Acorn Stakes Entries: Cox's Matareya looks strong

The Acorn Stakes for 3-yr-old fillies has a compact field ... Super trainers have assembled ... Cox, Pletcher, and Asmussen ... take a look at this preview!
The Acorn Stakes for 3-yr-old fillies has a compact field ... Super trainers have assembled ... Cox, Pletcher, and Asmussen ... take a look at this preview!

Race 3: 1 Mile (Dirt) The Acorn Stakes (G1) $500k, 3F (Saturday)

If there is a “highlight” race for 3-yr-old fillies, then it must be the Acorn S. to the tune of $500k. With a major portion going to the victor, there are a number of celebrated trainers who want to see their charge get home. Over the past 3 years, on 2 separate occasions, it was Chad Brown that lifted the trophy. First it was Guarana, and then Search Results (last year) … they turned in stellar performances. Brown isn’t present this year, so will a new face take the stage?

Now, let’s find out about this field…


#1 Dream Lith (Jky: R. Vazquez/Trn: R. Diodoro):

The last time we saw this filly by Medaglia d’Oro it was on the Matt Winn grass at Churchill in the G2 Edgewood S. That’s always a “key” route race in the division. Robertino Diodoro watched as his charge ended up 5th at double-digit odds. That aberration is behind them, and now it is time to switch back to the dirt. She will not find it any easier though, especially against this tough crowd. Regular rider Ramon Vasquez had a strong Oaklawn Meet … for sure, a plus. Where is that 2-yr-old form from the Golden Rod (G2) last November?

Grade: C+


#2 Inventing (Jky: I. Ortiz/Trn: T. Pletcher):

This might be a sleeper pick from the barn of HOF-er, Todd Pletcher. With a pair of career races to her credit (both 2nd Place endings in Apr/May), the daughter of Union Rags could be pointed in the proper direction. Let’s not forget that she was purchased for $390k at the Keeneland September Sale in 2020 by Woodford Racing and Repole Stable. If she is 20/1 at post time with Irad Ortiz in the irons, I would be pleasantly surprised. Nothing like an overlay from the likes of these connections. She is going to have to go much faster, of course, and that makes this spot a tough one. I am interested …

Grade: B+


#3 Divine Huntress (Jky: L. Saez/Trn: G. Motion):

Trainer Graham Motion has paired with Eclipse Thoroughbreds in the past, and they have enjoyed success. This daughter of Divining Rod was up against some tough foes in the Rachel Alexandra (G2), Gazelle (G3), and last time out, in the Black-Eyed Susan (G2). The positive news is that she has built some nice class lines. Motion is making a rider switch from Flavien Prat (who rides Cox’s entry) to Luis Saez. That could be a great decision, especially considering that this jockey is one of the best in the business when it comes to ranging up on the outside … pushing the envelope down the lane. A chance …

Grade: B


#4 Matareya (Jky: F. Prat/Trn: B. Cox):

The Godolphin homebred rolls into Belmont after winning 3 in-a-row. In a short amount of time, the daughter of Pioneerof the Nile has jumped from running in ALLW Co. at Oaklawn and the Fair Grounds to competing ably against G3, and then G2 types. Flavien Prat rode her impressively at Keeneland, and Cox found his go-to pilot. If the fractions are even remotely “honest,” then she has a big shot to win this race. Her ability to track the pace is quite impressive, and her Eclipse-winning conditioner is hungry for a Grade 1 score.

Grade: A-


#5 Echo Zulu (Jky: J. Rosario/Trn: S. Asmussen):

I am really wondering which “Echo” will be sounding off in this race. The $300k daughter of Gun Runner wowed us throughout her 2-yr-old campaign, enroute to an impressive 5+ length score in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). Her HOF trainer Steve Asmussen made the call to keep her on-the-bench through most of the spring. In the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), her ’22 debut, she won by a whisker over Calhoun’s Hidden Connection. Some shook their heads … Was she up to the challenge of running as a 3-yr-old, they asked? Finishing off-the-board to Secret Oath in the KYOaks (G1) was not what the connections wanted to see. In other words, Joel Rosario and this filly have something to prove. I am not convinced that she is a route runner. Are we looking at the female version of Jackie’s Warrior … another Asmussen cut back artist? We will see …

Grade: B


Join us Saturday for all of our Belmont Stakes card selections! Should be a great set of races from NYRA’s home in Elmont, New York! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter … Horseracing_USA !!!

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