Acoma in the Spinster Stakes.

Acoma in the Spinster Stakes.

Mathea Kelley

Ladies Classic Awaits Acoma

The millionaire 5-year-old will make her final start Nov. 5 at Churchill.

Juddmonte Spinster (gr. I) winner Acoma will make her final career start in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I), trainer David Carroll confirmed on Oct. 19.

After Acoma pulled off a 23-1 upset in the Oct. 10 Spinster at Keeneland for her first grade I victory, Carroll indicated that the 5-year-old may have run her final race. But the trainer said she came out of the race very well and after conferring with owners Helen Alexander and Helen Groves, a run in the Nov. 5 BC Ladies Classic is in the works.
Carroll said he has lined up jockey Robby Albarado to ride Acoma at the World Championships.
“If the race were anywhere else but Churchill Downs we probably wouldn’t go,” said Carroll. “But Churchill has always been her home and she is 2-for-2 on the dirt there. She has earned her way. She came out of the Spinster unbelievably well; sharp on her toes. I would say she’s taking us there, not the other way around.”
While Acoma has not run over conventional dirt since the summer of 2009 and will again be a longshot in the Breeders’ Cup, Carroll said it makes sense to race her one final time. The homebred daughter of Empire Maker -Aurora, by Danzig has earned more than $1 million from her 18 starts, nine of which have been wins. She is a seven-time graded stakes winner.
“She hasn’t run over dirt since the Delaware Handicap (gr. II, sixth in July, 2009), but the winner won wire-to-wire that day and for whatever reason it was not her best race.
“I have a lot of respect for the horses that are in (the Ladies Classic), don’t get me wrong. But there is no Zenyatta in there and as long as we’re healthy and doing well, we’re going to give it a go.”
Three-year-old Blind Luck is expected to the favorite in the 1 1/8-mile race.
Carroll said Acoma will work again on Oct. 31, one day before Breeders’ Cup pre-entries are due. She shipped back to Churchill immediately after winning the Spinster by a half length.
The Spinster was also the first grade I victory for Carroll, 50, a native of Ireland who came the United States when he was 25. He is based at Churchill.
“It was my proudest moment in racing,” Carroll said of the Spinster win. “Doing it for a classy bunch of owners and the whole staff at Middlebrook; it was wonderful. And to do it with Acoma, who we had since since she was 2 and campaigned her whole career, was great. We were fortunate to run third in the Kentucky Derby (with Denis of Cork in 2008) and have had some nice wins, but this was very special.”