07/01/2017 7:20PM

Unchained Melody leads all the way in Mother Goose

Email
Joe Labozzetta/NYRA
Unchained Melody wins the Mother Goose by three lengths at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Brian Lynch stood Saturday afternoon in front of two big-screen televisions on the first floor of the Belmont Park grandstand, where his evening mood was going to be determined in a span of five minutes.

On one screen, Lynch watched as Lightstream could manage just a third-place finish as the 3-2 favorite in the Grade 2, $250,000 Princess Rooney Stakes at Gulfstream Park. While disappointed, Lynch was content to have another graded-stakes placing for the 4-year-old filly.

Moments later, disappointment turned to delight for Lynch as he watched his 3-year-old filly Unchained Melody lead from start to finish under Joel Rosario in winning the Grade 2, $250,000 Mother Goose by three lengths at Belmont.

After exchanging a hug with his son and another with his assistant trainer Erin Cotterill, Lynch marched to the winner’s circle with a huge smile on his face to meet members of Hidden Brook Farm and Hare Forest Farm, which own Unchained Melody.

“Good filly, good filly,” Lynch said. “She’s got such a high cruising speed and she’s still learning what it’s all about. Nothing but a lot of upside to her.”

The victory was the third from four starts for Unchained Melody, who made her career debut on March 19, winning a six-furlong race at Gulfstream Park by defeating Actress, who would later win the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico as a maiden.

Unchained Melody finished second in her first start against winners at Keeneland before winning a first-level allowance race at Belmont on June 1 by two lengths.

That victory, at the Mother Goose distance of 1 1/16 miles, gave Lynch plenty of confidence coming into Saturday.

“The way she did the one-turn mile and a sixteenth the first time she did it. She trained so well after that - her last work was so impressive - you had to feel good about her going into this race,” Lynch said.

Not seeing any other speed in the Mother Goose, Lynch instructed Joel Rosario - subbing for Javier Castellano who was at Gulfstream - to put Unchained Melody on the lead. Rosario obeyed and Unchained Melody opened up a length advantage while running a quarter in 23.62 seconds a half-mile in 46.62 and six furlongs in 1:11.38. Spanish Harlem and Vexatious were the two early pursuers.

Around the far turn, Jose Ortiz moved Lockdown - the 2-1 favorite by about $3,000 over Unchained Melody - into second, but she never truly threatened Unchained Melody, who was kept out in the middle of the track by Rosario in the stretch.

Lockdown finished second by 6 1/2 lengths over Moana, who was followed, in order, by My Miss Tapit, Vexatious, Lights of Medina, and Spanish Harlem.​

“When I worked her the other morning she had a little finish to her,” Rosario said. “I had it in my mind turning for home she’d have another gear. I let her be where she was comfortable. She was enjoying being in the middle of the track.”

Rosario added a victory in the last on Theycallhimthekid to cap a four-win afternoon from six mounts.

Unchained Melody covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.45 and returned $6.40.

Lynch said he would likely point Unchained Melody to the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama at Saratoga on Aug. 19.