ELMONT, NY – Michael Lund Petersen’s Gamine took the field all the way around while airing out in the stretch to win Saturday’s $300,000 Acorn Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park.
Breaking strongly from the rail under John Velazquez as the 3/5 heavy favorite, Gamine jumped straight to the lead. Lucrezia and Water White gave closest chase, but neither applied any pressure as the bettors’ choice posted opening fractions of :22.48 and :45.28.
Still a clear ledaer as she rounded the far turn, Gamine drew off resoundingly in the stretch to win by 18 3/4 lengths. The Bob Baffert trainee completed the mile-long fast dirt event in a final time of 1:32.55 – just 0.31 seconds off the track record.
“She was very good,” Velazquez said. “Nice ride. She did everything I wanted her to do. She’s a little bit on the aggressive side, but I let her relax around the backstretch. Once we got to the 5/16 pole, I let her run. By the 1/4-pole, she opened up so quickly I had to look back. She’s very nice and professional. I wish they were all that easy.”
Though clearly no match for the runaway winner, Pleasant Orb made a mild bid through the turn and in the stretch to hold second by a 1/2-length over Water White. The rest of the field was strung out behind them, coming across in order as Lucrezia, Perfect Alibi, Casual, and Glass Ceiling to complete the order of finish.
The Acorn is part of the Road to the 2020 Kentucky Oaks prep race season. Gamine earned 50 points for the win, with Pleasant Orb receiving 20 for second, Water White 10 for third, and Lucrezia 5 for fourth.
Gamine’s win was her third from as many career starts, having broken her maiden on debut at Santa Anita Park in early March before winning an optional claiming event at Oaklawn Park two months later. The 3-year-old Into Mischief filly – purchased for $1.8 million as an unraced juvenile – has now bankrolled $234,600.
“It was an amazing race out of her,” Baffert assistant Jimmy Barnes said. “Especially coming into a Grade 1 and for it being only her third start. Johnny rode her right to the way we told him to go. We told him to take advantage of her position and he certainly did.”
Gamine returned $3.40 to win, $3 to place, and $2.60 to show. Pleasant Orb brought back $15.60 to place and $7.80 to show, while Water White paid $7.10 to show.