A day with 10 stakes races, nine of them graded, and six of those being Grade Is, is bound to be loaded. A day stacked with races of such high quality is bound to attract the best horses currently running in America.
That is what Belmont Day has become — not just one day for one race, but a gathering for the best of each division to strut their stuff. It has become a day where the best of the best meet and decide who is king (or queen) of the hill.
The Acorn Stakes (GI) for 3-year-old fillies is a race that exemplifies this in spades. A small, but very select, field headed by Kentucky Oaks winner Cathryn Sophia will make its way to post on Saturday — all intent on taking home the lion’s share of the $700,000 purse.
To defeat Cathryn Sophia will not be an easy task. She owns an undefeated record in races run around one turn, and in none of those races was she ever challenged. By Thoro-Graph’s numbers, she holds a distinct advantage over the field, with her best number being a ¼ (on the Thoro-Graph scale, the lower the number, the faster the performance).
By comparison, Carina Mia, whom many think has the best chance at knocking off Cathryn Sophia, has a lifetime best of 1 ¼ in one-turn races. That is a full point difference, which is about one length. Now, that on its own isn’t enough to say Cathryn Sophia is decisively better, but what does it say when Cathryn Sophia ran her ¼ while also earning the notation that she didn’t look to be fully extended? Carina Mia, on the other hand was thought to be giving her all.
Despite the numbers, several will still bet against Cathryn Sophia. Some will use Go Maggie Go, who finished fourth in the Kentucky Oaks, but had a less than ideal trip, and rebounded two weeks later with a win in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.
Some may also try to take a chance on the previously unbeaten Off the Tracks, who also owns an undefeated mark going around one turn. She only met defeat when running over a sloppy surface, and it looks unlikely that she will see a track like that this weekend. Before that defeat her racing manager, Chad Summers, was adamant that she was in same class as both Songbird and Cathryn Sophia.
However, despite everything, Cathryn Sophia still has the edge. She proven to be the fastest based on numbers, and she is also the most consistent by far. Chances are she will show up with her best effort, which will force these fillies to run a career-best race to catch her.
Are there a few fillies who are capable of making that step?
Of course there are! All listed above are talented enough. The question, however, isn’t about their talent. The question is can one of them build off of that talent and knock Cathryn Sophia off of her pedestal?
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily state or reflect those of US Racing.