06/20/2012 3:56PM

Belmont: Zo Impressive tries to join elite level of 3-year-old fillies in Mother Goose

Tom Keyser
Wildcat's Smile is more likely to run against New York-breds in Sunday's Bouwerie than Grade 1 fillies in Saturday's Mother Goose.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Saturday’s Grade 1, $300,000 Mother Goose at Belmont Park is a showdown for supremacy in the 3-year-old filly division, pitting Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can against Acorn winner Contested.

Trainer Tom Albertrani hopes to make it more than a two-horse race while getting Zo Impressive mentioned in the conversation of those in the upper echelon of the division.

Runner-up to Grace Hall in the Gulfstream Park Oaks in April and second to Contested in the Grade 1 Acorn here on May 28, Zo Impressive will likely be the third choice in the wagering of Saturday’s Mother Goose at 1 1/16 miles. A field of five was entered on Wednesday, including Disposablepleasure and Wildcat’s Smile – the one-two finishers from last year’s Demoiselle at Aqueduct. The Mother Goose will go as race 10 on an 11-race card.

Zo Impressive was beaten five lengths by Contested in the Grade 1 Acorn going a mile. Contested, who has won four consecutive races, got loose on the lead through rapid fractions in the Acorn.

On paper, it appeared as though Aubby K was fast enough to run with Contested early, but the speed duel never materialized. Zo Impressive, who was taken well off the pace by Rajiv Maragh, rallied from fourth to be second.

“Our plan was to kind of take back hoping that [Aubby K] might go with Contested but it didn’t work out that way,” said Albertrani, who trains Zo Impressive for Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Plantation. “We sat back and we gained some ground late. We’re hoping that another sixteenth of a mile and a little more pressure on the front end might help us along. It’s going to be a small field but hopefully we have a little more kick this time.”

Albertrani said Zo Impressive, a daughter of Hard Spun, has continued to train well since the Acorn.

Zo Impressive will break from post 4 under Rajiv Maragh. From the rail out, the field is Contested, Disposablepleasure, Believe You Can, Zo Impressive, and Wildcat’s Smile.

Wildcat’s Smile likely for Bouwerie

Trainer Dominic Galluscio entered the New York-bred Wildcat’s Smile in the Mother Goose, but indicated he would only run if one of the major players scratched. She will be entered back and is more likely to run in Sunday’s $125,000 Bouwerie Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares at seven furlongs.

Galluscio noted that two weeks ago Belmont Stakes favorite I’ll Have Another was scratched the day before the race. Last Sunday, Boys At Tosconova, the 8-5 morning-line favorite, was scratched out of the Lemon Drop Kid Stakes, a race Galluscio won with Johannesburg Smile, who coincidentally is a half-brother to Wildcat’s Smile.

“You wish all the horses stay healthy all the time but that doesn’t always happen,” Galluscio said. “If it doesn’t happen, you’d hate to be in the barn and see a three-horse field.”

Galluscio named Jose Lezcano to ride Wildcat’s Smile in the Mother Goose. Rosie Napravnik, who rode her in the Black-Eyed Susan, is slated to ride Believe You Can in the Mother Goose. Galluscio said Napravnik would ride Wildcat’s Smile in the Bouwerie.

Meanwhile, Galluscio said Johannesburg Smile would likely run back in the $100,000 Evan Shipman Stakes on July 23 at Saratoga.

Last year, Stormy’s Majesty, trained by Galluscio, lost the Evan Shipman by a nose to Icabad Crane.

Air Support possible for U.N.

Air Support, runner-up to Turbo Compressor in last Saturday’s Colonial Turf Cup, could make his next start in the Grade 1, $500,000 United Nations Handicap at Monmouth Park on July 7, trainer Shug McGaughey said.

Air Support, who won last year’s Virginia Derby, ran the best race of his 4-year-old season in the Colonial Turf Cup, but couldn’t run down a loose-on-the-lead Turbo Compressor.

“I thought he ran a good race,” McGaughey said. “The winner got away with a slow pace, had it his own way, we had to come around but we didn’t get there.”

McGaughey mentioned the Arlington Handicap, a Grade 3, $200,000 race at 1 1/4 miles as a possibility for Air Support as well.

Peruvian apprentice eyes New York

Martin Chuan, a 16-year-old apprentice riding in Peru, is hoping to move his tack to New York later in this summer, according to Roger Sutton, who would be his agent.

Chuan is currently sixth in the rider standings at Hipodromo De Monterrico in Peru with 41 wins from 222 mounts.

Sutton said Chuan comes highly-regarded from Alfredo Clemente, who is 10th in the standings at Hipodromo and has previously ridden in the U.S.

Chuan would have his apprenticeship through February, according to Sutton.