By Marty McGee
Sweet Acclaim got the stakes victory her connections were seeking Saturday when she came through as an odds-on favorite to win the 12th $50,000 Ellis Park Turf in western Kentucky.
Sweet Acclaim was coming off a near-miss in the Grade 3 Mint Julep at her home track, Churchill Downs, when finishing 1 1/2 lengths before Bitty Kitty. Personal Diary was third and Impeached was fourth in a field of nine older fillies and mares.
The top two finishers trailed into the first turn, and both got good trips in making their way to the front. Leaving the furlong pole, Bitty Kitty got through along the rail and made a momentary lead, only to have Sweet Acclaim and jockey Joe Rocco Jr. sweep past for a convincing score. The winner paid $3.40 after finishing the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:45.30 over a course rated good.
“I had horse throughout,” Rocco said. “I was confident throughout. My mare had a very good turn of foot and got the job done.”
Sweet Acclaim, a 5-year-old Irish-bred mare, is owned by Swift Thoroughbreds and Bradley Thoroughbreds and is trained by Brad Cox. Before the Mint Julep, she posted impressive back-to-back allowance victories at Fair Grounds and Churchill.
The $2 exacta (8-4) paid $24.80, the $1 trifecta (8-4-2) returned $43.90, and the 10-cent superfecta (8-4-2-6) was worth $23.34.
The Ellis Turf is the first of five stakes at a meet that runs through Sept. 5. The Grade 3 Groupie Doll on Aug. 6 is the meet highlight.