Shook Up slight favorite in tough G1 Acorn

December 10, 2019

ELMONT, N.Y. - Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks runner-up Shook Up has been installed as a mild 7-2 favorite in a competitive field of 12 for the 85th running of the Grade 1, $750,000 Acorn Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at a mile on Saturday at Belmont Park.

After breaking her maiden by 13 ½ lengths on January 3 at the Fair Grounds, Shook Up faced at least one of Larry Jones' powerhouse duo of I'm a Chatterbox and Lovely Maria in each of her three subsequent starts on the Louisiana circuit this spring. The grey daughter of Tapit finished fifth behind the Jones girls in her stakes debut and only off-the-board finish in the Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra, and followed up with a second-place finish in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks on March 28, 2 ½ lengths behind a heavily favored I'm a Chatterbox.

In the Kentucky Oaks, Shook Up split her familiar rivals, this time finishing 2 ¾ lengths behind Lovely Maria at odds of 26-1. With only a maiden win to her credit, Shook Up has hit the board an additional four times, earning more than $300,000 in her career. Trained by Steve Asmussen for Regis Racing, Shook Up will be ridden by her regular jockey, Robby Albarado, from post 8.

Three graded stakes winners will line up to thwart Shook Up's bid for black type: Promise Me Silver, Condo Commando and Miss Ella.

Robert Luttrell's undefeated homebred Promise Me Silver stretches out in distance in an effort to extend her record to nine victories in as many starts since May 2014. Having earned her first graded stakes win in the Grade 3, seven-furlong Eight Belles on the Kentucky Oaks undercard, the Texas-bred daughter of Silver City has bested rivals over six different track surfaces.

"It's a wide open race," trainer Bret Calhoun said. "It'll be a tough race but I think she fits in well with them. It's going to be an exciting race; there's going to be some really great horses, but I think she fits well in it. She's had the experience of running over six different racetracks. I hope that that's helpful for her."

Hall of Famer Mike Smith has the call on Promise Me Silver, set as the 5-1 third-choice on the morning line. The pair will leave from post 9.

Michael Dubb and Bethlehem Stables' Condo Commando, arguably the most accomplished filly in the field, comes into Saturday's Acorn with five wins in seven lifetime starts. The speedy daughter of Tiz Wonderful impressed in her stakes debut, taking the Grade 1 Spinaway by 13 ¼ lengths last August at Saratoga and closed out her juvenile year in similar fashion with an 11 ½-length score in the Grade 2 Demoiselle at Aqueduct.

As a sophomore, Condo Commando rattled off back-to-back victories in her characteristic front-running style, including another Grade 2 score in the Gazelle on April 4 at Aqueduct, before fading to a ninth-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks. Trained by Rudy Rodriguez, Condo Commando will be ridden by Joel Rosario from post 7 as the 4-1 second-choice.

Jack Swain III's Grade 2 Beaumont winner Miss Ella will seek to join the Grade 1 ranks in only her third lifetime start. Following her 2 ½-length Beaumont score in her stakes debut, trainer Graham Motion had entered the Exchange Rate filly in the Grade 3, six-furlong Miss Preakness on the Black Eyed Susan Day undercard before opting to aim for the Acorn instead.

"We decided it was the more logical route to go since she had already won a Grade 2 at Keeneland," said Motion. "Plus we would've had to shorten her up at Pimlico. I always thought she'd do well stretching out, so it seemed like a natural progression for what she likes."

Miss Ella will break from post 11 under regular rider Rajiv Maragh at odds of 6-1.

Rounding out the field for the Acorn is Grade 3-placed Oceanwave; New York-bred Wonder Gal; Grade 1 Frizette winner By the Moon; Grade 2 Demoiselle runner-up Calamity Kate; undefeated Bar of Gold; recent 8 ¼-length optional allowance winner Curalina; Grade 1-placed Light the City; Jr., and Parx Oaks winner Danzatrice.

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