She broke her maiden in her first start by 14 3/4 lengths at Keeneland in April, and Three Chimenys' homebred Guarana delivered on that promise in Saturday's Grade 1 Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park. The 3-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper defeated Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress by six lengths as the 9-5 post-time favorite, completing a mile on the fast main track in 1:33.58. Ridden by Jose Ortiz, Guarana is conditioned by Chad Brown.
“She reminds me a lot of her father [Ghostzapper], so it's extra special to me having worked so closely with Ghostzappper and learning under Bobby [Frankel],” Brown said. “To have his daughter, who is equally as brilliant hopefully under our care is an incredible feeling. I'm a very lucky guy.”
Serengeti Empress broke a bit to the inside, but rushed up to set the pace with pressure early from Cookie Dough. The Oaks winner laid down very solid fractions of :21.89, :43.99, and 1:08.03 on the front end.
Meanwhile, Guarana broke sharply but settled in fourth down the backstretch, allowing Ortiz to shift her to the rail and save ground through the far turn. When he saw a chance to angle her out in the lane, the filly responded willingly and blew right by Serengeti Empress.
Guarana cruised under the wire all alone, the winner by six lengths, while Serengeti Empress had to settle for second. It was another 2 1/4 lengths back to Jeltrin in third, while Ce Ce finished a head back of her in fourth. Queen of Beas, Proud Emma, Bell's The One, Cookie Dough, and Fancy Dress Party completed the order of finish.
“It was a hard decision to take off the Oaks winner, but I didn't want to miss this opportunity,” Ortiz said. “She broke her maiden in very good fashion. Chad was kind of letting the filly tell him if she wanted to do this race. Last time she worked, he said she worked unbelievably and wanted to try her in the Acorn. I said, 'I have faith and I'll stick with you because I really like the filly.'”
Bred in Kentucky by her owner, Guarana is out of the winning Distorted Humor mare Magical World, a Phipps homebred out of the millionaire Breeders' Cup Distaff-winning mare Pleasant Home (Seeking the Gold). Her debut came in April at Keeneland, and the filly has now won both of her career starts by a combined 20 3/4 lengths for earnings of over $450,000.
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