Grade 1 juvenile winner Juju’s Map and UAE Oaks (G3) romper Shahama head a field of five three-year-old fillies in Saturday’s $250,000 Mother Goose (G2) at Belmont Park.
A convincing winner of the Alcibiades (G1) last fall, Juju’s Map concluded 2021 with a runner-up finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). The Brad Cox-trained filly opened her sophomore campaign with a 4 3/4-length, wire-to-wire allowance triumph on the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (G1) undercard, and the daughter of Liam’s Map should be prominent from the start with Florent Geroux.
Shahama easily captured her first four starts in Dubai, including three stakes, before being sent to Todd Pletcher. Following a 2 1/2-month freshening, she failed to break alertly and finished a rallying sixth in the Kentucky Oaks (G1). The Munnings filly is eligible to show more in her second U.S. appearance, and Flavien Prat retains the mount.
Other runners in the 1 1/16-mile race include multiple stakes queen Venti Valentine, who will look to rebound from a last-place effort in the Kentucky Oaks. The New York-bred daughter of Firing Line has never run a bad race in her home state for Jorge Abreu, recording three wins and a pair of seconds, and Venti Valentine possesses good tactical foot. Jose Ortiz rides.
Gerrymander, winner of the Tempted S. at Belmont in her juvenile finale, will also look to bounce back from an unplaced effort at Churchill, opening this season with a sixth in the May 6 Eight Belles (G2). Joel Rosario will be up for Chad Brown. Florida-bred stakes scorer Midnight Stroll completes the field.