09/22/2016 9:50AM

Accelerate coming into his own for Los Alamitos Derby

Email
Benoit & Associates
Accelerate, ridden by Tyler Baze, wins the Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar.

CYPRESS, Calif. – Accelerate, the winner of the Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar last month, keeps jockey Tyler Baze active while they are in a race.

“You’ve got to let him know what’s going on,” Baze said this week. “He’s just green. Once he puts it all together one of these days, he’ll be something special.”

Accelerate was perfect at the Del Mar summer meeting, winning a maiden race July 28 and then the Shared Belief Stakes on Aug. 26. The next objective is Saturday’s $200,000 Los Alamitos Derby at 1 1/8 miles. The Grade 2 Los Alamitos Derby will be the longest and most prestigious race of Accelerate’s career, which began in mid-April.

:: LOS ALAMITOS DERBY: Get PPs, watch Saturday's card live

“I think this horse is growing up,” said Baze.

Accelerate will be a strong favorite in the Los Alamitos Derby, the richest race of the track’s three-week September meeting. Purchased for $380,000 as a yearling, Accelerate is owned by Pete and Kosta Hronis and trained by John Sadler.

KEY CONTENDERS

Accelerate, by Lookin At Lucky

Last 3 Beyers: 93-93-82

◗ Accelerate lost his first three starts, all in sprints, including a second in a maiden race here in April in which Arrogate was third. Arrogate has won four subsequent starts, including the Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 27, and is a candidate for the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 5.

◗ Accelerate’s Del Mar wins were at a mile. He beat maidens by 8 3/4 lengths and won the Shared Belief Stakes by a half-length over Semper Fortis, who is part of the Los Alamitos Derby field.

◗ The close finish in the Shared Belief Stakes served as a reminder to Baze that Accelerate is still developing. Baze said he needed to keep the colt focused in the race.

“He messes around a lot,” he said. “When I broke his maiden, at the three-eighths pole I went to really riding him. I had to ride him hard to pay attention. He ran awesome that day. The light bulb was lit.”

◗ Accelerate is most effective from a stalking position.

“I don’t think distance is a problem with him,” said Baze, has been aboard Accelerate for all five of his starts. “From the very get-go, he’s been a horse that’s wanted to go two turns. He showed that the last couple of times he’s run.”

Semper Fortis, by Distorted Humor

Last 3 Beyers: 92-81-64

◗ Semper Fortis had not raced in more than six months when he finished second at 14-1 in the Shared Belief Stakes. Purchased for $525,000 as a yearling, Semper Fortis won a maiden race for $62,500 claimers at Del Mar last November going five furlongs.

◗ Earlier this year, Semper Fortis won an optional claimer at a mile at Santa Anita and was a troubled sixth in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes.

◗ The Los Alamitos Derby will be the second start in a graded stakes for Semper Fortis. Trainer Doug O’Neill expects an improved effort following the Shared Belief.

“He got a little bit tired on the end,” O’Neill said. “We’re assuming he’ll move forward off that. We’re right in the mix there.”