Trained by Michael McCarthy, the 4-year-old daughter of Empire Maker got a mile and one eighth on turf in 1:48.35.
Breaking sharply from her number nine post position, Velazquez was intent on making the early lead, and by the time the field had reached the finish line for the first time, Queen Goddess had settled into a nice rhythm with Closing Remarks and Island of Love about one length behind going into the first turn. Leaving the three furlong marker, Queen Goddess opened up three lengths and with a final eighth of a mile run in :12 and two-fifths, she was long gone.
A winner of last year’s American Oaks (G1) when the race was shifted to the main track, Queen Goddess took the 1 1/4-mile Santa Ana Stakes (G3) on turf March 26 at Santa Anita and had been idle since finishing second in the Santa Barbara Stakes (G3) May 14.
The 2-1 favorite today in a field of 10 fillies and mares three and up, Queen Goddess paid $6.00 for the win.
Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, who notched their second graded stakes win of the day following Air Force Red’s triumph in the Joe Hernandez (G2) two races earlier, and Gary Barber, Queen Goddess registered her third graded stakes win and her fifth win from 10 career starts. Out of the Lemon Drop Kid mare Royal Story, Queen Goddess, with Saturday’s winnings of $60,000, increased her earnings to $470,580.
Up close throughout under Joe Bravo, California-bred Closing Remarks prevailed by 1 ¼ lengths for second money over third-place finisher Quattroelle.
Irish-bred Quattroelle was midpack early and finished 1 ¼ lengths in front of second choice England’s Rose.
Fractions on the race were :24.39, :48.89, 1:12.42, and 1:36.25.
ROBERT J. FRANKEL (G3) STAKES QUOTES
JOHN VELAZQUEZ, QUEEN GODDESS, WINNER: “Michael and I talked before the race and it looked like there was only one other horse that could possibly be on the lead, so I decided to come out running to make sure she’s on the lead and then we can put her were she’s comfortable. She was able to dictate the race by going to the lead the first time by the wire. At that point she was good. Going into the far turn, she switched to her left lead and she just went. I said, ‘Okay momma, let’s go!’”
MICHAEL MCCARTHY, QUEEN GODDESS, WINNER: “She just likes to get out and kind of do her thing. She’s got a very high cruising speed. She is just very kind to herself. I thought today when she turned up the backside and put a little daylight between them that she would run well.
“Johnny (Velazquez) is in the Hall of Fame, I’m not (giving instructions), he does his homework. He worked this filly the other day and was very impressed by the way she went.”
ARON WELLMAN, ECLIPSE THOROUGHBRED PARTNERS, PART OWNER, QUEEN GODDESS, WINNER: “Since we started Eclipse, we took the approach that if Johnny is available, we will take him. He’s been an integral part of Eclipse’s success over the years, and we are forever indebted to him. Having him here at Santa Anita for the big meet is huge…for the community, for Santa Anita, and for our stable. He puts in the work and he’s a Hall of Famer, he is here to play. It’s good to see him get out there and get a graded stakes to close out the year.”