Worn down late following a stretch duel in last month’s Oaklawn H. (G2), Accelerate bounced back with authority in Saturday’s $500,345 Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1), disposing of Oaklawn conqueror City of Light and four others in the 1 1/4-mile test formerly known as the Hollywood Gold Cup.
Bouncing out of the gate well from post 1, Accelerate was soon taken back by jockey Victor Espinoza, settling into third along the inside behind Dr. Dorr, who was tracked to his outside by City of Light. The fractions were :23.28, :47.40, 1:11.70, and 1:36.43.
Asked for some run by Espinoza around the far turn, Accelerate took awhile to get going, but after swinging wide into the straight, blew past the top pair and strolled home a 4 1/4-length winner in a time of 2:01.38 on a fast track.
“He broke good, I think Victor wanted to put him up in the race and then see what everybody else did, so he let him run out of there and when Joe (Talamo on Dr. Dorr) went to the front, he just sat in behind him and gave him a beautiful ride,” trainer John Sadler said. “He had a lot of patience, a lot of confidence in this horse.”
Owned by Hronis Racing, Accelerate paid $5.80 as the 19-10 second choice. Dr. Dorr held second by 1 1/4 lengths over City of Light, who had 4 1/4 lengths on Pavel. Prince of Arabia and Full of Luck completed the order of finish.
The Gold Cup was Accelerate’s sixth stakes win. He captured the Los Alamitos Derby (G2) and $100,000 Shared Belief in 2016, and last season upset Arrogate in the San Diego H. (G2). Earlier this year, Accelerate finished second in the San Antonio (G2), then earned back-to-back wins in the San Pasqual (G2) and Santa Anita H. (G1). Last time, he was out-finished by City of Light, who was stepping up from seven furlongs to nine furlongs, in the Oaklawn ‘Cap.
“We weren’t scared of City of Light today at this distance,” said Sadler, who indicated Accelerate would be aimed for the Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar this summer, a race he ran third in last year.
Bred in Kentucky by Mike Abraham and a $380,000 Keeneland September yearling, Accelerate is by Lookin at Lucky and out of Issues, a stakes-placed daughter of Awesome Again who has also reared the stakes-winning Amarish and Daddy D T. Accelerate’s fourth dam was Broodmare of the Year Smartaire.
Accelerate now boasts a line of 19-7-5-5, $1,712,480.