Hronis Racing’s Accelerate (Lookin at Lucky) scored his second top-level success of the season Saturday, powering clear in the lane to capture the GI Gold Cup at Santa Anita in style. Breaking sharply from the rail, the 9-5 second choice conceded the lead and kept close tabs from third, hugging the rail as Dr. Dorr (Lookin at Lucky) led MGISW and 6-5 chalk City of Light (Quality Road) through opening fractions of :23.28 and :47.40. Swung out three wide by Hall of Famer Victor Espinoza entering the far turn, Accelerate powered clear under a hand ride, easily overtaking his rivals, and charged home a four-length winner. Dr. Dorr completed a Lookin at Lucky exacta and City of Light held third.
“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,” said winning trainer John Sadler, who teamed with Espinoza to win the 2015 renewal of this race with Hard Aces (Hard Spun). “He had a lot of patience, a lot of confidence in this horse. We weren’t scared of City of Light at this distance. Accelerate has been such a good horse for us with a lot of great wins on his resume. He was training really well, so I knew he’d run well.”
As for what’s next, Sadler said, “The [GI] Pacific Classic at Del Mar [Aug. 18] is the race we’ll be looking for.”
Accelerate made a name for himself when defeating champion Arrogate (Unbridled’s Song) in last summer’s GII San Diego H., which was the Eclipse winner’s Stateside return after an almost unbelievable victory in the G1 Dubai World Cup last March. Third next out behind Colllected (City Zip) and Arrogate in the GI Pacific Classic in August, the chestnut was ninth in the GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile Nov. 3 and second in the GII San Antonio S. Dec. 26. Returning to winning ways in the GII San Pasqual S. Feb. 3, Accelerate stormed home to his first Grade I victory in Arcadia Mar. 10 when taking the Big ‘Cap by 5 1/2 lengths. He was last seen finishing a neck second to City of Light after a prolonged battle in the GII Oaklawn H. Apr. 14.
Out of SP Issues, Accelerate is a half-brother to SW & GISP Daddy D T (Scat Daddy) and SW & GSP Amarish (Scat Daddy). Issues is also responsible for the sophomore filly Daddy Issues (Scat Daddy); the juvenile colt Communicator (Bernardini), a $300,000 KEESEP purchase by Twin Creeks Racing; and a yearling colt by Bernardini. She was bred back to Uncle Mo after producing that May 26 colt. The winner also traces his lineage back to GISW Wagon Limit (Conquistador Cielo) and MGSW & MGISP Puzzlement (Pine Bluff).
Saturday, Santa Anita Park
GOLD CUP AT SANTA ANITA S.-GI, $500,345, Santa Anita, 5-26, 3yo/up, 1 1/4m, 2:01.38, ft.
1–ACCELERATE, 125, h, 5, by Lookin At Lucky
1st Dam: Issues (SP), by Awesome Again
2nd Dam: Darlin Echo, by Eastern Echo
3rd Dam: Darlin Lindy, by Cox’s Ridge
($380,000 Ylg ’14 KEESEP). O-Hronis Racing LLC; B-Mike
Abraham (KY); T-John W. Sadler; J-Victor Espinoza. $300,000.
Lifetime Record: 19-7-5-5, $1,712,480. *1/2 to Amarish (Scat
Daddy), SW & GSP, $208,519; Daddy D T (Scat Daddy), SW &
GISP, $331,949. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.2–Dr. Dorr, 121, g, 5, Lookin At Lucky–Jax El, by Unusual Heat.O-Natalie J. Baffert; B-Madeline Auerbach, Mr. Jack Klugman &
Bob Baffert (KY); T-Bob Baffert. $100,000.3–City of Light, 121, c, 4, Quality Road–Paris Notion, by Dehere.($710,000 Ylg ’15 KEESEP). O-Mr. & Mrs. William K. Warren, Jr.;
B-Ann Marie Farm (KY); T-Michael W. McCarthy. $60,000.
Margins: 4 1/4, 1 1/4, 4 1/4. Odds: 1.90, 3.60, 1.20.
Also Ran: Pavel, Prince of Arabia, Full of Luck (Chi). Scratched: Little Scotty. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.