05/28/2012 5:32PM

Belmont Park: Contested romps in Acorn

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Contested, with Javier Castellano riding, rolls home to win the Acorn.

Contested was left uncontested, and school was out in the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes, as the Ghostzapper filly rolled to her fourth straight blowout win for trainer Bob Baffert.

On paper, it appeared Contested would face at least token resistance from Aubby K, who was drawn outside in the field of six 3-year-old fillies, but no such confrontation took place on the racetrack. Contested broke alertly from the rail and got clear under Javier Castellano, and was allowed to run the opening quarter-mile in a pedestrian 22.64 seconds. No one could, or would, keep pace with Contested as she set sail through fractions of 45.19 and 1:09.32 over a glib track that continued to play to speed, and she was under mild urging to win the Acorn by five lengths after a mile in 1:34.61 seconds.

"She's really quick out of the gate," said Castellano, who three years ago teamed up with Baffert to win the Acorn on the lead with Gabby's Golden Gal. "She reminds me of Ghostzapper. She's really easy to ride and you can do whatever you want. I just wanted to sit still and not move until it was the right time and the right place. She enjoyed the trip and just galloped."

Since a runner-up finish in her debut on a synthetic track, Contested ($4.10) is a perfect 4 for 4 on dirt by a combined margin of 22 lengths.

"That's just what we wanted to see," said Baffert's assistant trainer, Jim Barnes. "You've got to play the break. It all depends on how you break. She basically caught a flyer, and they stayed off her."

Zo Impressive, whose half-sister Zaftig won the Acorn in 2008, out-finished Aubby K for second by 1 1/4 lengths. On Fire Baby was never involved and finished a well-beaten fourth as the 5-2 second choice. Hard Mystery and Sacristy completed the order of finish.