Accelerate takes a detour to Pegasus World Cup finale

While the Breeders’ Cup has acted as a popular swan song for horses moving on to stud, the Pegasus World Cup, run in late January, is beginning to keep them around for a little bit longer, changing the adjustment times for stallion farms and their new arrivals.

That appears just fine for Lane's End Farm, the Versailles, Ky., operation that will newly stand two Breeders' Cup winners and a 2017 champion.

“If you have a horse that doesn’t run well in the Breeders’ Cup, say, and needed that big performance in the Breeders’ Cup and didn’t get it, if he then gets it in the Pegasus, a lot of mares are already taken,” said Lane's End's Bill Farish. “People are booking earlier and earlier, so it can hurt you that way.

"I think in the case of City of Light and Accelerate, they had the big performance.”

City of Light, of course, won the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile just before Accelerate prevailed in the Classic. Lane's End is also welcoming West Coast, a multiple Grade 1 winner, to its 2019 roster.

Accelerate and West Coast are already at Lane's End for inspection this week. The former will soon return to trainer John Sadler for training up toward the Jan. 26 Pegasus, whereas Owners Gary and Mary West have not made an official announcement on West Coast’s retirement. Farish expects he will remain at Lane’s End instead of return to trainer Bob Baffert in California. 
“When we signed an agreement with Lane’s End, we put it in that we could run in the Pegasus if we want,” Sadler said. “So he’ll tell us. When I get him back home and get him on the track for a couple weeks, he’ll tell us if he’s ready for the big one.”

The inaugural Pegasus World Cup attracted California Chrome just before his retirement to Taylor Made, while Gun Runner also race at Gulfstream Park before standing at stud this year at Three Chimneys Farm. Accelerate will follow the same path -- possibly, as with those two, getting named Horse of the Year in the process.

Sadler described Lane’s End as the “gold standard” in stallion farms and, adding that it wasn’t a tough choice when deciding where Accelerate, who's campaigned by Hronis Racing, would begin his stud career. He also trained multiple sons of Lane's End stallion Candy Ride in Twirling Candy, Sidney’s Candy, Kettle Corn and Candy Boy. Twirling Candy is also a Lane’s End resident.

Accelerate’s five Grade 1 wins this year – the Santa Anita Handicap, the Gold Cup at Santa Anita, the Pacific Classic, the Awesome Again and the Breeders’ Cup Classic – no doubt give him stallion credentials, but Sadler also believes Accelerate will pass on to progeny his calm demeanor. Accelerate walked off the van Sunday at a leisurely pace and quietly gazed out the windows of his new stall while surrounded by onlookers.

“He’s got a good personality,” Sadler said. “He’s a solid citizen. He does well on everything he does and he’s really never disappointed us.”
Other than the accomplishments on the track, Lane's End's three new studs carry the same sire lines that helped build it into a top farm.

“He’s an interesting horse for us because obviously Smart Strike meant a lot to us here and had a lot to do with building our farm,” Farish said, “so having a grandson of his is a big plus for us. I think some people might look at the Lookin At Lucky as not being the obvious sire of sires, but we’re pretty excited about that sire line.”

Smart Strike, who died in 2015, produced champions English Channel, Curlin, Lookin At Lucky and My Miss Aurelia, among other Breeders’ Cup winners and Canadian champions. Lookin At Lucky, a champion at 2 and 3, went on to sire Accelerate.

City of Light could also run in the Pegasus. Upon retirement, he has a stall waiting for him directly across from his sire, Quality Road, who tops Lane’s End’s 2019 roster with a stud fee of $150,000. In addition to City of Light, Quality Road has sired champions Abel Tasman and Caledonia Road, as well as Grade 1 winners Salty, Spring Quality and Bellafina.

As for West Coast, by Flatter, he’s settling in across from his grandsire, A.P. Indy. Now pensioned, A.P. Indy sired champions Mineshaft, Tempera, Bernardini and Honor Code, among other Grade 1 winners. Mineshaft and Honor Code also stand at Lane’s End. 

“We love to get sires by sire lines that we’ve had success with,” Farish said, “not exclusively that, but we do seem to have some success with that. All three of these horses fit that very well. They all have speed, but they can carry it a distance, and that’s something we definitely look for.”

 

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