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Anne M. Eberhardt

Fiftyshadesofgold Set for Acorn After Drill

Eight Belles winner posts half-mile breeze in final prep for June 7 Belmont test.

Fiftyshadesofgold, winner of the Eight Belles Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks day, breezed a half mile in :49 3/5 the morning of May 30 in her final workout before shipping to Belmont Park for the $750,000 TVG Acorn (gr. I).

The TVG Acorn Stakes, a one-turn mile event for 3-year-old fillies, is part of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) undercard June 7.

"She came out of the last race well," trainer Bret Calhoun said of the Estate of Clarence Scharbauer Jr. homebred. "She's been training very well since (the Eight Belles). This was her third breeze since the race and everything's been right on schedule. She flies to New York on Thursday (June 5) and we've been very happy with her."

Fiftyshadesofgold's drill Friday was the 21st quickest of 42 at the distance over Churchill's main track. She also breezed a half mile in :48 flat May 23, and the same distance in :50 2/5 a week before that.

Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith will be back aboard the daughter of My Golden Song Hadif Cat, by Hadif, in the Acorn. Smith has been on board for her past two efforts, the Eight Belles victory as a 2-1 favorite May 2, and a second-place finish behind Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Untapable in the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II). Overall, she's won four of six starts with earnings of $342,262.

When asked what type of trip she needed to win the Acorn, Calhoun said, "I don't really know who's going to show up there. It's going to be a very tough race, but I'll leave that in Mike's hands. She's very versatile; she's got speed if you want to use it, but also has the ability to sit off of it if we need to.

"One-turn mile races are usually run pretty fast with a lot of pace and I think she is very adaptable. I think the mile is actually a little better race for her than the seven eighths was."

Calhoun said that Twin Spires Turf Sprint (gr. IIIT) winner Marchman would also be on the plane to Belmont, where he will start in the $300,000 Jaipur Invitational (gr. IIIT), which also is on the Belmont Stakes undercard.