G1 Winner Queen Goddess Rolls in Comeback

January 2, 2023

Queen Goddess rolls home in the G3 Robert J. Frankel (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Santa Anita Stable Notes

ARCADIA, Calif.— More than seven months on the sidelines did little to slow Grade I winner Queen Goddess. The newly turned 5-year-old mare by Empire Maker strutted her stuff on Saturday in the Grade III Robert J. Frankel when taking the field on a merry chase and scoring by 2 ½ lengths under Hall of Famer John Velazquez. “Nice return off a layoff,” trainer Michael McCarthy said Monday. “She had been kind of touting herself here in the mornings.”

Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber, Queen Goddess clicked off comfortable fractions of 24.39, 48.89 and 1:12.42 before crossing the wire in 1:48.35 for 1 1/8 miles on turf. It was her third graded stakes win following previous scores in the 2020 American Oaks and Grade III Santa Ana last March, both at Santa Anita.

“She’s a free-running filly that just likes to get out there and do her thing,” McCarthy said, adding he is not sure where Queen Goddess will run next.

Two races prior to Queen Goddess’s victory Saturday, another Grade I winner for McCarthy, Smooth Like Strait, was the beaten favorite in the Grade II Joe Hernandez when trying the hillside turf course for the first time. The now 6-year-old horse by Midnight Lute chased a loose-on-the-lead Air Force Red in the Hernandez before faltering to fourth in the stretch.

McCarthy said Smooth Like Strait was doing well after what was his third start in 56 days. He shipped to Keeneland for the Breeders’ Cup Mile on Nov. 5, where he finished fourth, then wheeled back three weeks later to be seventh in the Grade II Seabiscuit Handicap at Del Mar on Nov. 26.

McCarthy said future plans for Smooth Like Strait, who won last year’s Grade I Shoemaker Mile in May, remain undetermined.

“It seems like he’s doing good, but we’re not sure what we’re going to do with him yet,” McCarthy said.

Owned by Cannon Thoroughbreds, Smooth Like Straight has a record of 5-2-1 in 10 starts with earnings of $470,580.

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