November 25, 2020

Guarana overpowers Acorn foes in second lifetime start

Guarana proves victorious under jockey Jose Ortiz in the Acorn Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park on June 8, 2019 (c) Horsephotos.com/Uli Seit

Stakes records on the Belmont Park main track continued to fall Saturday through the $700,000 Acorn (G1), when second-time starter Guarana surged past the tiring Kentucky Oaks (G1) heroine Serengeti Empress in upper stretch to win the historic one-mile feature for three-year-old fillies by six lengths in time of 1:33.58 over a fast track.

Favored at 19-10 against eight rivals off of a 14 3/4-length debut victory at Keeneland on April 19, Guarana saved ground behind Serengeti Empress, who dueled with Cookie Dough through opening fractions of :21.89 and :43.99. Guarana moved off the inside approaching the turn for home, and was within a head of Serengeti Empress after six furlongs in 1:08.03. She then quickly seized the lead from the Oaks winner and drew off easily under Jose Ortiz.

“She broke great,” said Ortiz, who had ridden Serengeti Empress in the Kentucky Oaks. “I thought the moment she broke she could make the lead but then I saw that the 1 and 3 went on and I was able to drop in behind them. It was the first time she dropped behind. Her first race she went wire to wire, but she’s very classy. All I can say is ‘wow!”’

A homebred racing for Three Chimneys Farm and trained by Chad Brown, Guarana paid $5.80 and has now earned $422,400. Serengeti Empress held second by 2 1/4 lengths over 46-1 outsider Jeltrin, who garnered third by a head over Ce Ce.

Bred in Kentucky, Guarana is by Ghostzapper and out of Magical World, by Distorted Humor. Her second dam is Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) winner Pleasant Home and her fourth dam was Alabama (G1) winner Maplejinsky, who reared Hall of Fame filly Sky Beauty.

“She reminds me a lot of her father, so it’s extra special to me having worked so closely with Ghostzappper and learning under Bobby (Frankel),” Brown said. “To have his daughter who is equally as brilliant, hopefully, under our care is an incredible feeling. I’m a very lucky guy.”