June 24, 2024

Accelerate defends title in San Diego; Ms Bad Behavior tops San Clemente

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

Accelerate attracted headlines when upsetting Arrogate in last year’s $200,000 San Diego H. (G2), dominating wire-to-wire in an 8 ½-length decision, and he returns to Del Mar for a title defense as a leading contender for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs. The chestnut horse will square off against nine rivals in the 1 1/16-mile event.

A disappointing ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) last November, Accelerate has thrived at age 5 for John Sadler, recording convincing wins in the Santa Anita H. (G1) and Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) at 1 ¼ miles. Owned by Hronis Racing, Accelerate registered an outstanding 111 BRIS Speed rating scoring by 4 ¼ lengths in May 26 Gold Cup and regular rider Victor Espinoza will be up on the probable odds-on favorite.

Hronis Racing and Sadler will also be represented by Catalina Cruisier, who will make his stakes debut with a 2-for-2 career mark. The 4-year-old son of Union Rags exits a 2 ¼-length front-running tally over entry-level allowance foes and Drayden Van Dyke retains the mount.

Bob Baffert has a pair in Dr. Dorr and Dabster. Dr. Dorr capped a three-race win skein with a 7 ¼-length triumph in the Californian (G2) in late April but will be trying to rebound from a pair of setbacks, most recently finishing ninth in the Suburban (G2) at Belmont Park. Joe Talamo rides. Dabster posted a nice allowance win at Santa Anita two back and stretches back out after a fifth in the San Carlos (G2). Flavien Prat has the call.

Multiple Grade 2 turf winner Sharp Samurai, a facile turf allowance winner when making his 2018 bow in a June 17 allowance at Santa Anita, will go turf-to-dirt for Mark Glatt. The 4-year-old gelding captured the Del Mar Derby (G2) and La Jolla (G3) on Del Mar’s sod last year and the early/presser will keep Gary Stevens in the irons.

Harlan Punch invades from the East Coast for David Jacobson off a win in the Phillip Iselin (G3) at Monmouth Park. Rounding out the field are Two Thirty Five, a reformed claimer who tries stakes company following a pair of tallies over allowance rivals; Californian runner-up Prince of Arabia; and outsiders Curlin Rules and El Huerfano.

One race after the San Diego, 14 sophomore fillies will contest the $200,000 San Clemente (G2) and Ms Bad Behavior is the one to beat. A convincing winner of the China Doll two back the Blame filly exits a runner-up finish in the April 7 Providencia (G3) to Fatale Bere, who will miss the San Clemente after contesting the Belmont Oaks (G1). Kent Desormeaux will guide the Richard Baltas-trained Ms Bad Behavior.

Her main rivals include the unbeaten Ollie’s Candy, who will go turf-to-dirt off a neck victory in the June 16 Summertime Oaks (G2); Flammetta and Rockin Ready, 1-2 finishers in a June 23 allowance at Santa Anita; last-out allowance scorer Lexington Grace; and Animosity, Ms Peintour and Miss Sienna, the respective 2-3-4 finishers in the June 9 Honeymoon (G2).