Bensalem, Pa. – The stage has been set for Saturday’s 52nd Running of the Grade 1, $1 million Cotillion Stakes as nine fillies will contest the one and one sixteenth miles on the main track at Parx Racing, Bensalem, Pa.
Juddmonte’s Obligatory will make her seventh career start and third consecutive Grade 1 try on Saturday for Hall of Fame Trainer Bill Mott. The filly by Curlin fell short by a half-length to Search Results in the Acorn at Belmont Park then finished fifth in the Test at Saratoga in her last start on August 7.
“The big thing for her is that it is a two-turn test,” Mott said. “We had only one two-turn race when she was quite inexperienced. She was not effective that day because of her inexperience. We’re hoping she got more races under her belt. We know she’s quite effective at seven-eighths and a flat mile at one turn. It’s an experiment for us. I know it’s a big race and she’s doing well. I think she competes with those horses at a flat mile or a one-turn race. We have to see how she gets along at two turns.”
Previously, the Kentucky-bred filly began her career in the fall at Belmont Park as a 2-year-old and finished fourth. She then returned to break her maiden in her first start as a sophomore and followed up with a fourth-place finish in the Fair Grounds Oaks on March 20. Her strongest performance came in the Grade 2 Eight Belles at Churchill Downs on April 30, when she closed from last to win by a length at odds of 16 to 1.
Obligatory will break from the rail under regular rider Jose Ortiz at odds of 10 to 1. Baoma Corporation’s Private Mission will ship east from her Del Mar, California home and come to Parx in search of her third straight victory after winning against allowance company at Santa Anita then besting six others in the Grade 3 Torrey Pines Stakes at Del Mar.
The filly by Into Mischief has been training well towards Saturday according to Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert and will break from post seven under Flavien Prat. “We will figure out a plan on game day,” Baffert said. “I think seven is ok. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t.”
Private Mission is 9 to 2 on the morning line.
Rounding out the field is: Allworthy from post 2 for trainer Joseph Saffie Jr., and jockey Florent Geroux at odds of 12 to 1. Will’s Secret will break from post 3 for trainer Dallas Stewart and jockey Jon Court at 12 to 1. Maracuja drew post 4 for trainer Rob Atras and jockey Kendrick Carmouche at 8 to 1. Army Wife will run from post 5 for trainer Michael Maker and will be ridden by Joel Rosario at odds of 7 to 2. Clairiere runs from post 6 for Hall of Fame Trainer Steve Asmussen and will be piloted by Irad Ortiz Jr at 2 to 1. Always Carina trained by Chad Brown breaks from post 8 and will be ridden by Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez at odds of 6 to 1. Leader of the Band obtained post 9 for trainer John Servis and retains rider Frankie Pennington at 12 to 1.
By Anthony Affrunti/Parx Press Office
Photo: After a stretch duel Obligatory (left) just misses a win in the Acorn by a half-length to Search Results at Belmont June 5. (Eric Kalet)