could have easily won the Sunset Handicap (Grade III) on closing day at Hollywood Park coming off wins there in the Whittingham Memorial (Grade I) and Jim Murray (Grade II) for the second straight year. Instead, he was given a vote of confidence by owner Bud Johnston and produced his first graded stakes triumph away from Hollywood by cruising the mile and an eighth on turf to a front-running victory by over three lengths in the $300,000 Eddie Read
(Grade I) at Del Mar.
“We never had any doubt that he needed to be at Hollywood Park to win,” said trainer Donald Warren. “He loves these firm turf courses. He’s won at Del Mar before. He almost won the Del Mar Derby at 60-to-1 and he wasn’t even a developed race horse yet.”
Despite the only other speed being scratched out of the race with the defection of the mare Celtic Princess
, Acclamation was overlooked by the betting public as the 3-to-1 third choice under Joel Rosario, who has cruised to daylight scores by a combined 10 ¼ lengths in his only two rides aboard the aggressive pace presser.
“It looked like the horse broke a little slow, but he still made the lead pretty easy,” said Warren. “I always like to see a horse slip away like he did going into the last turn. It was done to perfection.”
After his stakes wins at Hollywood Park last year, Acclamation disappointed in the United Nations Handicap (Grade I) at Monmouth ahead of a sixth place finish in the Read. Entering a fresher horse on Saturday with no cross country trip on the schedule, the five-year-old son of Unusual Heat pushed his earnings near $950,000 with his seventh career victory while also capturing his first graded stake outside of a weak marathon division.
Jeranimo tracked in second throughout to earn the place as the 7-to-2 fourth choice while 7-to-5 favorite Caracortado settled for show dough.
Acclamation is likely headed to the $200,000 Del Mar Handicap (Grade II) on August 28 going a mile and three eighths on Del Mar’s turf course.
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