SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Winning in wire-to-wire fashion, Guarana got a great jump and never looked back in Saturday’s $500,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) at Saratoga. The three-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper is a perfect three for three in her career and adds a second graded stakes win to her resume to accompany her win in the G1 Acorn at Belmont last month.
Breaking from the gate at odds of 1-5 Guarana shot to the lead with Champagne Anyone nor far behind on her outside. Behind them sat Off Topic on the outside with Boxwood on the inside and Point of Honor took up the rear. Guarana controlled the race the whole way around the track and set fractions of :24.27, :49.49, and 1:13.58.
Into the far turn, Champagne Anyone put pressure on the front Running Guarana but Guarana responded to the treat and easily maintained her lead as she moved ahead for a two-length lead by the top of the streatch. Point of Honor shot up from the outside and ran on well to get up for second but Guarana was too good to catch and finished a length ahead in first. Point of Honor settled for second with Off Topic in Third and Champagne Anyone in fourth. Boxwood was last.
“I had a very good trip. She broke very clean and I went to the lead,” said jockey Jose Ortiz, who has been aboard for every Guarana start. “She was traveling very nice along the backside. From the three-eighths pole, I started feeling a little more pressure from Champagne Anyone and I asked her to start moving up and she responded really good.
Photo Credit: NYRA PHOTO
After the race an objection was lodged by the connections of second-place finisher Point of Honor, however, the Steward’s decision was that no foul was committed and the order of finish was made official.
“She [Guarana] came out too quick and intimidated my horse. I did have to stop riding a little bit. She came out pretty far,” jockey Javier Castellano said.
Guarana is trained by Chad Brown and is bred and owned by Three Chimney’s Farm. This was her first try at the mile and an eighth distance building on her 6 1/2 furlong debut and mile win last time out. She demonstrated today that she is at the top of the class in the three-year-old filly division and a horse to watch and the division heats up heading into the latter part of the year.
“She handled a mile and an eighth well,” winning trainer Chad Brown said. “I thought she got a really good ride from Jose (Ortiz). Nice, comfortable fractions and had enough to get to the wire. The runner-up ran terrific as well. It was a good horse race. I think she got a little lonely out there towards the wire, but like Jose indicated to me, she was starting to get a little tired. She did overreact to the stick a little bit. It caused her to briefly come out, but she was well clear.”
Guarana returned $2.50 to win and $2.10 to place. Point of Honor brought back $2.60 to place.