06/24/2013 11:56AM

Trip Notes: Mother Goose Stakes, Colonial Turf Cup, Hollywood Oaks, All Along Stakes

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June 22
Belmont
Mother Goose (race 10)

Close Hatches, second but no match for runaway winner Midnight Lucky in the Grade 1 Acorn, bounced back to top form and had no trouble handling the much-ballyhooed heavy favorite Dreaming of Julia for her second graded stakes win and first Grade 1 stakes win. She was content to bide her time in fourth early, came with a strong run on the far turn that swept her to the lead, and then opened up from there and really didn’t have an anxious moment in the lane. The Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga on July 20 figures next. Dreaming of Julia seemed in an ideal spot in third early, but while between horses she backed out of it on the far turn to actually be last. She was asked for run, was able to get going in the lane, but was no threat to the winner and had to work hard to get second. She could take a swing at the CCA Oaks as well, though Pletcher said it’s possible she’ll wait for the Grade 1 Alabama there in August. Either way, this result would seem more proof that she, in spite of her huge win at Gulfstream Park this spring, is no world-beater and isn’t the best 3-year-old filly in the country. Her trouble in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks was always overstated. Marathon Lady sat last early, though not far at all behind the eventual winner, didn’t accelerate as quickly, but continued to press on. While no threat to the winner, she nearly got second. With her style, there’s no reason she shouldn’t take a swing at the CCA Oaks as well.

Colonial
All Along (race 6)

On paper, Channel Lady, a Grade 3 stakes winner already, looked like the class of this race, and that’s the way it played out on the turf as the daughter of grass champ English Channel proved a smart winner. Freshened and dropped since running fourth behind Grade 1-types (Stephanie’s Kitten, Hungry Island, Daisy Devine) in the Grade 2 Distaff Turf Mile on the Kentucky Derby undercard May 4, she was third early as Welcome Dance set the pace, moved up nicely to challenge that tiring foe into the lane, had no trouble moving past, and then gamely kept longshot Idle Talk at bay. She probably doesn’t want anything to do with top-class gals like those she chased at Churchill Downs, but this showed she can certainly make a big splash in the right spot. Idle Talk bided her time while saving ground, moved out for clear sailing in the lane, and finished well. Clare Skies Ahead broke slowly to be least early, was still last turning for home, finished decently, but was never really a threat. Appealing Cat, the favorite as she’s multiple Grade 3 stakes placed, was second early just in front of the winner, tried to go with that rival into the lane, but couldn’t keep pace and then actually weakened in the final furlong.

Colonial
Colonial Turf Cup (race 7)

London Lane posted a shocker as the 6-year-old stormed home at 50-1 to beat some proven stayers. Dismissed off an okay effort when he rallied for sixth at Pimlico on April 28 in his first start of the year, he sat well back early, remained there to the top of the lane, swung wide for the stretch run, still had a lot of work to do by midstretch, but surged in the final half-furlong for the win. Hyper, who was last, just behind the winner early, came with a strong run into the lane to go after then-clear leader Swift Warrior, but couldn’t quite fend off the winner. Swift Warrior volleyed on the lead with Two Notch Road, took control into the lane, opened up a clear lead to look like the winner, but couldn’t fend off the top two in the final strides. Air Support stalked the pace, pitched out into the lane to look threatening, but never mustered a run. Atigun, the favorite, stalked the pace while saving ground, had to steady going into the far turn, swung out at the top of the lane, but had to steady again when blocked behind horses. He altered course and finished decently, but it was far too late.

Betfair Hollywood Park
Hollywood Oaks (race 3)

More proof of what can happen when you let a good horse have her way up front as Doinghardtimeagain dictated everything from the start and notched her first graded stakes win. Coming off two straight California-bred stakes wins, she showed she’s up to the task versus open company as she bounced right out to the lead, set modest splits, rebuffed a challenge into the lane, and kicked clear to win fairly comfortably. Iotapa, a winner of 3 of her first 4 with the lone loss being a second in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks behind 2-year-old filly champ Beholder, stalked in third, tried to make a run at the winner into the lane, but was chasing a fresh horse and couldn’t keep up. Ondine was in closest pursuit of the winner early, moved closer to threaten that rival on the turn, but had her challenge turned back and couldn’t mount another bid.