$1,000,000 GI Cotillion Stakes contender Society schools in the paddock on September 23, 2022 at Parx Racing in Bensalem, PA. Photo by Nikki Sherman/EQUI-PHOTO.
The leaves are starting to turn in upstate New York and with that comes the time for Steve Asmussen’s runners to depart Saratoga Race Course for all points south for autumn stakes engagements.
The group of Asmussen runners that enjoyed an extended stay in Saratoga includes Peter Blum’s homebred Society, one of the contenders for Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Cotillion Stakes at Parx Racing. The 3-year-old daughter of Gun Runner arrived in the Philadelphia area Thursday and settled into the Parx stable area before taking on eight others in the 1 1/16-mile Cotillion.
“It was an easy ship, like three hours,” said assistant trainer Sarah Campion, who made the trip after overseeing the filly in Saratoga with Asmussen’s lead assistant Scott Blasi. “She’s settled in really well, tack walked today and seems very happy.”
Society, 8-1 on the morning line for the Cotillion off a blowout win in the Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks in late August, drew the outside post Saturday. Florent Geroux takes the mount for the first time on Society, who is 4-for-5 in her career with the lone defeat a troubled fourth behind Nest and Cotillion favorite Secret Oath in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga.
The CCA Oaks was Society’s lone start at Saratoga, but she trained there through the summer with the likes of champions Jackie’s Warrior and Echo Zulu, Travers winner Epicenter, Grade 1 winners Gunite and Clairiere, graded stakes winner Wicked Halo and stakes winner Gulfport.
Society breezed twice on Saratoga’s Oklahoma Training Track between her 6 3/4-length win in the 7-furlong Charles Town Oaks and the Cotillion.
“She’s doing really well,” Campion said. “We kept half a barn up there. The weather was really nice, the track was great. A lot of times, you’re like one of five out there.”
Asmusssen, North America’s all-time leading trainer by victories and a member of the Hall of Fame, won last year’s Cotillion with Clairiere. He won the race three other times – Midnight Bisou (2018), Untapable (2014) and My Miss Aurelia (2012).
“She’s a nice filly. She’s fast. I like her chances,” Campion said. “She won going a mile and a sixteenth at Churchill and that Charles Town race was perfect for her. She loved that. She’s really sensible and I think Florent should get along with her pretty well. There are some good fillies to contend with.”