Caressing Leads Acorn Field

The big race this weekend in New York is the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), but those who attend the races at Belmont on Friday will get to witness a pretty fair race in its own right -- the $200,000 Acorn Stakes (gr. I).

A strong field of eight Kentucky-bred 3-year-old fillies was entered Wednesday morning for the mile event, with last year's champion juvenile filly, Caressing, drawing post four. She will be ridden by Pat Day.

Carl Pollard's Caressing has made just one start this year, winning the La Troienne Stakes two days prior to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). The 2000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) winner is trained by David Vance.

Real Cozzy, who ran second to Flute in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), drew post seven and will be ridden by Larry Melancon for trainer Dan Peitz.

Like Caressing, another who has had only one start this year is Unbridled Elaine, who won an allowance race at Churchill Downs the day before the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).

Two interesting fillies to watch are Victory Ride and Forest Secrets, who were both unraced at two, but have been impressive in two starts this year. Victory Ride, trained by Rusty Arnold, broke her maiden by 14 1/4 lengths at Keeneland, then easily won a Belmont allowance race. Forest Secrets also broke her maiden at Keeneland, then for trainer John Ward was beaten a nose in a Churchill allowance race.

The complete field, in post position order:
Latour, Jorge Chavez
Victory Ride, Edgar Prado
With Ability, Jerry Bailey
Caressing, Pat Day
Unbridled Elaine, Gary Stevens
Forest Secrets, Chris McCarron
Real Cozzy, Larry Melancon
Honey Eyed, Javier Castellano