Ward leans toward Commonwealth Cup for Acapulco, but Coolmore will decide Royal Ascot target

TwinSpires Staff

May 15th, 2016

Edited Churchill Downs press release

Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s Acapulco, winner of Saturday’s featured Unbridled Sidney at Churchill Downs, exited the race in good order according to trainer Wesley Ward.

“I’m standing in front of her right now and she looks good to me,” Ward said via telephone. “She did beautiful and she kind of took the worst of it being on the inside, but the most important thing is that we came out with a win so confidence-wise we can really push forward on to Royal Ascot. She galloped out strong and came out in good order. She came back tired, which is a good thing. It was her first race since February, but she came out great and gave it 100 percent.”

Acapulco is one of six horses that Ward plans on sending to Royal Ascot, a contingent that also includes Kentucky Juvenile victor Silvertoni. Acapulco will race in either the King’s Stand (G1) on June 14 or the Commonwealth Cup (G1) on June 17.

“I would certainly lean toward the Commonwealth,” Ward said. “It’s straight 3-year-olds and would be the easiest of the two you would think, but the decision lies with Coolmore and whatever decision they want to make. We’re excited about her; she’s a really great filly.”

Jockey Robby Albarado piloted the daughter of Scat Daddy in Saturday’s race and shares the same level of excitement as her trainer.

“She’s a real nice filly,” Albarado said. “Before I even worked her Wesley thought that she was special and he’s had some great 2-year-olds in the past and fast ones. He thought she was one of the better ones that he’s trained. She felt really good. It was her second race back off her long layoff and Wesley was pretty confident in her as I was because I had been on her quite a few times in the mornings.”

Albarado was aboard Acapulco in her career debut, a third-place effort in a maiden special weight at Churchill Downs last May.

“Physically she’s gotten a lot bigger since then,” Albarado said. “I can’t say that she’s matured much because she was mature before she even ran. She was a constant professional since I first got on her and she felt strong yesterday beating a good bunch.”

Albarado discussed the possibility of riding the filly in her next start at Royal Ascot, a racetrack where he has yet to ride.

“It’s one of the few places I’ve never been,” Albarado said. “It would be nice to be able to go out there and ride someone live like her. I’ve been to Dubai, Hong Kong and a lot of other places but I’ve never been to Royal Ascot. It would be exciting.”

Albarado was given the opportunity to ride Acapulco at Royal Ascot last year when she ran in the Queen Mary (G2).

“He wanted me to go ride her last year in her second start and I didn’t go,” Albarado said. “I said, ‘I don’t know, she’s a maiden in a stake,’ and she went and won it. I’m mad at myself for not going but hopefully I’ll get to this year.”

Photo courtesy Churchill Downs/Coady Photography