by Santa Anita Park Press Release
September 29, 2018
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) – Accelerate got feisty in the starting gate, went wide on the first turn, and waited for his rival before kicking into gear. Then he showed he’s ready for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Accelerate outdueled West Coast to win the $300,000 Awesome Again Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths in front of 16,801 at Santa Anita on Saturday in his fourth Grade 1 victory of the year.
Ridden by Joel Rosario, Accelerate already had a guaranteed berth in the $6 million BC Classic as a result of his win in the Pacific Classic in August. The 5-year-old’s fifth victory in six races this year merely solidified his status as the best older horse in the country.
“It’s a good feeling that we might go into the Classic the favorite because I like being the favorite,” winning trainer John Sadler said. “He’s a good horse, doing great and probably the best horse in the country now, clearly. We’ll be ready.”
West Coast was coming off a six-month layoff for trainer Bob Baffert. He hadn’t raced since finishing second in the Dubai World Cup. The 4-year-old colt was the 8-5 second choice in a six-horse field in which all the other runners were listed at double-digit odds.
“He’s got a chance to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic with this race under his belt,” Baffert said. “He made that horse run today. We got beat by a really good horse. This race will really set him up well for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.”
Accelerate paid $2.60, $2.10 and $2.10. He ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.38 after getting fractious in the gate and breaking slowly.
“It’s nice to see all those things that didn’t go his way today, and he still came out on top,” co-owner Kosta Hronis said. “It just shows what kind of horse he is.”
West Coast returned $2.10 and $2.10, while Isotherm was another half-length back in third and paid $6 to show.