On the Friday before the Belmont Stakes, the fillies have their turn over the course in the Acorn Stakes, the first leg of the New York Triple Tiara. A compact field of five faced the starter in this $250,000 Grade 1 event, with Bobby Frankel trainee You going off as the 3-2 favorite. Her main competition was expected to be Bella Bellucci, saddled by Neil Drysdale.
You did not disappoint her backers. Sent to contest the pace right from the start, she inherited the lead when Dust Me Off gave way after a 1/4 mile run in a brisk 22.39 seconds. You held the lead the rest of the way, with Willa On The Move attempting to stalk her from 1/2 length back. She ran the half in 44.71 and the 3/4 in a very fast 1:08.26. This proved to be too much for Willa On The Move and the rest of the field, who just could not keep up. You was asked for her run entering the stretch, and she responded by stretching her lead to 5 1/2 lengths at the 1/8 pole and finishing 7 1/4 lengths ahead of Willa On The Move, completing the one mile distance over a wet-fast track in 1:34.05. Bella Bellucci was plagued by a bumpy start and raced three wide on the turn, but had nothing left for the stretch and finished third.
The Acorn Stakes
Purse: $250,000 Distance: 1 mile
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show
2 You Bailey 5.00 3.50 2.10
3 Willa On the Move Dominguez 8.70 2.10
5 Bella Bellucci Stevens 2.10
You in the paddock. Jockey Jerry Bailey said: "Bobby (Frankel) and I had talked before the race and at first, we were going to yank You back about a half-length off the pace. Then, we decided that wasn't a smart thing to do. We were going let her run her race. Whether she likes the one turn, or she's getting back to her old self, I don't know. She ran a huge race today."
Second place finisher Willa On the Move in the post parade. Trainer Rodney Jenkins said: "I was very pleased with her. It was only the
fourth race of her life and I guess I was a little bit of an underdog. It was her first time going more than three-quarters. I've got a great rider in Ramon (Dominguez). He understands her and he does a great job.
Third place finisher Bella Bellucci and jockey Gary Stevens return after the race covered with dirt. Stevens said: "Usually, she's
dragging me about three or four strides into the race. We got up into the
middle nice, but when the pace accelerated, she couldn't pick it up. It
felt like she was running in quicksand with lead boots."
On the undercard was the Grade 3 Flash Stakes for two year olds. Whywhywhy inherited the lead and ultimately the win when the race leader and favorite, Renegade Warrior, broke down on the turn and second choice Windsor Lodge fell over him. Unfortunately Renegade Warrior had to be euthanized on the track while Windsor Lodge suffered a laceration to his right knee. Winning jockey Edgar Prado said, "It was sad to see that happen. Ramon [Dominguez aboard Renegade Warrior] was in front; Johnny
[Velazquez aboard Windsor Lodge] was in second and I was third. When Ramon's broke down, Johnny didn't have a chance to do anything. I was fortunate to avoid it; I was in the clear. It was a nice win, but that definitely gives it a bad flavor when it happens to a nice horse. Results chart Race 5