Santa Anita, 9th Race - April 22, 2007
The ex-claimer On the Acorn won his first stakes on Sunday in Santa Anita's top marathon turf race, the $250,000 San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap.
The victory accomplished a meet-long goal for trainer Mike Mitchell and the six-man Indizguys partnership who claimed On the Acorn for $40,000 last November and watched him excel in recent months in longer turf races.
Ridden by Victor Espinoza, On the Acorn rallied from fifth on the final turn to take the lead in midstretch. A 6-year-old gelding, On the Acorn pulled clear in the final sixteenth to win the Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano by 1 1/2 lengths over pacesetter Sweet Return, who set fractions of 50.34 seconds and 1:14.64.
"He was just so relaxed," Mitchell said. "I told Victor to cover him up. I didn't care what the pace was."
On the Acorn ($7.40) ran about 1 3/4 miles on turf in 2:48.02. The San Juan Capistrano is the longest graded stakes in the United States.
Sweet Return, the 8-5 favorite, finished a neck in front of Fitz Flag in the field of seven.
On the Acorn has won 6 of 27 starts and $410,812. Since being claimed, he has earned $248,800. Mitchell said the $250,000 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap over 1 1/2 miles on turf on May 12 is a possibility for On the Acorn.