Helen Groves and Helen Alexander’s homebred Acoma stayed close to the pace, corralled Tight Precision in mid-stretch and went on to win the $150,000 Pin Oak Valley View (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) by a half-length on the Keeneland turf Oct. 17.
Trained by David Carroll, Acoma won the Valley View in her first start on grass. The 3-year-old daughter of Empire Maker has now hit the winner’s circle on three different surfaces in her short career and has scored in four of seven tries. She completed the 1 1/16 miles on ‘firm’ turf in 1:43.60 under Julien Leparoux, who snared his fourth victory of the afternoon.
Tight Precision, with Jamie Theriot aboard, held off Grenadia by a nose for second. Scolara was fourth in a field of 11 sophomore fillies.
"She's a beautifully bred filly, (by) Empire Maker out of Aurora, by Danzig, so she's got turf ability top to bottom," Carroll said. "We breezed her a few days ago and even though the time was slow she got over it beautifully. She has the class, obviously. She got a superior ride from Julien; unbelievable ride."
Longshot Julia Tuttle controlled the early pace in the Valley View, setting moderate splits of :23.18 and :47.64 under Rafael Mojica Jr. Tight Precision took command around the turn, with Grenadia and Acoma also making up ground.
Tight Precision took a half-length length lead into the stretch, but Acoma had her sights set on the leader. She finally hit the front under heavy urging from Leparoux, and was all out to hold off her two closest challengers.
"We got a perfect trip," Leparoux said. "We knew she could handle (the turf). She worked very good (Oct. 6). We got a perfect trip behind the early leader and went to the outside, and she won."
Acoma, who did not race as a juvenile, broke her maiden at second asking on the Keeneland Polytrack in April, then followed with consecutive wins on the Churchill Downs dirt. The latter was a half-length victory in the grade III Dogwood Stakes on May 31. She entered off a runner-up finish to Maren’s Meadow in the Monmouth Oaks (gr. III) Aug. 9.
Going off as the lukewarm favorite, the winner paid $9, $5 and $3.60. The exacta (10-3) returned $89, while the trifecta (10-3-4) was worth $1487.
Clear Pond finished fifth, followed by Miss Challenge, Much Obliged, Forest Trail, Julia Tuttle, Stealin' Kisses and Absolutely Smart. Dreaming of Liz and Absolutely Cindy were scratched.
On the undercard, Summerplace Farm’s homebred Kelly’s Landing, who ran unplaced in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) the last two years, hit the winner’s circle for the first time in three starts this season in an $80,000 optional claimer. A 7-year-old gelded son of Patton trained by Eddie Kenneally, Kelly’s Landing covered six furlongs on the Polytrack in a blazing 1:08.39, which was just off the course record. The multiple graded stakes winner, who has earned more than $1.8 million in his career, paid $3.60 to win.