Unchained Melody should whistle on home in the Mother Goose

The Grade II, $250,000 Mother Goose Stakes for three-year-old fillies is the feature at Belmont Park this Saturday. Seven runners will go 1 1/16 miles on the main course at approximately 5:50 p.m. EST. It’s the ninth race on a 10-race program at “Big Sandy.” In addition to watching and wagering, be sure to try out FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!

#2 UNCHAINED MELODY (7-2) leaps in class, but in name only. None of her six foes have a graded stakes score to their credit, though all are at least stakes-placed. UNCHAINED MELODY broke her maiden with a sharp speed figure before settling for second in her first try against winners. Routing for the first time in her third career start, UNCHAINED MELODY easily handled an allowance field at Belmont that featured Breeders’ Cup-placed Jamyson ‘n Ginger last time out. Javier Castellano is out of town, so Joel Rosario picks up the mount for Brian Lynch, who’s having a strong meet (25%). There’s not much early speed to speak of, so look for UNCHAINED MELODY to attempt a gate-to-wire score.

#4 LOCKDOWN (2-1, morning-line favorite) ran respectably while wintering at Aqueduct before encountering trouble in the Kentucky Oaks. Despite checking more than once, LOCKDOWN ran a creditable third in the Oaks, though she was passing tired ones late. She’s unlikely to get a break-neck pace to work with in the Mother Goose under Jose Ortiz and the price won’t be anything special, so she’s best used underneath.

#1 LIGHTS OF MEDINA (10-1) looks like the most appealing option of the Todd Pletcher-trained trio. She was a late-closing second in the Black-Eyed Susan last time out, but that race was poorly-rated. She also needs to prove she can run with these on a fast strip, but backers will get generous odds. Feargal Lynch ships in to ride.

The play: $4 exacta 2/4, $2 exacta 2,4/1, $2 exacta 4/2 ($10)

DFJ analysis: Joel Rosario has six strong mounts lined up for Saturday at Belmont, none above 7-2 in odds. He rides consecutive program favorites in the early double, then rides another favorite in Race 6 (Deltalina). He has a live mount in the Perfect Sting Stakes in Conquest Babayaga (3-1) before he rides UNCHAINED MELODY (7-2) in the Mother Goose.

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