February 3, 2023

Accelerate rolls in Big ‘Cap

Accelerate stylishly recorded captured Santa Anita's centerpiece event for older horses, the 81st running of the Big 'Cap (G1) © BENOIT PHOTO

Accelerate earned his first Grade 1 victory in convincing fashion, running away from rivals in Saturday’s $600,000 Santa Anita Handicap, and really appears to be hitting his groove for John Sadler. Victor Espinoza was up as the 5-year-old son of Lookin at Lucky notched his second straight graded win following a 1 ¾-length decision in the February 3 San Pasqual (G2).

Off as the 5-2 favorite, Accelerate completed the 1 ¼-mile distance in 2:01.83 on the wet-fast track.

Mubtaahij showed speed from his far outside post and established fractions in :23.49, :47.99 and 1:12.32 with Accelerate up close prompting in second. Accelerate edged closer rounding the far turn and dismissed the pacesetter while straightening into the stretch.

He accelerated for home full of run, drawing off splendidly and scoring by a 5 ½-length decision.

Mubtaahij held second as the 5-2 second choice, seven lengths better than 9-2 Fear the Cowboy. Giant Expectations, Top of the Game, Prime Attraction and Curlin Road came next under the wire and Hoppertunity was scratched.

Owned by Hronis Racing, Accelerate made headlines when upsetting Arrogate in the San Diego (G2) last summer. He then finished third in the Pacific Classic (G1) but did not go on when offering a dismal ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1). The chestnut horse rebounded nicely with a runner-up in the San Antonio (G2) on Santa Anita’s opening day of the winter/spring meet and continued to step forward in the aforementioned San Pasqual.

He’s now won a total of five stakes and with the $355,000 payday, Accelerate became Thoroughbred racing’s newest millionaire with earnings of $1,262,480 from a 17-6-4-5 record. He was bred in Kentucky by Mike Abraham and sold for $380,000 at the 2014 Keeneland September yearling sale. Accelerate is out of the stakes-placed Awesome Again mare Issues and counts stakes winners Amarish and Daddy D T as half-siblings.