April 16, 2024

Always Carina, Clairiere highlight Mother Goose

Clairiere wins the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (Hodges Photography)

After a fourth in the Kentucky Oaks (G1), Clairiere will try to get back to the win column in Saturday’s $250,000 Mother Goose (G2) at Belmont Park. The Grade 2 winner is the most accomplished runner among five sophomore fillies, but Clairiere will face a dangerous new face in Always Carina.

A romping winner in both starts, Always Carina will make her first stakes attempt for Chad Brown. The exciting Malibu Moon filly exits a 9 3/4-length triumph over entry-level allowance foes at Belmont on May 20, registering an outstanding 98 Brisnet Speed rating, and Flavien Prat will pick up the mount on the front-runner.

Clairiere has made all five starts at a route, but the Mother Goose will be her first race at a one-turn trip. The daughter of Curlin concluded her juvenile season on a high note, recording a close runner-up in the Golden Rod (G2) the second time out, and she opened 2021 with a victory in the Rachel Alexandra (G2) at Fair Grounds.

Following a non-threatening second in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), Clairiere offered a belated rally over the final furlongs of the Kentucky Oaks, finishing three lengths back of the winning Malathaat. The bay late runner has been freshened 57 days in advance of the Mother Goose, and Irad Ortiz Jr. takes over the controls.

Zaajel improved to 2-for-2 when winning the Forward Gal (G3) earlier this season, but she’s attempting to rebound from a pair of unplaced outings. The Todd Pletcher-trained Street Sense filly adds Joel Rosario. Make Mischief, third in the Acorn (G1) and Eight Belles (G2) in her last two outings, is also part of the mix, and last-out Churchill Downs allowance scorer Illiogami completes the field.