Last Updated: 2019-06-07
A field of nine fillies will run in Saturday afternoon’s Acorn Stakes. The 3:22 p.m. ET post time comes three hours and 15 minutes in front of the June 8 main event at Belmont Park, the Belmont Stakes. The Kentucky Oaks and the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes are both the day before their respective Triple Crown races, so this race, along with undercard sprints like the Met Mile and the Manhattan, make for a great day of action in the Empire State.
This is the third and final race of the Triple Tiara. Serengeti Empress, who is in this field, won the Kentucky Oaks. Point of Honor, who won the Black-Eyed Susan, is not. Abel Tasman became the first filly since Birdtown in 2003 to win the Oaks and the Acorn back in 2017. We’ll see if Serengeti Empress can join that prestigious group.
Post positions are out and morning lines have been set for the one mile race on Saturday afternoon:
||I. Ortiz Jr.
||Bell’s the One
||Fancy Dress Party
||Queen Of Beas
The odds for this race are simply fascinating. Guarana was the morning line favorite at 2/1 with only a maiden win to her name. Serengeti Empress is deserving of the top billing based on her Kentucky Oaks win, but she has to settle for being the second favorite right now. Ce Ce, who only has one race under her belt. It was an optional claiming callowance at Santa Anita and posted a 97 Beyer for trainer Chad Brown.
The story of Cookie Dough is perhaps the most intriguing here. More on that in a minute, but let’s dive into the field.
- Serengeti Empress (5/2)
Irad Ortiz Jr. went wire-to-wire with this filly at Churchill Downs in a fairly sloppy Kentucky Oaks. We all got tripped up by her seventh-place finish in the Fairground Oaks. A bleeding problem emerged with that race and it forced jockey James Graham to back off and trainer Tom Amoss to slow her down for some medical attention back at the stable. Then she had an explosive, awe-inspiring performance at Churchill.
With the layoff and no reported health concerns, Serengeti Empress draws the rail and could very well be the pacesetter here. Let’s remember; the Belmont Stakes is the longest of the Triple Crown races. The Acorn Stakes is the shortest of the Triple Tiara. She didn’t post her best speed figures and still won that race. What will happen if she does here?
Bet to win; put in exotics
- Jeltrin (12/1)
Jeltrin was a stunning winner in the Davona Dale at a balloon price over Cookie Dough and Champagne Anyone. Like horses are prone to do, she went from her one shot bounce to a total dud at Churchill in her first Grade 1 race. I wouldn’t expect much here from Jeltrin. She goes from Luis Saez to Leonel Reyes, which is a downgrade.
Not on my card
- Cookie Dough (6/1)
Cookie Dough was 3/1 and the second favorite on the money line for the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes. She finished third. That wasn’t good enough for Arindel, who transferred Cookie Dough from trainer Stanley Gold to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. McLaughlin, who had the winner in this race with It’s Tricky in 2011, is a Long Island resident these days, so this makes a lot of sense in advance of a race at Belmont Park.
With the trainer change is a jockey change. Irad Ortiz Jr. is now the mount for Serengeti Empress and Cookie Dough will ride with Javier Castellano. Castellano was the winner of this race in 2012 on Contested and Gabby’s Golden Gal in 2009, both for Bob Baffert.
The obvious question here is how much work McLaughlin was able to do with Cookie Dough in a short period of time. Furthermore, Cookie Dough is the only filly in the field that ran in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.
She’s hit the board in five straight races and will hit the board here, too. Whether she gets over the hump and wins is another story, but you have to like the trainer/jockey combo.
Bet to win; put in exactas and trifectas
- Bell’s the One (20/1)
Corey Lanerie has the mount for this Neil Pessin filly. Bell’s the One has finished second or better in four of five races, but this is a big step up in class as far as the field goes. Her worst finish was seventh at Keeneland in the Ashland Stakes back in April. That was the only Grade 1 race on her resume.
Not on my card
- Fancy Dress Party (10/1)
A lot of people seem enamored with this Ben Colebrook filly. Joel Rosario will be in the irons for the winner of the Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland last time out. She’s 4-for-4 with a maiden, an allowance, the Glitter Woman, and the Beaumont, with three wins in Kentucky and one at Gulfstream. This is quite a step up in class from the field for seven furlongs in the Beaumont. The horse has had excellent speed figures, but hasn’t run with anybody in her class yet.
Will she maintain the speed over a mile? Will she be okay with getting jostled around with a middle post in a bigger field? There are a lot of questions about this horse.
Will add to exotics
- Proud Emma (20/1)
Proud Emma doesn’t appear to belong in this field on paper. She won an allowance in March at Santa Anita, but has finished fourth in her only two graded races. The price says it all here.
Not on my card
- Guarana (2/1)
This is simply fascinating. Guarana’s only race is a maiden. But the Chad Brown filly is the favorite here. Talk about some impressive speed. Also, her sire is Ghostzapper, the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner. Ghostzapper really went out on top with seven straight wins, including a lot of success at Belmont Park.
With the bloodline, the look, and the speed figures, Guarana is the favorite, despite a very limited sample size. Jose Ortiz will be in the mount, which can’t hurt the perception of this filly. There will be some that pass here because of the lack of experience. This is a fairly big filly race with nine of them. If Guarana doesn’t run from in front, it’s fair to wonder how she will handle traffic. We don’t really know. There were 10 horses in the maiden at Keeneland that Guarana won, but she was out in front most of the race and the others weren’t the caliber of the horses in this race.
May stay away
- Queen Of Beas (12/1)
If Bell’s the One isn’t on my card, Queen Of Beas won’t be either. The Jorge Abreu filly finished third in the Grade 2 Eight Belles at Churchill Downs. She finished behind Break Even, who isn’t in the race, and just ahead of Proud Emma, who also isn’t on my radar.
Not on my card
- Ce Ce (9/2)
We don’t know much about Ce Ce. Victor Espinoza is a strong rider to be up in the irons with this relative unknown. She’s had a couple of races and posted a 97 Beyer in one of them. She finished second in that race and had the speed, but could have had a stronger trip with more experience. In her debut race, she won comfortably.
It’s really a tough race with some unknowns here. There are only so many spots on the card. She’s got the outside lane and can run to the front and set the pace if she wants or she can sit just off the pace and use the closing speed she has showcased in her two previous races.
She’s getting a lot of respect for her lack of experience, which has to count for something.
Add to exotics
Win: 1, 3
Exactas: Box 1, 3, 5, 9
Trifectas: Box 1, 3, 5, 7, 9
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