Lightly-Tested Guarana Hopes To Stay Perfect, Stretch Out In Coaching Club American Oaks

by | 07.17.2019 | 5:56pm
Guarana (Ghostzapper) and jockey Jose Ortiz win the Acorn (Gr I) at Belmont Park 6/8/19. Trainer: Chad Brown. Owner: Three Chimneys Farm

Guarana has done no wrong in both of her career starts and will attempt to keep her unbeaten record alive in Saturday's Grade 1, $500,000 Coaching Club American Oaks, a nine-furlong test for sophomore fillies on the main track at Saratoga Race Course.

Owned by Three Chimneys Farm and trained by Chad Brown, the bay Ghostzapper filly dazzled in her career debut at Keeneland by 14 ¾ lengths, registering a 93 Beyer Speed Figure for the impressive first-out win. Guarana made the jump to Grade 1 caliber for the one-mile Acorn in her next start, where she was a runaway six-length victor over Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress, recording a 99 Beyer.

A homebred, Guarana is a half-sister to Magic Dance, who also is unbeaten in two career starts and won the Debutante at Churchill Downs last month. Guarana will leave from post 1 and will once again be guided by two-time Saratoga leading rider Jose Ortiz.

Looking for a fourth-career victory after running fourth in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks for trainer Ian Wilkes is Champagne Anyone.

The bay daughter of Street Sense won the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks two starts back after a pair of third-place efforts at the South Florida oval in the Grade 3 Forward Gal and Grade 2 Davona Dale.

“She's training well and I'm happy with her,” Wilkes said. “I freshened her up, backed off a bit and just was trying to get her ready for this race.”

Wilkes said he anticipated more speed in the Kentucky Oaks, where eventual winner Serengeti Empress set a moderate pace and won going gate-to-wire.

“That always happens when you read the form and all the speed is in the race and then they all stay there and look at each other,” Wilkes said. “Kudos to [Serengeti Empress], she took advantage of it. She made the running and won. My filly got shuffled back a little further than she should've been, but I was happy with the way she finished.”

Champagne Anyone, owned by Six Column Stables and Randall Bloch, broke her maiden second time out at Ellis Park last summer before a subsequent victory against winners at Keeneland in a race that featured eventual graded stakes-winner Oxy Lady.

Breaking from post 2, Champagne Anyone will be guided by Chris Landeros, Wilkes' son-in-law.

Point of Honor, fourth to Champagne Anyone in the Gulfstream Park Oaks, seeks a second graded stakes victory in the Coaching Club American Oaks.

Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Stetson Racing, Point of Honor won the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico last time out, where she recorded a career best 90 Beyer Speed Figure.

She won her first career start for trainer George Weaver when scoring over the slop at Gulfstream Park by 6 lengths in December before a win in the Suncoast at Tampa Bay Downs in February.

Point of Honor will be ridden by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano and will break from post 5.

Completing the field for the Coaching Club American Oaks are Boxwood [post 3, Irad Ortiz, Jr.] and Off Topic [post 4, Manny Franco].

The Coaching Club American Oaks is carded as Race 3. First post for Saturday afternoon's 11-race program, which also features the $200,000 Caress in Race 10, is 1 p.m. Eastern.

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