06/15/2010 11:00PM

Connie and Michael targets Mother Goose


Connie and Michael, who made auspicious debuts at 2 and 3, arrived in New York on June 8 to begin preparations for the Grade 1 Mother Goose Stakes on June 26.

Trained in Kentucky by Ken McPeek, Connie and Michael shipped into Dominick Schettino's Belmont Park barn and has been galloping daily over the training track. Schettino's assistant is Anthony Bonomo Jr., whose father Anthony Bonomo Sr., heads the racing partnership known as Brooklyn Boyz Stables.

The younger Bonomo said his father wanted the horse to ship in early and "get adapted to the new surroundings rather than ship in a couple of days before the race."

Connie and Michael, who can be a bit fiery, goes out near the end of training hours when there are fewer horses on the track.

"I don't want to get her too fired up," said Bonomo. "She's very classy, she's happy out there. I'd rather keep her as calm as possible and save it for the race."

Connie and Michael debuted last Oct. 17 at Keeneland, where she won a seven-furlong maiden race by 7 3/4 lengths. The performance was so strong, that bettors made her the second choice in her next start, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, where she finished eighth of 12. Connie and Michael ended her 2-year-old season by finishing third as the favorite in the Grade 3 Miesque Stakes on turf last Nov. 29.

Connie and Michael did not make her 3-year-old debut until May 20, when she won a first-level allowance race, running away from Lady Etienne in the stretch to win by 5 3/4 lengths. She ran a mile in 1:35.28 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 92.

The Mother Goose is shaping up a small but solid field. Others expected to run include Ailalea, winner of the Grade 3 Dogwood at Churchill; Biofuel, who is 2 for 2 in stakes at Woodbine this year after finishing fourth in the Juvenile Fillies last year, and Devil May Care, the Bonnie Miss winner who finished 10th in the Kentucky Derby. Possible starters include Bonnie Blue Flag, Champagne d'Oro, and Katy Now.

Jockey race could go to the wire

Through the first 33 days of last year's Belmont spring/summer meet, Ramon Dominguez had 48 wins, 14 more than his nearest rival. Dominguez went on to win 98 races, establishing a record for a Belmont spring/summer meet.

Through the first 33 days of this year's meet, Dominguez held a one-win lead over Javier Castellano, 33-32, with Cornelio Velasquez in third with 31 wins.

* Bill Mott, trainer of Belmont Stakes winner Drosselmeyer, was scheduled to throw out the first pitch at Wednesday night's Yankees-Phillies game at Yankee Stadium. Mott has a long-standing relationship with the family of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who has a racing stable, Kinsman Stables.