August 5, 2020

Guarana stays sprinting in Madison; Shakertown attracts full field

Guarana outclassed her foes in her 2020 premiere at Churchill Downs (Coady Photography)

Guarana has won as far as 1 1/8 miles, but could be set to do a lot of damage in one-turn sprints this year with any success in Saturday’s $250,000 Madison Stakes (G1) at Keeneland.

An impressive June 3 allowance scorer at Churchill Downs in her season debut, Guarana figures to go favored in the 7-furlong Madison, a track-and-distance prep for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) in November.

Guarana early on established her one-turn bona fides, posting a 14 3/4-length maiden win going 6 1/2 furlongs at Keeneland last April and following up with a stakes-record romp in the one-mile Acorn (G1) at Belmont. She concluded her brief 3-year-old campaign winning the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) and finishing second in the Cotillion (G1).

Bell’s the One has scored two upset wins in graded company, but is unlikely to be overlooked this time. The Neil Pessin-trained filly captured the Raven Run (G2) here last October and the May 30 Winning Colors (G3) at Churchill most recently, both at odds of 13-1.

Mia Mischief has enjoyed the bulk of her success at Churchill and Oaklawn, but is far from a tossout over the Keeneland strip despite a recent dull third in the Winning Colors. The speedy Amy’s Challenge, a neck second in the 2019 Madison after setting the pace, will again be the one to catch shipping in from her Canterbury base.

Sally’s Curlin enters having won four of her last five, including the Chilukki (G3) and Hurricane Bertie (G3). Wildwood’s Beauty chased that rival in the Hurricane Bertie two back and also placed in the Inside Information (G2) at Gulfstream over the winter.

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A full gate of turf sprinters are set to dash 5 1/2 furlongs in the $150,000 Shakertown Stakes (G2), with Bound for Nowhere seeking to avenge a neck loss in the 2019 edition at odds of 8-5. The Wesley Ward charge was last seen losing another photo, in the San Simeon (G3) at Santa Anita, on Mar. 21.

Likely vying for favoritism is Wildman Jack, who followed up a score in the Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint (G3) in Dubai in early March with a nose victory in the May 23 Daytona (G3) at Santa Anita, when he zipped 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:01.

Only a length behind in the Daytona was Texas Wedge, recently third in the Jaipur (G1) after making a premature lead. Fast Boat enters off a powerful allowance win at Churchill Downs on June 12, while a May 29 allowance at the same venue yields capable starters Extravagant Kid, Leinster, and Totally Boss.