Third in the Grade 1 Acorn on May 27 behind Midnight Lucky and Close Hatches – the latter returning to win the Grade 1 Mother Goose last Saturday – Kauai Katie opened her 2013 campaign with three straight victories: the Grade 3 Old Hat and Grade 2 Forward Gal at Gulfstream Park, and the Road Princess overnight stakes on April 21 at Aqueduct, by a combined winning margin of 16 ¾ lengths.
In the Acorn, the Malibu Moon filly stumbled at the start and showed some late kick to finish seven lengths behind the runaway winner.
“I didn’t think she ran badly in the Acorn from the rail,” said Pletcher of Kauai Katie, who will be coupled with Teen Pauline in the wagering. “She was never in a great position and was getting a lot of dirt in her face, and she’d never really been in that situation. I thought she ran hard; Midnight Lucky was just too good on the day.”
Joining the Stonestreet Farm duo will be Aquino Stable’s Fusaichiswonderful, who finished second by a half-length to So Many Ways after an eventful journey in the Grade 3 Eight Belles on May 3 at Churchill Downs.
“She was a little unlucky with the draw [post position 2] and she was one of the few horses in the race with an inside draw who performed well,” said Pletcher. “She was unlucky not to win, but ran a courageous race.”
Kauai Katie, who will tote high weight of 123 pounds including Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, drew post position 8 while Teen Pauline, with Junior Alvarado up, will leave from post position 3. The entry was listed at even money on the morning line.
Fusaichiswonderful, under Javier Castellano, will leave from the rail and was tabbed at 5-2 on the morning line.
Making her graded stakes debut will be I’m Mom’s Favorite, a winner of three of her four 2013 starts. The Tony Dutrow trainee most recently was a come-from-behind nose winner of the Miss Preakness on May 17 at Pimlico Race Course, and also took an optional claimer by seven lengths on April 13 and a maiden special on Febuary 1 at Aqueduct Race Course.
“Her last race was not at all what I expected – I thought she would break and be close to the leaders, instead she was far back and come on,” said Dutrow, who trains the Indian Charlie filly for Cash is King Stable. “Saturday, I would expect she would be a bit off the pace. It’d be fantastic is she was able to win or place in a graded stakes.”
I’m Mom’s Favorite, 4-1 on the morning line, drew post position 6 and will get the services of Cornelio Velasquez.
Making her second start for trainer Mike Hushion is Bridgehampton, 15-1 on the morning line off a two-length maiden win on May 30 at Belmont. In her only other start, the daughter of Bernardini, out of the Forestry mare Teton National, finished fifth in her debut over the synthetic surface on May 4 at Betfair Hollywood Park while in the care of Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale.
“I think she’s up to it,” said Hushion of Bridgehampton, who drew post position 5 under Jose Lezcano. “I think she’s this kind of a horse.”
Rounding out the field are Baby J, second to Kauai Katie in the Grade 2 Matron last fall at Belmont; Native One, most recently third in an optional claimer, and Lighthouse Bay, who returned from a third-place finish in the Miss Preakness to win the Jostle at Parx racing.