Acapulco scores easily in Royal Ascot prep

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

May 14th, 2016

Acapulco will make a return trip to England for next month's Royal Ascot meet on a two-race win streak after defeating five older rivals in Saturday's $63,433 Unbridled Sidney at Churchill Downs.

Ridden by Robby Albarado, Acapulco was part of a three-way battle for the lead through an opening quarter in :22.55, but asserted her dominance turning for home while riding the rail. The three-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy opened up in the stretch and comfortably scored by 3 1/2 lengths over Late Spring in a time of :57.47 for five furlongs on a firm turf. Second choice Lindaisfarne finished third.

The even-money favorite, Acapulco paid $4.

Acapulco, an impressive physical specimen, has long been expected to contest the Commonwealth Cup (G1), a six-furlong dash for three-year-olds inaugurated last year. It will be run on the fourth day of the Royal Ascot meeting on Friday, June 16. However, the King's Stand (G1), a five-furlong race open to older horses on opening day of the meet, is apparently also being considered.

Owned by the Coolmore connections of Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith, Acapulco is trained by Wesley Ward, who sent the the filly to Royal Ascot last year and dazzled the crowd with a victory in the five-furlong Queen Mary (G2). She returned to England in August, and finished two lengths second in the Nunthorpe (G1) at York against older horses.

The Nunthorpe and her debut third at Keeneland have been the only losses for Acapulco in her five-race career. She preceded Saturday's victory with a first-level allowance score over the Polytrack at Turfway Park on February 19.

"She ran great. You couldn't ask for anything better, especially with a little give in the ground today," Ward said. She came back a little tired and that's good. I was really concerned (about the Saturday morning rain). The other horse (Tesalina) would have stayed in if it was on the dirt, but I certainly didn't want it to come off...I wouldn't have known what to do.
"(Her jockey at Royal Ascot) will be either Ryan Moore or maybe Robby because he knows her so well; he does a lot of the work with her," Ward added. "We'll see. Of course it will be Ryan's call first because he's contracted to ride (for Coolmore). But if they have another stallion in the race, he may be committed to (trainer) Aidan (O'Brien). It's not my call but (Robby Albarado) is who I'd ask to use (if Ryan Moore) is unavailable. Robby has done a lot of work with her and rides her pretty good."

(Churchill Downs/Coady Photography)