05/25/2013 2:51PM

Belmont Park: Midnight Lucky, Kauai Katie meet in Acorn


ELMONT, N.Y. – As impressive as Midnight Lucky had trained leading up to the Kentucky Oaks, it simply might have been too much to ask for her to win a race like that in her third career start.

Having seemingly emerged from her fifth-place finish in the Oaks in good order, Midnight Lucky will get another Grade 1 opportunity in Monday’s $300,000 Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park.

Midnight Lucky, one of six 3-year-old fillies entered in the one-turn, one-mile Acorn, will seek to give trainer Bob Baffert his third victory in this race in the last five years.

In evaluating Midnight Lucky’s Kentucky Oaks, Baffert said it was simply a function of having to go too fast after breaking from post 2. On Monday, in a race seemingly loaded with early-speed types, Midnight Lucky is drawn in post 5 and will have Rosie Napravnik to ride.

“I like the post,” Baffert said. “Her post was bad for the Oaks. We had to use her leaving there. If she was on the outside, she could have tracked horses. She has a good post, but there are some nice fillies in there.”

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Chief among them is Kauai Katie, who is 6 for 7, with five stakes victories. She is undefeated in six starts at seven furlongs and shorter, including a 7 1/2-length victory in the Grade 2 Matron going six furlongs at Belmont last September.

Her rail draw likely will force John Velazquez to send Kauai Katie away from the gate, meaning she’ll have to carry her speed a mile.

“It’s a little bit of unchartered waters,” trainer Todd Pletcher said of the distance. “She’s obviously a very gifted sprinter, but she handled seven-eighths pretty well, so we’re optimistic that a one-turn mile will suit her.”

Close Hatches, who won the Grade  2 Gazelle at Aqueduct in April, finished seventh in the Kentucky Oaks after a wide trip. She is drawn in post 6 in the Acorn. She rallied from well off the pace in winning a seven-furlong maiden race in her lone start around one turn.

“I thought she had a little bit of a peculiar trip,” trainer Bill Mott said of the Oaks. “With that being said, by the time she left the half-mile pole, she was kind of out of run. The best I can do is cross a line through it.”

Cue the Moon ran two solid one-turn races at 2 and made her 3-year-old debut in the Gulfstream Park Oaks, a two-turn, 1 1/8-mile race in which she was beaten 25 lengths by Dreaming of Julia. The James Bond trainee could work out a stalking trip under Javier Castellano from post 4.

Momentary Magic, an uncoupled entrymate of Cue the Moon, looks to be a pace factor from post 2.

Let Me Entertain U, fifth in the Gazelle, completes the field.