ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 3, 2018)–When at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. And, that’s exactly what Victor Espinoza did aboard Hronis Racing’s Accelerate in winning Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 San Pasqual Stakes at Santa Anita. Trained by John Sadler, the 5-year-old horse by Lookin At Lucky appeared much best versus eight rival older horses in getting a mile and one eighth in 1:50.58.
Breaking a bit slow from his number three post position, Accelerate looked to have room at the rail leaving the 5 ½ furlong pole, but Espinoza was forced to steady sharply, and instead of being on the lead, he was shuffled back to fifth position, just inside favored Pavel.
Not to be deterred, Espinoza was able to regroup, finding room at the rail turning for home as he blew past Mubtaahij and prevailed in an impressive performance.
Most recently second in the Grade II, 1 1/16 miles San Antonio Stakes on opening day, Accelerate was off at 7-2 and paid $9.40, $5.20 and $3.20.
Winless since defeating the mighty Arrogate four starts back in the Grade II San Diego Handicap July 22, Accelerate won for the first time in nine starts locally and improved his overall mark to 16-5-4-5. With the winner’s share of $120,000, he increased his earnings to $907,480.
Trained by Jim Cassidy and ridden by Tiago Pereira, Prime Attraction finished 2 ½ lengths in front of Mubtaahij for the place. Off at 15-1, Prime Attraction paid $12.00 and $6.00.
Ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, Irish-bred Mubtaahij checked in a neck in front of a troubled Pavel. The second choice at 3-1, Mubtaahij paid $3.60 to show.
Ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Pavel, who was bet down to the 2-1 favorite, was full of run in behind a wall of horses with a furlong to run, but had to check from between horses and then made a belated rally five deep to finish fourth.
Fractions on the race were 24.34, 48.94, 1:12.85 and 1:38.23.
Racing resumes with a nine-race card on Big Game Sunday. Special early first post time on Sunday is at 11 a.m. Admission gates open at 9 a.m.