exactly what irks me about all these pundits and 'experts' saying I'll Have Another woulda won Triple crown/Belmont IF he ran... Please, u got to RUN the race, they r not machines. All the 'if' talk makes me sick, 'if' Bodemeister, 'if' Paynter, 'if' IHA, u look and sound ridiculous.. 6:1 on Zo Impressive was very nice.
Ronnie Malo Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
you sound like a Union Rags groupie