June 3, 2015
Belmont Stakes Day has become one of the biggest days of racing in North America since a move to bring many of the major Grade I races of the late Spring together came to fruition last year and the newly revised Acorn, with a huge $750.000 purse, continues a massive ten-stakes day for the three-year-old fillies. Unaltered in distance since its first running in 1932, it was won in its pre-Grade I era by champions Top Flight, Gallorette, Cicada and Shuvee, as well as the immortal Ruffian, Davona Dale, Open Mind, Sky Beauty, Inside Information, You and Round Pond, many of whom are enshrined in the Hall Of Fame or will be one day. Last year, a full field was assembled including a host of Grade I winners and Barbies Corvette proved best over a fast strip in a stakes record time, adding her name to a list of winners that includes Java Jive, Guitar God, Caged Animal and Blow Me To The Moon, just to rattle off a few. As expected, another full field is carded on Saturday with 12 eager entrants lined up but none of the biggest guns are here and the role of favourite will most likely fall to the Black-Eyed Susan winner who has looked incredible all year and hopes to continue her undefeated season.
1-French Liege (Three-year-old bay filly / Owner-D J C Racing Stables)
French Liege moved to the turf in the Wait A While last time out but caught a soft turf and was unable to utilize her closing kick and now, moves back to the dirt in hopes of rebounding from her dismal SA Oaks effort. An inside post is not where she wants to be going a flat-mile and her speed ratings are below some of the best so the fear is that she will be caught up around the turn and lack the needed room to make a move that could take her to the top three.
Analysis-Not at the same level as others
2-Dying For Iron (Three-year-old bay filly / Owner-Mb Stables)
Owner Mb Stables enters a very good three-year-old in the Acorn but Dying For Iron is not really dying for more than seven-furlongs and unless she can harness her speed for that extra stretch, she will be tiring late against some very well-meant rivals. A score in the Grade II Beaumont at KEE was very good and led to her best ratings to date but that she needs to show that she can handle this level and with a new jockey, the question marks are too great to back her with huge confidence.
Analysis-Would be a bigger factor at seven-furlongs
3-Cowboy Melodie (Three-year-old chestnut filly / Owner-Chili King Stables)
Second in the Beaumont and only fourth against easier last time out, there is little to suggest that Cowboy Melodie can improve enough to win the Acorn and on performance alone, she looks like one of the longer shots to hit the board as well. Workouts are only okay and she has not won since a maiden claiming score last July so tread carefully if you think she can hit the board, or do not waste your selections at all.
Analysis-Got to be in it to win it but she will not win it
4-Lingerie Fantasy (Three-year-old bay filly / Owner-Jerry Garcia Racing)
Lingerie Fantasy did everything but win the Black-Eyed Susan last time out and that experience and a shorter distance might be enough to give her the victory at BEL on Saturday in what could be a turning of the tides for her in these big stakes races. She greatly improved with that effort and could be a leading factor with her good post position but a new jockey rides her and will need to get a great trip out of her if she hopes to upend her PIM rival in this spot.
Analysis-Huge at PIM and the shorter distance only helps
5-Team Nebraska (Three-year-old gray filly / Owner-Downwind Stables)
Duel Grade I winner Team Nebraska was made the choice in the KY Oaks but could not close enough to grab a share of the purse and now, sets her sights on slightly shorter races where her cruising speed can be used to its full effect. She certainly has the speed ratings to compete with the best in the field and with her regular jockey back, she can get into a two-wide position down the backstretch and hopefully, run at what should be a big pace and ran back to that huge effort in the Las Virgenes at SA earlier this season.
Analysis-Puts herself back in the hunt for a championship with victory
6-Shimoon Kruz (Three-year-old black filly / Owner-Ekli Stable)
Jockey changes abound in the Acorn and Shimoon Kruz is another one affected as her regular jockey jumps off in favour of a filly who beat her in the KY Oaks and while her fifth place finish never got her any money, it was a race that saw her close from dead-last and with a pace to chase, she might be doing the same thing once again. She gets a better gate but also gets a late-running jockey and that might leave her with too much to do, way too late, and if you are going to back her for the win, you have to hope that she gets into the race sooner than she did at CD.
Analysis-Needs to get into the race earlier to have a shot
7-Google Maps (Three-year-old gray filly / Owner-Aml Racing)
Google Maps has done nothing wrong in three starts this year and the Grade SA Oaks winner won an even tougher race at PIM on the square, and now gets a chance to cut back in distance and really sit the golden trip behind the inside speed. Three-weeks rest is plenty of time for this filly since she has been lightly raced all season and she warrants a big look at the favourite with a jockey who knows how to ride her, and knows how to win.
Analysis-Big wins at SA and PIM make her the choice
8-Laffin In Texas (Three-year-old bay filly / Owner-Sanny Village)
From a great family and with great credentials, Laffin In Texas was highly regarded in the KY Oaks off two huge wins at GP and FG and missed by the slimmest of margins to two very well-meant rivals, making her a logical choice to take down her first Grade I win for her top connections. Her outside gate could leave her closer to the early pace but wider than she wants down the backstretch but at the one-turn mile, she has all the right moves to get into position and ranks as good as a chance as any with her recent form.
Analysis-Another who could win with a top effort
9-Hydro (Three-year-old black filly / Owner-Team 7 Illusions)
Two wins in state-bred company on the turf does not really spell Grade I winner on the main track and while Hydro might be good enough in workouts, she needs to translate that to the big time on Saturday and looks to be up against it versus proven dirt company. Both of her recent scores have been hard-fought and she will be fighting tooth and nail once again but she looks to be better suited to the grass and might be using this as a gauge before bigger grass races down the line.
Analysis-Gets the acid test here and looks in tough
10-Lovely Rosa (Three-year-old bay filly / Owner-Wolfs Den)
Off the board in three of her last four starts, and in behind many of her rivals, Lovely Rosa does not have the current form to compete with the best in her division and an outside post will only make things tougher for a filly who set the pace in the KY Oaks before fading. She will need to show more of a controlled effort early in avoid letting things get away from her and while her jockey is quite patient, it might not be enough to hit the board in this extremely tough field.
Analysis-Not at her best right now
11-Sense Of Stile (Three-year-old bay filly / Owner-Cajun Stables)
Much like her dam would suggest, Sense of Stile is very intriguing in the Acorn and if you throw out her close second in the Cicada over the AQU slop, you have a filly with three straight wins, albeit in lesser company and with slower times than some in the field. That being said, her closing style at shorter distances will be enhanced by the stretch out to a flat-mile and with an outside post, she is one of the more likely candidates to be passing rivals late with a minor piece well within her grasp.
Analysis-Big jump in class but has the right style
12-Plucky Biscayne (Three-year-old bay filly / Owner-Red Square Stables)
Plucky Biscayne was a gutsy winner of the Grade III Eight Belles at CD on KY Oaks day but was only fourth in the SA Oaks behind one of the favourites in here before that and with the farthest draw, will need to get enough of a pace to force the issue and make up ground against fillies who might be that little bit faster than her. A new jockey, albeit a good one, is another knock against her and while some will look to the fact that she has been competitive at this level, she simply needs to show more to win and one would have to put her in exotics and hope for the best.
Analysis-Outside draw inflates her odds
Over the past number of years, a stalking trip has usually been the most effective way to win the Grade I Acorn and off two huge wins including a Grade I score at SA, Google Maps not only has the talent to win but the right running style and that is why she gets my nod once again in this ultra-tough one-mile contest. Team Nebraska gets a second chance to redeem herself after running on late in the KY Oaks and while Laffin In Texas might be better, both have to prove that they can close into the pace while overcoming the immense amount of traffic that is likely to occur when every filly is straining for the finish line.
Win-Google Maps (3/1)
Place-Team Nebraska (4/1)
Show-Laffin In Texas (5/1)
Triple T Racing
Categories: Grade I