Three weeks after California Chrome's Triple Crown bid fizzled, Belmont Park may have showcased the best 3-year-old of either gender. After Untapable's 9 1/4-length runaway in Saturday's Grade I Mother Goose Stakes, trainer Steve Asmussen said she may face males next.
"I think she's a very special filly," he said. "There's definitely the thought of running her against the boys. We're aware that [the Haskell] is there, and the timing is excellent. It will be an interesting conversation with [owner Ron Winchell] after today's win."
Monmouth Park's $1-million centerpiece is July 27, the day after Saratoga's Jim Dandy, where Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist probably will reappear. The Spa's Coaching Club American Oaks for fillies is July 20. "It's nice to have a horse like her," Asmussen said, "because you can consider races as good as these."
Untapable justified her 1-9 odds, drawing clear effortlessly at the top of the stretch for John Velazquez, deputizing for injured Rosie Napravnik. She paid $2.10, and making a nickel on the dollar was easy money. The New York Racing Association announced Wednesday there would be no show wagering, fearing a large minus pool that might cost it as much as $60,000. Untapable faced four opponents after Stopchargingmaria was scratched.
The only anxious moment for the chalk players came when Princess Violet, who finished second, suddenly veered in sharply in front of Untapable shortly before leaving the backstretch chute. "I got her out of there," Velazquez said. "After that, it was pretty easy."
The daughter of Tapit is 4-for-4 this year by a total of 31 lengths. The Mother Goose was her first race since she crushed the Kentucky Oaks by 4 1/4 the day before the Kentucky Derby. Many speculated that if Untapable had qualified for the Derby -- she couldn't have, because preps restricted to fillies offer no points -- she could have defeated California Chrome.
Untapable ran 11/16 miles in a swift 1:41.48 without feeling the whip in her sixth win in eight starts. She earned $180,000, pushing her bankroll above $1.3 million. Her losses came last fall in California, when she ran third in the Hollywood Starlet after being eased in a 68-length flop in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita.
"I think today was a very good obstacle for her, as far as shipping and running, because of how bad her Breeders' Cup was," Asmussen said. "This was her first time at Belmont, and all of her previous victories had been where she was training, so I think this was a pretty good step."
Asmussen trained the Horse of the Year three times -- Curlin (2007, 2008) and the filly Rachel Alexandra (2009). He thinks Untapable, a compact, athletic-looking bay, has the potential to be his fourth.
"Every day there's a thought about Horse of the Year," he said. "Rachel was bigger than some of the colts. Untapable doesn't come to a race looking like she's getting ready for a street fight. She's a lady. She's just a very fast lady."