Mother Goose rematch on tap for Test

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Jen Caldwell

August 3rd, 2016

Off the Tracks, Lewis Bay and Lightstream finished 1-2-3 in the July 2 Mother Goose Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park, and on Saturday all three will line up in the $500,000 Test Stakes (G1) going seven furlongs at Saratoga.

Off the Tracks led all the way home in the 1 1/16-mile Mother Goose but will be going less than a mile in the Test for the first time since being transferred to trainer Todd Pletcher. The Curlin filly romped in her initial three starts under the tutelage of conditioner Roderick Rodriquez, including the six-furlong Schuylerville Stakes (G3) at the Spa in July 2015.

She suffered her first loss when making her debut for the Pletcher shedrow, finishing third in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) in early April, then was second in the Acorn Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park before capturing the Mother Goose.

"Everyone was sort of down on her after the Gulfstream Oaks but I thought it was a sneaky-good race," Pletcher said. "We felt if we got a clean break (in the Mother Goose) there was a decent chance she would be on the lead. She is a filly who has always shown big potential."

Off the Tracks has recorded two official half-mile moves since the Mother Goose, posting times of :49.40 and :52 on July 22 and 29, respectively.

"We didn't feel like we needed a lot of training – she ran very well from the Acorn to the Mother Goose without having to breeze," Pletcher explained. "Hopefully we have her fresh into the Test. She's ready to run now, she's had success around one turn sprinting before. Right now, at this moment, it's a little more logical play than waiting on the mile and a quarter (of the Alabama [G1]). I think she'll handle the cutback to seven-eighths fine."

Pletcher will also saddle Kinsley Kisses in the Test, and the Congrats filly drew to the immediate outside of Off the Tracks in post 8. The chestnut lass is still looking for her first stakes win after running third in the Beaumont Stakes (G3), Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) and Delaware Oaks (G3), and will be sporting blinkers.

"Off the Tracks is coming off a big win and she's had success around one turn," Pletcher remarked. "Kinsley Kisses is a filly that ran well her first two starts sprinting and we felt like she was going to improve stretching out, and now after having stretched her out a few times we're thinking the cutback might be beneficial, and we're going to add some blinkers just to see if we can get her zeroed in a little bit. She's a filly that's always impressed us in the mornings as a kind of filly that would have won a graded stake by now."

Jose Ortiz has the call on Off the Tracks while John Velazquez is scheduled to ride Kinsley Kisses.

Lewis Bay is looking for a return to the winner’s circle in the Test after running third in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) and second in the Mother Goose. Prior to that the Chad Brown trainee easily captured the nine-furlong Gazelle Stakes (G2) in April at Aqueduct over a muddy, sealed surface.

Like Off the Tracks, Lewis Bay is shortening up for the first time this season. The Bernardini lass actually broke her maiden at Belmont over the Test distance last October, and keeps regular jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. in the irons here.

Lightly raced Lightstream scored in her initial three races before tasting defeat for the first time in the Mother Goose. That was the Brian Lynch pupil’s initial try going anything but seven furlongs and she’ll get back to that distance in the Test with Joel Rosario keeping the mount.

Kareena, a 6 1/4-length winner of the Jersey Girl Stakes in her stakes bow last out, ran second to Lightstream when the duo made their racing debuts at Gulfstream Park in March. The Kiaran McLaughlin filly will get the chance to turn the tables on that rival here with Javier Castellano aboard for the first time.

"She's just an impressive filly and (the Jersey Girl) was a serious race," McLaughlin said. "We're hoping to do what we did with Cavorting last year."

Completing the Test field are Gulfstream Park Oaks runner-up Paola Queen; Grade 2-placed One True Kiss, who rallied for a neck third in the Victory Ride Stakes (G3) last out; and Malibu Stacy, second by a neck in the Victory Ride while making her stakes bow.

Off the Tracks photo courtesy of NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography