10/16/2008 11:00PM

Turf is no trouble for Acoma

Email

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Acoma entered Friday's Grade 3, $150,000 Pin Oak Valley View Stakes as the only filly without a start on turf, but her inexperience never showed in her performance.

Handling the grass as easily as she had dirt and Polytrack, Acoma rallied from midpack to post a half-length victory over Tight Precision before a crowd of 18,469 at Keeneland on Friday.

Acoma, a 3-year-old daughter of Empire Maker and a half-sister to Arch, won for the fourth time in seven starts for owner-breeders Helen Alexander and Helen Groves. The Valley View marked her second graded stakes victory, with the first coming in the Grade 3 Dogwood at Churchill Downs on May 31.

"It was always in the game plan to try the turf," said winning trainer David Carroll.

Carroll credited jockey Julien Leparoux, who won four races on the card, with giving Acoma "a superior ride."

Acoma, narrowly favored at7-2 odds, paid $9, and covered 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:43.60.

Tight Precision, who pressed Julia Tuttle early through moderate fractions, edged third-place Grenadia by a nose for the place.

Kelly's Landing turns it around

Kelly's Landing returned to the winner's circle Friday for the first time since winning the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen in March 2007, easily winning a $57,000 allowance a couple of races before the Valley View.

Making his first start since a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Aristides at Churchill on May 31, Kelly's Landing ($3.60) was eager from the start, immediately assuming command under Leparoux and never drawing much of a challenge.

He won by 2 1/2 lengths over Nakayama Arashi, racing six furlongs in 1:08.59, and pushing his record to 2 for 2 over synthetic surfaces. He won the Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland in the fall of 2006 over Polytrack.

Eddie Kenneally, who trains Kelly's Landing for Summerplace Farm, said it was unfortunate that Kelly's Landing has only raced sporadically since the Dubai Golden Shaheen, due to minor physical setbacks and catching sloppy tracks that compromised him.

"It's too bad we missed the Breeders' Cup this year because he loves a synthetic track," he said. "Maybe next year."

* Despite Cure for Sale scoring a stunning upset at 61-1 odds in the sixth race, there was one winning ticket in the pick six. It returned $237,019.60.