Reprinted from Bloodhorse
It’s not unusual for a trainer to toss out a favorable comparison between a horse and one of its parents.
But when a trainer uses Ghostzapper as a basis for the comparison, it is indeed something special .
Guarana, b, 3/f
Ghostzapper — Magical World, by Distorted Humor
Owner: Three Chimneys Farm
Breeder: Three Chimneys Farm (KY)
Trainer: Chad C. Brown
Jockey: Jose L. Ortiz
Information provided by Equibase at time of entry.
Ghostzapper stands at Adena Springs Kentucky for $85,000 (2019).
Prior to becoming a three-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer, Chad Brown was an assistant to Bobby Frankel during Ghostzapper’s brilliant 2004 Horse of the Year campaign, so when he put Three Chimneys Farm’s Guarana in the same sentence as her sire, it was high praise indeed.
It also made all the sense in the world after an eye-opening victory.
In just her second career start, homebred Guarana drew clear to post a six-length victory over a field that included Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Serengeti Empress in the $700,000 Acorn Stakes (G1) for 3-year-old fillies on the June 8 Belmont Stakes Day card at Belmont Park.
“She’s brilliant,” Brown said. “She reminds me a lot of her father.”
The lopsided victory was even more impressive given the fractions Guarana chased.
Hoping to take advantage of a speed-favoring surface, Joel Politi’s Serengeti Empress and Arindel’s Cookie Dough dueled for the lead through withering fractions of :21.89 and :43.99 in the one-turn mile stakes. Guarana ($5.80), the 9-5 favorite, was just two lengths off the lead after that brutal opening half-mile.
“I felt good about the leaders not going on, but we were close to that pace,” Brown said. “I wondered, ‘How vulnerable is she?'”
Answer: Not in the least.
Jockey Jose Ortiz brought Guarana off the rail, tipped outside of Serengeti Empress leaving the five-sixteenths pole, and motored past her to a two-length lead at the eighth pole that grew even more imposing in the final furlong. Final time for the mile was a stakes-record 1:33.58.
How she won was another testament to her brilliance,” Brown said.
“That maiden win was more than we could have hoped for,” he said. “We are so fortunate to have her. My staff did a marvelous job developing her.”
It was also enough to convince Ortiz to hop off Serengeti Empress, whom he rode in the Kentucky Oaks, and stay on Guarana.
“It was a hard decision to take off the Oaks winner, but I didn’t want to miss this opportunity. Yes, I took off the Oaks winner for a maiden (winner),” Ortiz said.
Brown said he will confer with Three Chimneys owner Goncalo Borges Torrealba before deciding on Guarana’s next start.
Considering the fractions, 3-1 second choice Serengeti Empress, in her first start since a 1 3/4-length score in the Kentucky Oaks, did well to hold second by 2 1/4 lengths over Alexis Delgado’s Jeltrin.
“I’m very proud of my horse,” trainer Tom Amoss said about Serengeti Empress. “We’ve got a great filly, and we got beat by a great filly today. I think it was apropos, for the first quarter to the half, the whole crowd, who obviously knows racing here in the state of New York, just let out this gasp. It was just too much.”