Rachel’s Valentina Returns in Mother Goose Stakes

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Rachel’s Valentina preparing for the Kentucky Oaks in April at Churchill Downs. (Eclipse Sportswire)

After a good rest following an uncharacteristic run in the Grade 1 Longines Kentucky Oaks on May 6, Rachel’s Valentina is coming back to the races.

Stonestreet Stables’ homebred Bernardini filly, a daughter of Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, takes on six rivals in the $300,000, Grade 1 Mother Goose Stakes on July 2 at Belmont Park. She finished off the board for the first time in her career with a sixth-place finish in the 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Oaks — after missing by a neck in the 1 1/16-mile Ashland Stakes at Keeneland April 9 to 30-1 upsetter Weep No More.

In the Mother Goose, Rachel’s Valentina backs up to the 1 1/16-mile distance again, at which she ran second last fall to Songbird in the 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, also at Keeneland. Her two victories from five starts came at Saratoga Race Course last summer, where she broke her maiden going six furlongs en route to a win in the seven-furlong, Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes.

Rachel’s Valentina drew post-position 6 and will have Hall of Famer John Velazquez aboard as one of three contenders for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Pletcher also sends out King of Prussia Stable’s Mo d’Amour, who finished fifth in the Kentucky Oaks and failed to menace on the turf last time out with an eighth in the June 5 Wonder Again Stakes at Belmont. He has Off the Tracks as well, turning back from her runner-up finish to Carina Mia in the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes on June 11 for Newtown Anner Stud and J Stables.

Trainer Chad Brown will be represented by Kentucky Oaks third-place finisher Lewis Bay, also making her return to the races. Prior to the Oaks, the consistent Alpha Delta Stable homebred never finished worse than second in five starts, including a pair of Grade 2 victories at Aqueduct — the Demoiselle last fall and the Gazelle on April 9 — along with a runner-up finish to Kentucky Oaks winner Cathryn Sophia in the Grade 2 Davona Dale Stakes at Gulfstream Park in February.

Lewis Bay will break from post-position 5 with regular jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard.

Up Hill Stable’s and Head of Plains Partner’s undefeated Lightstream could prove formidable while stretching out for the first time and putting her three-race win streak on the line with a return to dirt.

Lightstream winning Beaumont Stakes. (Keeneland/Coady Photography)

“This will be a good test for her, [to see] whether she fits with these sorts of horses in a Grade 1 and if she handles the distance, which I’m confident she will,” trainer Brian Lynch said.

Winner of the Soaring Softly Stakes on May 21, her third straight win at seven furlongs and first on the turf, Lightstream has been a star pupil thus far as she prepares to make the jump to the highest ranks, where she will be ridden by Joel Rosario for the first time. The pair will leave from the outside.

“She had a nice breeze over the weekend to set her up for the race. Rosario’s been working her and everything seems like he’s happy and she’s happy,” Lynch said. “I think she’ll get the mile and sixteenth. She’s very rideable and she’s got that turn of foot.”

The lightly raced Harlan’s Holiday filly debuted at Gulfstream Park in March with a 2 1/4-length score, and graduated in the stakes ranks in her next start, diving through an opening along the rail in the stretch to post a three-quarter-length victory in the Grade 3 Beaumont Stakes on April 17 at Keeneland.

In the Soaring Softly, Lightstream missed the break but regrouped with a wide chasing trip to prevail by a half-length.

“She’s been a great overachiever. Any kind of hiccup she’s had — whether she breaks a bit slow, or gets herself into some trouble — she’s been able to overcome everything so far,” Lynch said. “We’re looking forward to running her.”

2016 Mother Goose S.
July 2nd, 2016

Winning Time: 1:41.01
  • Purse: $300,000
  • Distance: 1 1/16 Miles
  • Age: 3 yo
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Winning Time: 1:41.01
Results
Win
Place
Show
1st
2 Off the Tracks
$8.10
$3.60
$2.70
2nd
5 Lewis Bay
$3.10
$2.60
3rd
7 Lightstream
$2.90
4th
4 Mo d'Amour
5th
6 Rachel's Valentina
6th
3 Mom's On Strike
7th
1 Linda Mimi
Payoff
Pick 3
1-6-2
1-6-2
$972
Daily Double
6-2
6-2
$189
Exacta
2-5
2-5
$25
Superfecta
2-5-7-4
2-5-7-4
$382
Trifecta
2-5-7
2-5-7
$91
Grand Slam
2/3/5-1/3/4-6/8/9-2
2/3/5-1/3/4-6/8/9-2
$22
Payoff
Pick 3
1-6-2
1-6-2
$972
Daily Double
6-2
6-2
$189
Exacta
2-5
2-5
$25
Superfecta
2-5-7-4
2-5-7-4
$382
Trifecta
2-5-7
2-5-7
$91
Grand Slam
2/3/5-1/3/4-6/8/9-2
2/3/5-1/3/4-6/8/9-2
$22

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