Guarana will be strongly favored to earn a third top-level victory in just her fourth career start on Saturday in the $1 million Cotillion (G1) at Parx.
Unlike her leading Cotillion rivals, the daughter of Ghostzapper bloomed too late to become a viable Kentucky Oaks (G1) contender last spring. However, that didn’t stop the Chad Brown trainee from seizing control of division leadership during the summer with back-to-back wins in the Acorn (G1) and Coaching Club American Oaks (G1).
Serengeti Empress, the Kentucky Oaks winner who was six lengths adrift of Guarana in the Acorn, will look to snap a two-race losing skid. The speedy filly, who breaks from post 1 for the third straight time in the 1 1/16-mile Cotillion, exits a narrow second-place finish to Covfefe in the seven-furlong Test (G1).
A distant third in the Test as the favorite was Bellafina, who was also the beaten public choice in the Kentucky Oaks when fifth. Her otherwise exemplary career has included six stakes wins, all in California, with three at Grade 1 level.
Jaywalk, the champion of the division at two, has lost four of five as a three-year-old, the lone bright spot being a nine-length score in the Delaware Oaks (G3). However, the Cross Traffic miss was surprised in the Monmouth Oaks (G3) last time by Horologist.
Street Band was a nondescript seventh in the Kentucky Oaks, but has shown decent form most of the year. First in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) and Indiana Oaks (G3), she was most recently third in the Alabama (G1) to the Brown-trained Dunbar Road.
The Cotillion is a Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” Challenge prep for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Santa Anita on November 2.