On June 9 at Belmont Park, Cotton Blossom got the best of Dream Rush in the Acorn Stakes (gr. I), outdueling her in the stretch to win by a hard-fought length. One would think the advantage goes to Cotton Blossom again in the Aug. 4 rematch at Saratoga in the $250,000 Darley Test Stakes (gr. I), but upon further examination, that is not necessarily the case.
The main difference is the distance. The Acorn was a mile, while the Darley Test is a seven-furlong sprint. In this case, the advantage goes to Dream Rush, who has proven to be the toughest 3-year-old filly sprinter in the country. According to Dream Rush trainer Rick Violette Jr., her speed is second to none.
“Hook us at your own peril,” said Violette. “I don’t think anybody can reasonably think they can hook us and still be standing at the end. She has her style; she’s fast, and she outran some very fast fillies in the Prioress (Stakes, gr. I). I think Cotton Blossom ran the race of her life (in the Acorn).”
Dream Rush, by Wild Rush, out of Turbo Dream, has won five of seven races in her young career, the only other loss coming in allowance company back in January. In her five wins, Dream Rush has won by a combined 31¼ lengths. She has three graded stakes victories to her credit.
“The Test is the premier race for 3-year-old filly sprinters,” said Violette. “We’ve got the grade 1 under our belt, now we want to win the special race.”
After the Acorn, Cotton Blossom finished a well-beaten third in the Delaware Oaks (gr. II) July 14. Still, the Todd Pletcher-trained filly has hit the board in eight of 10 career races. But she has not attempted a sprint since October of last year.
The 13-horse field also includes Time’s Mistress, who won the Miss Preakness Stakes (gr. III) back on May 18, and Sheets, a Scatmandu filly who romped in the Azalea Breeders’ Cup Stakes (gr. III) earlier this month.
ESPN will carry the race, which is set for a 5:14 p.m. (EDT) post.
$250,00 Darley Test Stakes (gr. I, Race 9, 5:14 p.m.), 3-Year-Old Fillies, 7 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Silver Knockers (MD), 116, Javier Castellano
2. Akronism (KY), 116, Anthony Black
3. Astor Park (KY), 116, Ramon A. Dominguez
4. Down (MD), 116, Edgar Prado
5. Debbie Got Even (KY), 116, Edgar S. Prado
6. Baroness Thatcher (KY), 118, Kent J. Desormeaux
7. Dream Rush (KY),122, Eibar Coa
8. Time's Mistress (KY), 118, Jorge F. Chavez
9. Sheets (KY), 118, Calvin H. Borel
10. Boca Grande (KY), 120, Julien R. Leparoux
11. High Again (KY), 120, Cornelio H. Velasquez
12. Appealing Zophie (FL), 120, Alan Garcia
13. Cotton Blossom (KY), 122, John R. Velazquez