By Emily Shields
3-1 Casual will try to emulate her parents, multiple Grade 1 winners Curlin and Lady Tak, when she goes to the post in the $300,000 Acorn Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park on Saturday.
The Steve Asmussen-trainee is unbeaten in two starts, first breaking her maiden at Oaklawn Park and then stretching to seven furlongs to win at Churchill Downs in allowance company. This race is a mile.
Sire Curlin earned over $10 million while winning major route races such as the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), Dubai World Cup (G1), and Preakness Stakes (G1). Speedy Lady Tak won 10 of her 19 starts and earned $1.1 million. She was best known as a sprinter, but did win the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) over 1 1/16 miles. She missed by just a head in the 2003 Acorn Stakes (G1) behind Kentucky Oaks winner Bird Town while defeating Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner Storm Flag Flying.
Ricardo Santana, Jr. will be in the irons on Casual. They will face six rivals, with unbeaten Gamine starting from the rail. Trainer Bob Baffert is at the helm of the $1.8 million purchase who has had a late campaign similar to Casual’s. She broke her maiden at Santa Anita sprinting March 7, then adding an allowance at Oaklawn Park May 2 around two turns. John Velazquez will ride the daughter of Into Mischief.
Perfect Alibi drew outside for trainer Mark Casse. The $220,000 purchase by Sky Mesa broke her maiden by nearly 10 lengths first out, then ran second over this track in the Astoria Stakes. She was sharp at Saratoga last summer, winning both the Adirondack (G2) and the Spinaway (G1) before running second in Keeneland’s Grade 1, the Darley Alcibiades. The horse who beat her that day and later in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita Park was eventual division champion British Idiom.
Perfect Alibi, who will be ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr., finished fourth in the Breeders’ Cup. This will be her 2020 debut, but she has been working steadily in New York since March. The Acorn goes as Race 8 on a 12-race card, with the Belmont Stakes as Race 10. Check out TVG’s Betting Guide to the Belmont Stakes.
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