Acorn S. (G1) — Race 5 (2:01 p.m. ET)
Search Results, narrowly second in the April 30 Kentucky Oaks (G1) to the best three-year-old filly in the land in Malathaat, will look to get back in the win column on Saturday in the $500,000 Acorn S. (G1) at Belmont Park over one mile.
The Chad Brown trainee entered the Oaks undefeated in three starts, including wins in the Busher S. and Gazelle (G3) at Aqueduct, but found Malathaat slightly too tough over nine furlongs. However, the margin was only a neck after a stretch-long duel.
“She’s come back and worked really well,” Brown said. “I’ve been doing this long enough to know that even if they work well, you’re going to find out how they’re really doing at the quarter pole and how much the last race did or didn’t affect them. I just can’t pass on a race where she would be favorite in a Grade 1 and she’s training this well.
“I am looking at the five weeks wishing I had a little more time for my own comfort, knowing what a hard stretch duel it was, but she’s doing well.”
Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) heroine Travel Column, who retreated to fifth in the Kentucky Oaks after setting the pace, could get the pressing trip in the Acorn that connections probably expected her to have had going into the Churchill Downs fixture.
“I like the cutback from a mile and an eighth to a one-turn mile. I think it’ll be a positive for her,” trainer Brad Cox said. “With a good setup, she can make a big impression on Saturday.”
A potential target might be Dayoutoftheoffice, one of the top fillies in the division last year whose belated sophomore debut came in the Eight Belles (G2) on the Oaks undercard. Stalking the pace that day, the daughter of Into Mischief ran well, but was run down late by longshot Obligatory, who looms as a serious threat again here.
Miss Brazil has won three of her last four, with a half-length loss to Search Results in the Busher her only setback during that span.
Woody Stephens S. (G1) — Race 3 (12:47 p.m. ET)
Jackie’s Warrior and Dream Shake, who put on a dazzling stretch duel in the Pat Day Mile (G2) on Kentucky Derby Day, renew acquaintance in the $400,000 Woody Stephens S. (G1) for three-year-olds.
One of the top juveniles last season when a victorious in the Hopeful (G1) and Champagne (G1), Jackie’s Warrior just lasted by a head in the Pat Day Mile over the less experienced Dream Shake, who debuted in February and placed in the longer San Felipe (G2) and Santa Anita Derby (G1) before reverting to the one turn of the Pat Day Mile.
While cutting back to seven furlongs might give an edge to Jackie’s Warrior, the presence of other speed, in particular Drain the Clock, might aid Dream Shake’s chances at a form reversal. Another hoping for a contested pace is Caddo River, a former classic prospect who most recently finished second in the Arkansas Derby (G1).