Belmont Stakes

Kentucky Oaks, Black-Eyed Susan Winners Meet in G1 Acorn

CATHRYN SOPHIA - Longines Kentucky Oaks - 142nd Running Gr I - 05-06-16 - R11 - CD - Coady Photography
Coady Photography

ELMONT, N.Y. – A matchup of the Kentucky Oaks and Black-Eyed Susan winners highlights the field in the Grade 1, $700,000 Acorn for 3-year-old fillies on the Belmont Park main track on Saturday, Belmont Stakes Day.

Cathryn Sophia will aim for her second Grade 1 victory in as many starts for trainer John Servis. The bay filly is 5-0-1 in six career starts and is coming off her first Grade 1 win in the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 7. The daughter of Street Boss has registered 90-plus Beyer Speed Figures in all of her races and enters off an impressive workout at five furlongs in 58.40 seconds on June 1 at Monmouth Park.

Go Maggie Go, trained by Dale Romans, has won three of her first four career starts, including a 2 1/2-length victory in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico Race Course on May 20.

“She’s special,” Romans said. “It’s going to be a good race. It’s a really hot race, and you could see a champion come out of there.”

Servis said Cathryn Sophia will arrive at Belmont on Friday. After winning over 1 1/8 miles at Churchill, she will now look to be successful in the one-mile Acorn leaving from post position 5.

“It’s a solid field for sure,” Servis said. “I’m not sure if you can compare it, because of the different distances, but it’s a good field of fillies.”

Jockey Javier Castellano will be in the irons for the fourth consecutive time after guiding Cathryn Sophia to two victories and a third-place showing in the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland. Both of those wins, as well as the Grade 2 Fasig-Tipton Davona Dale, showcased Cathryn Sophia’s late kick with Castellano letting the Street Boss filly surge down the stretch.

“She looks great,” Servis said. “It [strategy] will depend on how the race sets up, but I’ll leave that up to Javier.”

Go Maggie Go will make her fourth straight graded stakes start and leave from the outside post position. The Mike Tarp-owned bay filly registered her maiden-breaking victory on March 13 and parlayed that showing into a 2 1/4-length win in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks before heading to Churchill.

“She’s the first horse I ever took off a maiden win and won a Grade 2,” Romans said. “I’m glad I did, because it put us right where I need to be in these other races.

“Nobody expected her to do that [win a Grade 2 in her second start] and I didn’t know that she could. I just figured she was doing good and like we say, if they’re doing good, run them. She was impressive,” he added.

Jockey Luiz Saez has ridden Go Maggie Go in every start, including a strong performance in the Kentucky Oaks in which she went from seventh at the stretch to finish fourth in a crowded field. He will be in the saddle again.

“The best race she ever ran was the Oaks,” Romans said. “She got left and it was the first time she really ate a lot of dirt. I think if he stayed left-handed from the quarter pole, she’d [be] second. I thought that was a very impressive race. The wins are nice, but she overcame a lot to be where she was in that 14-horse field of good fillies.”

Three Chimneys Farm’s Carina Mia will give the talented field three multiple graded stakes winners. Carina Mia registered a six-length win last out in the Grade 2 Eight Belles and also won the Grade 2 Golden Rod at Churchill in her stakes debut. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Carina Mill will be making her second career Grade 1 start after a fourth-place finish in the Ashland after leading early. She will leave from post position 4.

Rounding out the field are Forever Darling, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Congrats, who came in second last out in the listed Angels Flight at Santa Anita Park and will leave from the inside post position for trainer Richard Baltas, and Paola Queen, who will leave from post position 2 in making her first start since a ninth-place Kentucky Oaks finish.

Trainer Todd Pletcher has Off the Tracks cross entered in both Friday’s $150,000 Jersey Girl and the Acorn. She is slated to leave from post position 2 with Hall of Famer John Velazquez in the irons. Velazquez will also be on the saddle if she starts the Jersey Girl instead.


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