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Dan Fitch

In the Acorn Stakes 2024, three-year-old fillies strut their stuff during the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival. On this page, we have everything you need to know about this Grade I race usually run at Belmont Park. There’s a twist this year, though.

What is the Acorn Stakes?

Monomoy Girl won the Acorn Stakes in her career The Acorn is a Grade I stakes race only open to three-year-old thoroughbred fillies. It normally takes place at Belmont Park in New York, as part of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.

In 2024 and 2025, however, this race will instead be held at Saratoga Race Course. This is because there is major redevelopment work going on at Belmont Park, that is not due to be completed until 2026.

This year’s edition of the Acorn is set for Friday, June 7 2024. It is both the first and last leg of Triple Tiara races. On a national level for American thoroughbred racing, it follows the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs and Black Eyed Susan Stakes from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.

At the same time, the Acorn is the opening race of the New York Triple Tiara. Successful fillies may race on in the Coaching Club American Oaks and the Alabama Stakes, both of which are run at Saratoga.

Acorn Stakes History

Inaugurated in 1931, Baba Kenney was its first-ever winner. Eddie Arcaro was a jockey that started a dominant run, beginning in 1945 and ended with his sixth victory in 1961. Along with Mike Smith and John Velazquez, Arcaro is the joint record holder of the most wins in this race.

James Fitzsimmons is the most successful trainer with six victories between 1933 and 1960. Amongst modern trainers, Bob Baffert has been the most consistent force, training five winners between 2009 and 2020.

There have only been two dead heats and they came within two years of each other. In 1954 they couldn’t separate Riverina and Happy Mood. Then in 1956, Beyond and Princess Turia crossed the wire together.

In 1951, 1970 and 1974, there were also two winners of the race, but for a different reason. In those years, the race was oversubscribed, leading to two divisions being run. This can’t happen these days, thanks to race organizers NYRA having a balloting out process.

Saratoga Third Venue for Race

When the race takes place at Saratoga, it will be the third course to have hosted it. Along with Belmont Park, it has also taken place at Aqueduct Racetrack from 1960 to 1967 and then again between 1969 to 1975.

In 1985, Abigail Fuller became the first female jockey to win the race, aboard Mom’s Command. The only other woman to ride the winner of the Acorn was Rosie Napravnik in 2013.

The speed record for this race is held by Gamine, who clocked 1:32:55 in 2020. This was over a distance of a mile (1,600m), which was the length of the race until 2023. The NYRA increased the distance to an extended mile (1,700m). Whilst the Acorn is at Saratoga, it will have a distance of a mile and a furlong (1,800m).

Recent Acorn Stakes Winners

Acorn Stakes results from recent years can give you an insight into the likely result of the 2024 race. Here are the details of the winners from 2023 back to 2015.

Year Horse Jockey Trainer
2024 Thorpedo Anna Brian Hernandez Jr. Kenneth McPeek
2023 Pretty Mischievous Tyler Gaffalione Brendan Walsh
2022 Matareya Flavien Prat Brad H. Cox
2021 Search Results Javier Castellano Chad Brown
2020 Gamine John R. Velazquez Bob Baffert
2019 Guarana Jose Ortiz Chad Brown
2018 Monomoy Girl Florent Geroux Brad H. Cox
2017 Abel Tasman Mike Smith Bob Baffert
2016 Carina Mia Julien Leparoux William Mott
2015 Curalina John R. Velazquez Todd Pletcher

Acorn Stakes Picks & Contenders 2024

With the Morning Line odds as a guide and pari-mutuel betting pools available, there are nine fillies vying for glory in the Acorn. Our expert handicappers assess the main contenders in the feature race for Friday, June 7 at the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival:

Thorpedo Anna

Impressive wins in the Fantasy Stakes and on sloppy going in the Kentucky Oaks latest. Now concedes weight to all but Just F Y I, who she beat at Churchill Downs. The filly to beat in this field on those recent runs.

Gun Song

Took form to a new level when landing the Grade II Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico in Baltimore during the Preakness meet. Improving with her races this year and John Velazquez again rides. Worth a crack at the highest level.

Regulatory Risk

Receives weight all-round from the field. Placed in Grade III Gazelle Stakes at Aqueduct before fine third at big odds in the Kentucky Oaks. Better off at the weights with Thorpedo Anna and Just F Y I from Churchill Downs, so has a chance.

Just F Y I

Dual Grade I winner as juvenile and second on both starts this year. Should be making the show again if reproducing those runs in the Ashland Stakes and Kentucky Oaks. Worse off at the weights with Keeneland conqueror Leslie’s Rose here.

Leslie’s Rose

Beaten Gun Song and Just F Y I this year, the latter at the highest level. Disappointment in Kentucky Oaks may have been due to sloppy conditions. Eased when all chance had gone at Churchill Downs. Keeneland win in Grade I Ashland Stakes proves she better than that. Worth another chance.

Belmont Stakes Betting Sites handicappers found bettors both the winner and second in 2024 with main bet Thorpedo Anna triumphing. Leslie’s Rose, a top 3 finish wager, also made the show in second place.

Acorn Stakes Post Position Draw

The Acorn will be run on Friday, June 7 2024 with the post position draw made the weekend before. There are nine entries running this year with one scratching leaving a field of eight. Here is all the information about the Acorn Stakes post positions draw including weights for every competing filly:

  1. Becky’s Joker (120lbs) – 30-1 SCRATCHED
  2. Power Squeeze (120lbs) – 12-1
  3. Leslie’s Rose (120lbs) – 5-1
  4. Just F Y I (122lbs) – 5-2
  5. My Mane Squeeze (120lbs) – 12-1
  6. Where’s My Ring (120lbs) – 8-1
  7. Regulatory Risk (118lbs) – 12-1
  8. Gun Song (120lbs) – 12-1
  9. Thorpedo Anna (122lbs) – 8-5

Effective Acorn Stakes Betting Strategies

Before you place a bet on the Acorn, consider these strategies that will give you an edge.

Favorites Have Strong Record

Over the last eight editions, the favorite has won on six occasions. That is a 75 percent success rate for the favored filly. The 2023 race saw the 9/5 favorite Munnys Gold finish down in fourth, but the winner Pretty Mischievous was available at only a slightly bigger price of 2/1. Though you can never rule out a longshot winning this race, recent results suggest that it pays to focus on fancied runners.

Consider Class

Make sure that you consider the class of the fillies involved in the Acorn and that of their jockeys and trainers. The likes of Brad H. Cox, Chad Brown and Bob Baffert have been successful trainers in this race over recent years. John Velazquez, meanwhile, is a jockey with a great record. When it comes to the pedigree of a horse, look carefully at their breeding. Both the 2023 winner Pretty Mischievous and the 2020 heroine Gamine were daughters of prolific stallion Into Mischief.

Study the Form

Once you know the fillies running in the Acorn field at Saratoga, take a deep dive into their form. Examine contenders and discover if any have winning records, and where they have been successful. The 2023 winner, Pretty Mischievous, landed the Kentucky Oaks the month prior. Seven of the last ten winners of the Acorn ran at Churchill Downs in their previous race.

Key Acorn Stakes Stats & Trends

A look back at some of the stats and trends in the more recent editions of this race for fillies, can give us an insight into what we might expect to happen in 2024.

The most recent running of the Acorn saw Pretty Mischievous win in 2023. She was trained by Brendan Walsh and ridden by Tyler Gaffalione.

This ended a six-year run in which the winner of this race was trained by either Brad H. Cox, Chad Brown or Bob Baffert, who all enjoyed two wins over this period. Baffert has won the Acorn on five occasions in total; so, keep your eye out for any fillies from these barns.

Two of the three jockeys that have won this race on the most occasions, are still active and could be going for a sixth victory. Mike Smith has five wins, with his most recent success coming in 2017.

John Velazquez also has five wins, the last of which was in 2020. He came close to clinching that sixth victory last year, when he placed in the Acorn on Dorth Vader.

Jose Ortiz made the show on the Chad Brown-trained Occult. Ortiz and Brown had previously enjoyed an Acorn victory in 2019 with Guarana.

The Acorn forms part on an unofficial filly Triple Crown, along with the Kentucky Oaks and Black Eyed Susan Stakes. In recent years, the Kentucky Oaks has proved to be a decent indicator for success at the Acorn.

Pretty Mischievous won both of these races in 2023. So did Monomoy Girl in 2018 and Abel Tasman in 2017.

Prior to winning the Kentucky Oaks, Pretty Mischievous had won the Rachel Alexandra Stakes in February and finished second in the Fair Ground Oaks in March.


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Dan Fitch
Dan Fitch

Nobody is more clued up on past payouts, results and winners of the Belmont Stakes than stats man Dan. He has the history of this great race nailed down.