Contested, Zo Impressive work toward rematch in Mother Goose
Contested, a five-length winner of the Grade 1 Acorn on Memorial Day, on Sunday posted her final workout prior to next Saturday’s Grade 1 Mother Goose, traveling six furlongs in 1:11.97, handily, on the Belmont Park main track.
Jim Barnes, an assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, flew in from California Saturday night to observe the workout.
“I had her in 1:11 4/5 and she galloped out nice,” said Barnes. “We’re ready. [Javier] Castellano worked her and was very happy with the way she worked. I couldn’t be happier. Bob is happy. We’re all happy.”
Baffert trains the daughter of Ghostzapper for his wife, Jill (Natalie J. Baffert). Contested will enter the Mother Goose, 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies, off four straight open-length victories, including a 4 3/4-length score in the Grade 3 Eight Belles on May 4 at Churchill Downs prior to her romp in the Acorn.
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Trainer Tom Albertrani hopes a different pace scenario will help Zo Impressive, second to Contested in the Acorn, turn the tables when she competes in the Mother Goose.
In the Acorn, Contested led by three lengths at the first call as Zo Impressive settled in third, 5 1/2 lengths behind the eventual winner. Zo Impressive dropped back to fourth a half-mile into the race, then made a wide rally into second, ultimately finishing five lengths behind the winner.
“In the Acorn nobody really went with Contested,” said Albertrani, who trains Zo Impressive for Live Oak Plantation. “I was thinking [Aubby K] might go with her, but we found ourselves up close. We wanted to take back a little. A different scenario might help us where there might be a little more pressure on the front runners.”
Zo Impressive has never finished outside the exacta in four starts, having opened her career with a pair of victories this winter at Gulfstream Park and finishing second to Grace Hall in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks in March prior to the Acorn.
On Saturday, Zo Impressive breezed five furlongs in 1:02.15 at Belmont.
Albertrani added that he has pointed Godolphin Racing’s Buffum, an eight-length winner of an optional claimer on Memorial Day, toward the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap on July 7. Buffum, a 4-year-old, seeks his first graded stakes win, having finished fifth in the 2010 Grade 2 Remsen and fourth in the 2011 Grade 3 Bay Shore.
“He’s had some bumps in the road over his career, but right now he’s doing really well. Couldn’t be better,” said Albertrani. “I look forward to getting him back on track. His last race was very impressive. It took time for him to mature. His last race certainly showed he could be a very nice older horse this year.”
Buffum posted a 59.57 five-furlong breeze on Saturday at Belmont.