ELMONT, NY – In record-breaking time, Guarana got up to win Saturday’s $700,000 Acorn Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park. This was the second win and second career start for the three-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper who broke her maiden in her first career start at Keeneland in April.
The 9-5 post-time favorite Guarana broke well but settled in behind horses as Serengeti Empress and Cookie Dough were hurried out for the early lead. From the start, the pace was fast as Serengeti Empress and Cookie Dough dueled it out with early fractions of :21.89, :43.99. Into the turn, the Ce Ce moved up from mid-pack to challenge the leader. As Ce Ce started her move, Guarana with jockey Jose Ortiz aboard sprung into action and hit the top of the stretch even with the leader Serengeti Empress. Without hesitation, Guarana flew right by the leader and cruised to an easy six-length victory, finishing in a race record time of 1:33.58. Serengeti Empress finished a comfortable second followed by Jeltrin ahead of Ce Ce in a photo for fourth.
“She broke great,” said jockey Jose Ortiz, who took himself off the Oaks winner Serengeti Empress to ride Guarana. “I thought the moment she broke she could make the lead but then I saw that the 1 and 3 went on and I was able to drop in behind them. It was the first time she dropped behind. Her first race she went wire to wire, but she’s very classy. All I can say is ‘wow!”’
Guarana is bred and owned by Three Chimneys Farm and trained 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],” said winning trainer Chad Brown. “To have his daughter who is equally as brilliant, hopefully, under our care is an incredible feeling. I’m a very lucky guy.”
Guarana returned $5.80 to win, $3.50 to place, and $3.30 to show. Serengeti Empress brought back $4.70 to place and $3.70 to show, while Jeltrin paid $9.50 to show.