Mister Acpen was able to control the pace under jockey Roberto Gonzalez and surprised 3-2 favorite Fateful Dream and grass course specialist Ninebanks with an easy gate-to-wire triumph in Saturday's $142,500 Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT).
The Kristin Mulhall-trained Chilean bred found the company a little easier Saturday. He won by 1 1/4 length in 1:46 4/5 for the 1 1/8 mile on firm going. Fateful Dream nosed out Ninebanks, who had won four of eight on the Bay Meadows sod prior to Saturday.
Mister Acpen, a 5-year-old Golden Voyager horse, quickly established command, opening up by more than two lengths on his nine rivals while clicking off fractions of :23, :47 4/5 and 1:12 2/5. After getting through the mile in 1:37 1/5 while still maintaining a two-length advantage, Mister Acpen was not challenged through the stretch and won driving.
Fateful Dream, the Bobby Frankel-trained 6-year-old ridden by Patrick Valenzuela, was shut off in traffic early, but was closing late after shifting out in the stretch. Ninebanks, ridden by Ron Warren, was clear in second at the rail, but could not muster a rally in the stretch.
A group I winner in his native country, Mister Acpen notched his first graded stakes win in five U.S. tries. He also had an allowance victory at Hollywood Park accomplished in the same front-running style, and no doubt appreciated a drop in class. Prior to a disappointing sixth-place showing as the favorite in his most recent start, the Del Mar Handicap (gr. IIT), he had been beaten by Special Ring when he was fifth in the Eddie Read (gr. IT) and he was second to Storming Home in the Charles Whittingham (gr. IT).
He earned $55,000 for owners Noctis Stable, Neil Papiano and Steve Taub. Overall he has six victories in 19 starts with earnings of $269,974.
The 4-1 third choice in the field of 10, he paid $10.60, $4.20 and $2.80. Fateful Dream returned $3.20 and $2.60. Ninebanks showed for $2.60.