Kauai Katie is even money to keep her perfect
record in 2013 intact Monday when she faces five other 3-year-old
fillies in the 83rd running of the Grade 1, $300,000 Acorn at
The one-mile Acorn will be run as race 9 on the 11-race Memorial Day card, one of a trio of graded stakes supporting the 121st running of the Grade 1, $750,000
A winner of six of her seven starts by a combined margin of 39
lengths, Kauai Katie opened her sophomore campaign with an eight-length
score going six furlongs in the
Grade 3 Old Hat on New Year’s Day, and later that month added a
front-running, 5 ½-length triumph in the Grade 2 Forward Gal at seven
furlongs, both at Gulfstream Park. She returned from a three-month
freshening with an easy win in the seven-furlong Road Princess
overnight stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack.
“We didn’t want to go from a long break from the Forward Gal to
the Acorn, so that’s why we ran her in the overnight stakes,” said Todd
Pletcher, who trains the Malibu
Moon filly for Stonestreet Stables. “We’re hoping she got enough out of
it to set her up for this.”
The Acorn will be Kauai Katie’s second start beyond seven
furlongs, having suffered her only career loss when she was fourth in
the 1 1/16-mile Breeders’ Cup Juvenile
“I don’t think, for whatever reason, she handled the Santa Anita
surface at all,” said Pletcher. “She’s been very consistent other than
that. We know she’s a top-class
sprinter, and we’re hoping we can stretch her out to a mile.”
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, who was aboard for both Kauai Katie’s victories in
Florida, will ride from post position 1.
Expected to attract considerable support is the Bob
Baffert-trained Midnight Lucky, who set the pace in the Kentucky Oaks
before fading to finish fifth. The gray daughter
of Midnight Lute was a 7 ¼-length winner first time out on February 16
at Santa Anita Park, in which she earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 100,
and next romped by eight lengths in the Sunland Park Oaks.
Baffert, who won last year’s Acorn with Contested, has named
Rosie Napravnik to ride the Mike Pegram color-bearer, the 7-5 second
choice on the morning line from post
Drawing the outside post position Grade 2 Gazelle winner Close
Hatches, most recently seventh behind winner Princess of Sylmar in the
Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks. Trained
by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the First Defence filly rallied from ninth
to win her first start on January 26 at
Park, and next was a front-running winner of an optional claimer going 1 1/16 miles.
“She didn’t seem to run her race in the Kentucky Oaks,” said
Mott of Close Hatches, a Juddmonte Farms’ homebred. “She had trained
well coming into the race, and she
seems to be doing well again back in New York. The distance shouldn’t be a problem as she’s a filly who has some speed.”
Joel Rosario will ride Close Hatches, 6-1 on the morning line.
Trainer Jim Bond will be represented by Spendthrift Farm’s Cue
the Moon, third in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks to Dreaming of Julia
in her 2013 debut, and William
Clifton, Jr.’s Momentary Magic, who broke her maiden on March 17 at
Gulfstream in her third start.
“Both fillies are doing fantastic,” Bond reported from Saratoga
Race Course. “In her first race back, Cue the Moon ran into Dreaming of
Julia – who ran a tremendous
race – and I think Cue the Moon needed the race. Momentary Magic has
been Cue the Moon’s workmate, and Cue the Moon can’t get past her. I’ve
always believed she was a superstar. Her last race was pretty strong.”
Javier Castellano will ride Cue the Moon, 12-1 on the morning
line, from post position 4, while Luis Saez will be aboard Momentary
Magic, 15-1 on the morning line, when
she leaves from post position 2.
Rounding out the field is Elizabeth Valando’s Let Me Entertain U, fifth behind Close Hatches in the Gazelle last time out.