Abel Tasman, winner of the May 5 Longines Kentucky Oaks, put on another last-to-first showcase when she shot up the rail and withstood a challenge in the lane from Salty to capture the $700,000 Grade 1 Acorn Stakes by a length at Belmont Park on the Ju
Cutting back to eight furlongs after her 1 1/8-mile Oaks triumph for Baffert, Abel Tasman nonetheless unleashed the same turn of foot that allowed her to reign under the twin spires last month. After she raced at the back of the seven-horse field, while Florida Fabulous cut fractions of :23.32 and :46.79 up front, the daughter of Quality Road accelerated up the inside around the far turn to take command at the head of the lane under a confident ride from Smith.
Gulfstream Park Oaks winner Salty loomed on the outside in the stretch but couldn't close the distance, as Abel Tasman finished up in 1:35.37.
"With this filly here, she's just getting really good and she showed that the Oaks was not a fluke," said Baffert, who added a trip to Saratoga Race Course for the Aug. 19 Alabama Stakes is on the table for the filly. "She's that good a horse. It was pretty exciting. The quality she has, I just see it in the mornings. She's just getting better and better."
Salty held for second, with Benner Island third. –Alicia Wincze-Hughes