Race Previews

Cotillion Stakes Preview: Abel Tasman Goes for Four in a Row

Chris Rahayel/NYRA

The Grade 1 Cotillion Stakes, the highlight of the Parx meet, has drawn a solid field of twelve horses with ten betting interests (trainer Todd Pletcher has a triple entry in the race). The race will go off as the tenth on a 13-race card filled with stakes races and fantastic betting opportunities from top to bottom. Post time for this year’s Cotillion is 4:55 EST.

Trainer Bob Baffert will be the main story on Saturday at Parx as he sends a pair of 3-year-old superstars to run. In the Cotillion, Abel Tasman will lead the Baffert charge. Abel Tasman is coming off of three straight victories, including a big win last time out at Saratoga in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks. The filly is nearly a lock for 3-year-old female of the year and will look to add to her resume in this spot. Her long-term goal is the Breeders’ Cup Distaff against older fillies and mares. Mike Smith will have the mount once again in this race.

Several fillies come into the race with upset on their mind, the most classy of them being Salty. The Mark Casse trainee has run behind some solid horses all year long, including Abel Tasman on a few occasions. She is long overdue to pick up a big-time win like this, but she can sometimes be her own worst enemy, as she doesn’t usually break cleanly out of the gate. If she can get over that issue, it will give her a big chance.

Rounding out the field are: Thirstforthecup, Stay Fond, Run and Go, Lockdown, Actress, Proud and Fearless, It Tiz Well, Mopotism, Sine Wave, and Teresa Z.

Top Choice

#9 Abel Tasman – She’s turned into a fantastic horse who now has Grade 1 wins in the Kentucky Oaks, Acorn, and CCA Oaks. That run has locked up the Eclipse Award for her, but she’s now prepping for the Breeders’ Cup, where she will take on older horses for the first time. Before that race, though, she’ll try to take home her fourth straight win in the Cotillion. There’s really no reason to bet against her, as it looks like she’s showing up in good form. She’s been working out well leading into the race and has had adequate time off since her last start. It should be more of the same for her here, as all she does lately is win.

Horses to Use in Multi-Race Wagers

#10 Salty – What can you say about her? She shows up with a great race every time, no matter where she’s at or what distance she’s running. However, she can’t seem to break through and get a victory in a big-time race against top-flight company. The biggest reason why is herself… she breaks poorly in every race that she enters. This gets her too far behind early on, and she can’t quite make up the ground at the end. At a mile and 1/16, I think she’s at her best distance, though, which will help her have a shot to turn the tables on Abel Tasman. She’s worth a look as she’s the best alternative to the favorite.

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Exotic Plays

#5 It Tiz Well – She was an impressive second-place finisher in the Grade 1 Alabama in her last race after winning the Grade 3 Delaware Park Oaks two back. She’s hit the board in every race but one during her nine-race career. Look for her to get out to the early lead and try to take them as long as she can. In the past, Parx has been kind to horses on the front end on big days, which will only help It Tiz Well. She’ll give a solid effort.

#2 Lockdown – She put in a really disappointing effort in the Alabama after a solid run in the Grade 2 Mother Goose to finish second. Maybe she just isn’t quite good enough to compete with elite company, or maybe she just had an off day. The performance has me scared to use her too aggressively in this race, but she could make a small impact underneath if she can get back to her best race.

#6 Mopotism – When she’s at her best, she can make a little bit of noise. I have no thoughts of putting her on top on any of my tickets, but at 20-1, she’s not without a shot to finish underneath. She’s hit the board in five out of eight stakes races during her career, and while she doesn’t match up well with the top two, it’s not out of the question that she can beat everyone else. She could make some minor noise.

Party Crashers

#1 Thirstforthecup, #1A Stay Fond, and #1X Run and Go – Trainer Todd Pletcher enters a triple entry here, and at odds of 12-1, they warrant attention. Thirstforthecup is the most eye-catching of the three after she won by 16 lengths in her last race. Stay Fond doesn’t look to be much, but Run and Go is undefeated in two lifetime starts. This is a difficult first stakes try for her, but she won her two races in dominating fashion. It’s debatable how well this trio will match up with the top ones in this race, but you get three for the price of one, and there’s a good chance that the price won’t be too bad.

Throw Outs

#4 Proud and Fearless – She seemed to be on an upward trend before losing badly in the Monmouth Park Oaks in her last race. That was not the real her, as she had been performing much better, but I still think she’s in trouble as far as this race goes. It’s a very tough spot.

#8 Teresa Z – She comes into this race off of back-to-back wins, with her last victory coming in the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks. That race was decent enough, but it wasn’t nearly as good as the competition that she’ll be facing here. All fillies that I “threw out” aren’t bad horses, but they have trouble matching up with the likes of Abel Tasman.

#3 Actress – Her win in the Grade 2 Black Eyed Susan was solid, but that field has left a lot to be desired, as several horses have struggled coming out of that race. Actress hasn’t been all that great, either, and at 5-1, she’s a major play against.

#7 Sine Wave – She looks to be a pretty nice filly, she just isn’t cut out for this type of competition. She’s a three-time winner but has not been able to pull off a stakes win yet. She’s finished second in two Grade 3 attempts, but this is a very tough spot for her. She’s also entered in Saturday’s Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks, so she may not even run here.

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