2023 Acorn Stakes preview and best bets

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

June 9, 2023 12:01 PM

Acorn Stakes highlights Friday card at Belmont Park

The final leg of the Triple Crown may be on Saturday, but one of the signature filly races of the year is the highlight of Friday’s card at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. The Acorn Stakes is the first leg of the Triple Tiara, which also includes the Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga and the Alabama Stakes, also at Saratoga.

Pretty Mischievous, the winner of the Kentucky Oaks, comes in as the slight second favorite, but this looks like a competitive race with eight horses in the field for Friday. This is a 1 1/16-mile race, while the other legs of the Triple Tiara are 1 1/8 and 1 1/4 miles, respectively.

This is the first year that the Acorn Stakes is 1 1/16 miles after being run at 1 mile since the race’s inception back in 1931. Post time is set for 5:14 p.m. ET in Race 9 of 11 on the Friday, June 9 program.

Here are the horses, trainers, jockeys, and odds for the 2023 Acorn Stakes:







Dorth Vader

G. Weaver

J. Velazquez




C. Brown

M. Franco



Frosty O Toole

T. Pletcher

L. Saez




C. Brown

J. Ortiz



Munnys Gold

T. Pletcher

I. Ortiz Jr.



Pretty Mischievous

B. Walsh

T. Gaffalione



Goodgirl Badhabits

B. Russell

J. Toledo




C. Brown

F. Prat


Kentucky Oaks champ Pretty Mischievous was the 2-1 second favorite after the post draw, but favorite Munnys Gold at 9-5 and Randomized at 5-1 make this a very fascinating race. Also, the long shot, Frosty O Toole, is only 20-1 on the board. The additional distance adds a nice wrinkle to this year’s race as well.

Showers are possible on Friday, so it could be a bit of a sloppy track, and race officials are also tracking the air quality due to the ongoing wildfires in Canada.

Here are some quick handicaps on the eight horses scheduled to be in the field:

1. Dorth Vader (10-1): Dorth Vader, the daughter of Girvin and Hardcore Candy, finished an admirable fifth in the Kentucky Oaks in her seventh career stakes race. Drawing the rail post is difficult, but she does have stakes wins in the Davona Dale and the Sandpiper. Unfortunately, those races were shorter than this one, at one mile and six furlongs, respectively, but there is a big change in her prep for this race. She goes from trainer Michael Yates to George Weaver for this race, so maybe she’s a bit of a wild card. Not only is Weaver a NYRA-based trainer, but John Velazquez is in the mount after Luis Saez rode in the Oaks.

2. Randomized (5-1): The first of three Chad Brown entries in the field is Randomized. Brown has won two of the last four Acorn Stakes, winning in odd-numbered years, so maybe this will be another one. He certainly has a good shot with nearly 38% of the field. Randomized is the lightly-raced daughter of Nyquist, the 2016 Kentucky Derby champion, but she rolled to an easy maiden win back on March 31 at Aqueduct. It was just her second race, and she went a mile. She’s kind of an unknown here, but the huge speed figure in that maiden win is hard to ignore.

3. Frosty O Toole (20-1): Frosty O Toole has the best name in the field and the longest odds. The daughter of Frosted, who finished second to American Pharaoh in the 2015 Belmont Stakes and was a three-time stakes winner, finished a disappointing sixth in the Gr. 3 Gazelle after winning a maiden in February and an allowance in March. She doesn’t have the same speed figures as the other horses in this race and also profiles as more of a closer, so the length could help, but the question is how much ground she’ll have to make up.

4. Occult (12-1): The second Brown entry is one of many horses sired by Into Mischief running in stakes races these days. After an impressive win in the Busanda Stakes to open 2023, she ran an underwhelming fifth in the Gazelle. The strength of the field looks to be too much here. Perhaps she’s good for a big trip after not running much as a three-year-old, but she had the uninspiring effort on a three-month layoff, and there aren’t a lot of signs that it could turn here.

5. Munnys Gold (9-5): Munnys Gold was beyond dominant in her first three races, as she won by an average of more than 10 lengths, but then finished second in the Eight Belles at Churchill Downs over seven furlongs. The additional distance is an interesting element here, as she was able to widen the gaps as the pace-setter in weaker fields, but now she’s in a strong field and ramping up the distance another 1.5 furlongs. She lost by a head in the Eight Belles and had a big effort, but her bloodline isn’t built for distance, as father Munnings was more of a sprinter that finished off the board in two of three races longer than a mile. She’ll set the pace, but will she hold on?

6. Pretty Mischievous (2-1): Pretty Mischievous won the Kentucky Oaks as a 10-1 shot and now sits at 2-1 off of that impressive victory. One of three fillies sired by Into Mischief in this field, she has won five times in seven races and has hit the board in each of her other two races. She’s also been outstanding at distance, and this will actually be a shorter race for her than most that she has run. She’s won four of five times with Tyler Gaffalione in the irons, including the Oaks.

7. Goodgirl Badhabits (10-1): Another pace-setter in this field, Goodgirl Badhabits has rolled to two wins by nearly 25 combined lengths. This is not only her stakes debut, but also her distance debut, as she’s topped out at seven furlongs. Her father, Mastery, may have been trending toward a stellar career, but after winning four times in four races, he was retired due to injury and left to be a sire. Mastery rolled to wins at 1 1/16 miles twice before having to give up racing, so there’s a little bit of distance in the bloodline here. It’s a massive step up in class, but don’t count her out.

8. Accede (8-1): Flavien Prat and Chad Brown have three combined wins over the last four years, as Brown was the winning trainer in 2019 and 2021 and Prat won last year aboard Matareya for trainer Brad Cox. Accede won her maiden at six furlongs, but came in third at seven furlongs in the Gr. 2 Eight Belles. She was closing on Munnys Gold at the end, which is why she’s viewed to have a lot of upside here. She could be the best pure closer in the race and has a good chance to hit the board.


Any number of outcomes could happen here, as this is a strong, balanced field for the Acorn. I still think Pretty Mischievous is the class of the field, especially with how accomplished she is at distance. It may very well be a chalky race, but I’ll skirt the favorite Munnys Gold, as she will get out front, but has to sustain for a lot longer than she ever has.

I actually like Goodgirl Badhabits and Dorth Vader to make runs here, as the one-turn track should help both. Dorth Vader may have upgraded in both jockey and rider, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see a big effort here.

To win: 6

Exacta box: 1/6/7

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