08/26/2016 10:46PM

Accelerate hits the gas and wins Shared Belief

Benoit and Associates
Accelerate, fresh off a maiden win earlier in the meet, takes the Shared Belief Friday at Del Mar.

DEL MAR, Calif.  -– On a day on which the late Shared Belief was fondly remembered, the night belonged to Accelerate, who powered through the twilight at Del Mar to win the $100,690 Shared Belief Stakes on Friday, stamping himself a 3-year-old to watch in coming months.

Accelerate ($5.60) went right into a stakes race following a powerful victory against maidens on July 28. That was his fourth lifetime start, but his first around two turns, and it made a difference.

“We put him around two turns and he turned into a different horse,” said his trainer, John Sadler.

The one-mile Shared Belief again showcased Accelerate’s aptitude around two turns. He stalked the early pace of Taman Guard while racing outside horses, engaged Taman Guard around the far turn, began to edge away from that rival inside the furlong pole, and had to stave off a determined bid by Semper Fortis to prevail.

Accelerate, ridden by Tyler Baze, was best by a half-length over Semper Fortis, with Taman Guard another half-length back in third in a sharp effort after setting fractions of 22.71 seconds, 45.91 seconds, and 1:10.55. Accelerate completed one mile on the fast main track in 1:35.74.

Mishegas was fourth and was followed, in order, by Arizona Moon, Who’s Out, and Touched by Autism. Four scratches – Spanish Hombre, Belvoir Bay, Iron Rob, and Knight of Drama – reduced the field from 11 to seven, and moved Accelerate from post 10 to post 6.

“All of a sudden we had a good post,” said Sadler, who trains Accelerate for the Hronis Racing LLC of Kosta and Pete Hronis.

Accelerate, by Lookin At Lucky, did not make his first start until April, owing to “baby stuff at 2,” Sadler said, as well as a ligament strain in a hind leg during the winter.

The Shared Belief, formerly known as the El Cajon, was renamed this year in honor of the late, popular runner who was the champion 2-year-old male of 2013 and won the 2014 Pacific Classic at Del Mar. He died suddenly from colic in December.

The nationally syndicated radio host Jim Rome, the majority owner of Shared Belief, did his show from Del Mar on Friday morning. Just prior to the race, Del Mar showed a video of some of Shared Belief’s biggest wins, including the Pacific Classic, and Joe Harper, the track’s president and chief executive officer, made brief remarks saluting the horse and Rome.

Rome – who is the majority owner of Taman Guard -- then addressed the on-track crowd, thanking Del Mar for honoring Shared Belief by naming the race for him. Rome said he “got chills” watching the Pacific Classic again.

“We loved Shared Belief very much,” Rome said, “and we miss Shared Belief very much.”