November 30, 2023

Guarana gallops in Churchill Downs comeback

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

Multiple Grade 1 star Guarana kicked off her 4-year-old campaign by dominating Thursday’s 8TH race at Churchill Downs. The class of the field as the 1-5 favorite, the Chad Brown filly won as she pleased while splashing 7 furlongs in 1:22.58 on the sloppy track.

Conditions were no concern for Guarana, who’d crushed her Keeneland debut in the slop last April. The Ghostzapper filly rapidly ascended the class ladder to romp in the Acorn (G1), and handled two turns when controlling the pace in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1). She lost her perfect record in the Sept. 21 Cotillion (G1), winding up second, and headed to the sidelines.

Guarana showed no rust under the Twin Spires. Flashing speed early, she heeded Tyler Gaffalione and let the 9-1 Sunny Dale go forward through fractions of :22.67 and :45.21. Guarana, perched to strike in second, launched at the top of the stretch and put the race away in a couple of strides. She opened up by 5 1/4 lengths at the wire despite coasting home.

The 13-1 Please Flatter Me overtook Sunny Dale for the runner-up spot. Abounding Joy rallied for fourth, followed by Lady Suebee, Peruvian Appeal, Bohemian Bourbon, and Headland. Unique Factor was scratched.

“That’s about as easy as a horse can win,” Gaffalione told track publicity. “She’s a super classy filly and incredibly talented.”

Guarana could be part of a sister act at Churchill, since her 3-year-old half-sibling, Magic Dance, lines up in Saturday’s Dogwood (G3). They are out of the Distorted Humor mare Magical World, a daughter of 2005 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) romper Pleasant Home from the family of multiple Grade 1 winners Pine Island and Point of Entry.

A Three Chimneys homebred racing for a partnership with Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings, Guarana has bankrolled $928,268 from her 5-4-1-0 record.

“She is an incredible filly and did everything so easily today,” said Whit Beckman, Brown’s assistant at Churchill.

“There are bigger things down the road for her, but it is great to see her get back to the races, especially the way she was able to win as she did today.”