09/24/2016 8:39PM

Accelerate survives inquiry in Los Alamitos Derby

Benoit & Associates
Accelerate, with Tyler Baze, wins his third straight race in the Los Alamitos Derby.

CYPRESS, Calif. - Feisty in the gate and wide throughout the race, Accelerate won his third consecutive start in Saturday’s $201,035 Los Alamitos Derby, but only after surviving a six-minute inquiry into an incident in the final furlong.

 Accelerate finished a head in front of 3-1 Semper Fortis, who was 1 1/2 lengths clear of Blackjackcat, the 5-2 second choice. The stewards focused the inquiry on whether Blackjackcat was compromised when jockey Gary Stevens took up late when in tight quarters. 

Stevens also claimed foul against Semper Fortis. The incident did not affect the order of finish, the stewards ruled.

“We didn’t feel it cost him,” steward Tom Ward said. “We thought they were going away from him.”

Ward made the decision with stewards Kim Sawyer and David Nuesch.

Accelerate ($3.80) ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.48. The Grade 2 Los Alamitos Derby was the colt’s graded stakes debut.

Ridden by Tyler Baze, Accelerate was three wide on the first turn, raced outside on the backstretch and was four wide on the turn. He did not take the lead until the final strides.

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“It was a game effort,” trainer John Sadler said. “He was much the best in my opinion.

Semper Fortis led by 1 1/2 lengths with a furlong to go, but could not hold off Accelerate, who was racing at 1 1/8 miles for the first time.

Blackjackcat was followed in the order of finish by Mishegas, Curlin Road, Sugar Buzz, Chris and Dave, and Arizona Moon. The Los Alamitos Derby was the richest race of the track’s September meeting, which concludes on Sunday.

Accelerate, by Lookin at Lucky, is owned by Pete and Kosta Hronis. Purchased for $300,000 as a yearling at Keeneland, Accelerate lost his first three starts from mid-April to mid-June, but is unbeaten in three starts around two turns. He won two one-mile races at Del Mar – against maidens on July 28 and the Shared Belief Stakes for 3-year-olds on Aug. 26.

“He got behind the calendar,” Sadler said. “He wasn’t ready early. We’re excited about him. We hope we have a Saturday horse for next year.”

Accelerate has won 3 of 6 starts and earned $236,880.