10/10/2010 6:51PM

Acoma ends string of disappointments with 23-1 upset in Spinster

Keeneland/Coady Photography
Acoma, making what could be the final start of her career, captures the Juddmonte Spinster under jockey Alan Garcia.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Acoma had done a lot of good things as a 3- and 4-year-old, but she had been found a bit lacking this year. Considering that Acoma was winless and largely disappointing in three starts in 2010, the vast majority of Keeneland fans found her worth dismissing – much to their chagrin, as the 5-year-old mare came bounding home a 23-1 winner Sunday under Alan Garcia in the 55th running of the Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes.

“It’s her first Grade 1 and my first Grade 1,” said trainer David Carroll. “This is absolutely special. Alan gave her a great ride. I’m very happy for everybody.”

Although the Spinster is a Win and You’re In race toward the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic on Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs, Carroll said Acoma might well be retired.

Milwaukee Appeal, a 16-1 shot, raced Acoma to the wire but came up a half-length short in the Spinster. Hot Cha Cha, the 5-2 favorite, was third, while It’s Tea Time, the 5-2 second choice and the only 3-year-old in the field, rallied from last to be fourth in a field of 10.

Acoma (pronounced AK-uh-muh), a Kentucky-bred by Empire Maker, returned $49.60 as the longest shot in the field after finishing 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.77 over Polytrack. She was coming off a seventh-place finish in the Grade 1 Beverly D. at Arlington Park.

Before an ontrack crowd of 11,057 on another ideal autumn afternoon, Rinterval seized early command in the 1 1/18-mile Spinster, with Tizaqueena in closest pursuit. By the time the field neared the quarter pole, most everyone in the bunching field had a shot. At that point, Acoma, always well-positioned after breaking from the far outside post, was making a sustained run from the outside, and she proceeded to do what was needed in holding Milwaukee Appeal safe.

“She’s run on every surface, won on every surface,” said Carroll. “We were disappointed with her last, but we’ve always known her to be a top mare.”

Acoma, bred and owned by the mother-daughter team of Helen Groves and Helen Alexander, now has won 9 times, including six graded stakes, from 18 career starts. She earned $300,000 from the $500,000 Spinster purse to lift her bankroll just past the seven-figure mark to $1,000,898.

Combining the two longshots, the $2 exacta paid $550.60.

After the top four, the order was Funny Moon, Rinterval, Striking Dancer, Tizaqueena, Zardana, and Askbut I Won’t Tell. Silver Reunion was an early scratch.

The Spinster was the last of nine FallStars Weekend races run during the opening three-day weekend of the 17-day Keeneland fall meet.