06/26/2010 12:00AM

Devil May Care faces four

Barbara D. Livingston
Devil May Care finished 10th in the Kentucky Derby, but returns to meet her own sex in the Mother Goose.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Devil May Care may have found the company too tough and the distance too far when she finished 10th in the Kentucky Derby. Seemingly none the worse for wear, Devil May Care returns to her meet her own sex when she faces four rivals - including two stablemates - in Saturday's Grade 1, $250,000 Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park.

The Mother Goose, run at 1 1/8 miles since 1959, has been shortened to 1 1/16 miles this year. It goes as race 9 on the 10-race card.

In the Derby, run over a sloppy track, Devil May Care was only 1 1/2 lengths off the lead turning for home, but couldn't kick on in the stretch, finishing 12 lengths behind Super Saver.

"I thought she ran a good race," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "If you stopped the race at the quarter pole and hadn't known the outcome, you could have guessed she would have won it. She loomed up there, but then flattened out. It was a credible effort."

Pletcher said he wouldn't have rushed to run Devil May Care back, but said had he opted to run her in the Acorn or Belmont Stakes on June 5, he felt she would have been ready to run. The extra three weeks could only have done her good, said Pletcher, who is seeking his third Mother Goose victory on his 43rd birthday.

Devil May Care, who won the Grade 1 Frizette over this track last fall, should get some pace to run at under John Velazquez. Part of that pace could be supplied by either one of her stablemates, Ailalea or Katy Now, as well as the Ken McPeek-trained Connie and Michael.

Ailalea comes off a victory in the Dogwood Stakes at Churchill Downs, in which she broke a step slowly. Katy Now, who was transferred to Pletcher after a private sale late last year, won a six-furlong allowance race last month. She won at a mile last year and is a daughter of Tiznow, giving Pletcher confidence she can successfully stretch out.

Connie and Michael was impressive winning a first-level allowance race at Churchill Downs, her first start on dirt. Last year, she ran in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies in her second start and finished eighth, beaten only 4 3/4 lengths.

"She's got freaky-good talent," McPeek said.

Biofuel, beaten only 1 1/4 lengths despite a troubled trip in the Breeders' Cup last year, has won both of her starts this year. She will be making her first start on dirt, though she appears to have trained well over Woodbine's dirt training track.