Acoma Turns Spinster Upside Down
by Jack Shinar
Date Posted: 10/10/2010 7:11:17 PM
Last Updated: 10/12/2010 11:35:21 AM

Acoma in the Spinster Stakes.
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Photo: Mathea Kelley

Multiple stakes winner winner Acoma added a first grade I victory to her stellar record when she seized the lead coming off the turn for home and turned back Milwaukee Appeal in the final strides to win the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes before 11,057 at Keeneland Oct. 10 (VIDEO).

The longest shot in the field at 23-1, Acoma overcame the outside post in the field of 10 for jockey Alan Garcia to win by a half-length. Milwaukee Appeal, the second biggest price on the board, finished a clear second by 2 3/4 lengths over slight 5-2 favorite Hot Cha Cha. In what could be the final race of her career, Acoma earned $300,000 for the victory, boosting her career total to $1,000,898.

With her first victory in four starts in 2010, Acoma is now unbeaten in two races over Keeneland's Polytrack. She completed the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:48 3/5 to improve to nine wins in 18 races overall.

David Carroll trains Acoma, a beautifully-bred 5-year-old daughter of Empire Maker--Aurora, by Danzig, for owners and breeders Helen Alexander and Helen Groves.

“Possibly this could be her last race,”  Carroll said about Acoma. “She’s been a great filly for us. This is her first grade I (win) and my first grade I (win). To do it together at Keeneland for Helen (Alexander) and her mother, Mrs. Groves, and the whole staff at Meadowbrook Farm is absolutely special.''

Acoma paid $49.60, $23.40, and $11.80. Milwaukee Appeal, coming off a third-place finish in Monmouth Park's Molly Pitcher Stakes (gr. II) Aug. 29, returned $15.20 and $7.60, rounding out a $550.60 exacta. The $2 trifecta with Hot Cha Cha ($2.80) third, was worth $3,107.40.

The victory earned Acoma a berth in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (gr. I) Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs. However, none of the top three finishers are expected to contest the 1 1/8-mile race on dirt, according to Associated Press.

Acoma settled in sixth or seventh on the outside for Garcia as Rinterval got a clear early lead to set the pace. She was pushed along by Tizaqueena with Milwaukee Appeal a close third. Rinterval had the lead for the opening half-mile while clicking off fractions of :23.44 and :47.34 before Tizaqueena collared her rounding the final turn after six furlongs in 1:11.48. Acoma ranged into contention while four paths wide on the outside and was gaining quickly.

Tizaqueena led the field narrowly over Milwaukee Appeal, with Kent Desormeaux aboard, in the stretch as Rinterval fell back. Under a steady drive, Acoma, on the far outside, gradually took over from Milwaukee Appeal approaching mid-stretch and those two battled from there. Acoma had her rival's measure in the final strides and was inching away as they hit the wire.

Hot Cha Cha, rallying from mid-pack for James Graham, got for third by 1 1/4 lengths over It's Tea Time, who rounded out a $2 superfecta of $16,127.20. Then came Funny Moon, Rinterval, Striking Dancer, Tizaqueena, Zardana, and Askbut I Won'ttell.

A seven-time graded stakes winner, Acoma was coming off a seventh-place showing in the Beverly D Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington Park Aug. 21. Her prior victory on Keeneland's Polytrack came in her maiden-breaking second start at 1 1/16 miles in April 2008.

``She's run on every surface, won on every surface,'' Carroll said. ``It worked out beautifully. Alan gave her a great ride. I'm just so happy for everyone involved with her. She's such a special filly.''

The Spinster ended a three-race losing streak for the bay mare since she captured the Cardinal Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Churchill Downs turf last November.

Silver Reunion was scratched.



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