December 6, 2022

Guarana tries two turns against only four in CCA Oaks

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

Guarana improved to two-for-two with an outstanding six-length win in the one-mile Acorn (G1) on the Belmont Stakes undercard and the three-year-old filly has all the makings of a superstar in her division. She will make her two-turn debut as the overwhelming favorite in the $500,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), now rescheduled for Sunday at Saratoga. Excessive heat prompted the early cancellation of Saturday’s card, which has been shifted in its entirety to Sunday, with a first post of 12:20 p.m. (EDT).

Only four rivals will challenge the Three Chimneys Farm homebred and Jose Ortiz rides the Chad Brown trainee.

Bred to handle the added distance of the 1 1/8-mile CCA Oaks, Guarana is by 2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Ghostzapper, the broodmare sire of 2018 Triple Crown victor Justify. The bay sophomore is out of a mare by Distorted Humor, sire of 2003 Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide. Guarana receives additional female stamina influences from Seeking the Gold (second maternal damsire) and Pleasant Colony (third maternal damsire).

Guarana won at first asking as the 4-5 favorite at Keeneland in mid-April, scoring by a 14-length margin, and drew off impressively as the 9-5 choice in the Acorn. She’s registered BRIS Speed ratings as high as 102 and breaks from the innermost post position.

Black-Eyed Susan (G2) winner Point of Honor is the main challenger. Three-for-four in her career, the George Weaver-trained daughter of Curlin earned a field-best 103 BRIS Speed rating when prevailing by a half-length at Pimlico last out. Javier Castellano rides back for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Stetson Racing.

Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) winner Champagne Anyone will make her first appearance since a rallying fourth in the Kentucky Oaks (G1). Ian Wilkes conditions the Street Sense filly and Chris Landeros will be up. Grade 2-placed Off Topic, fifth most recently in the Black-Eyed Susan, and turf stakes winner Boxwood complete the field.

The Coaching Club American Oaks is the fourth of 13 races, concluding with the Shuvee (G3), the originally scheduled Sunday feature.

The other Saturday stakes transferred to Sunday, the $200,000 Caress at 5 ½ furlongs on turf, has attracted nine distaffers. Seven-time stakes queen Morticia, a 2 ¼-length winner of a $104,000 allowance at Churchill Downs last out, could go favored for Rusty Arnold. She captured the 2017 Coronation Cup at Saratoga over the course and distance.

Other contenders include Significant Form and Fire Key, the one-two finishers in the June 6 Intercontinental (G3) at Belmont Park; and 2018 Coronation Cup winner Broadway Run, a close fourth in the Intercontinental.