For the second straight year, Acclamation followed up a win
going a mile and a half on Hollywood Park’s turf course in the Jim Murray
Handicap (Grade II) with a victory going a quarter mile less in the Charles
Whittingham Memorial Handicap (Grade I).
Sent off as the 3-to-5 favorite in the short field of six
today, the five-year-old son of Unusual Heat made the lead early after breaking
from the inside post No. 1 and maintained a measured length advantage over 7-to-1
third choice Celtic New Year while setting soft fractions. With Joe Talamo aboard for the first time in
seven starts, Acclamation widened his lead through the stretch to finish three
and a half lengths in front.
Bourbon Bay ran third as the 9-to-5 second choice and is
still winless away from Santa Anita Park since he moved to Southern
After winning last year’s Whittingham, Acclamation finished
far back in his two remaining starts of 2010 and began 2011 with two more
dismal efforts. However, a return to the Hollywood
turf course, where he’s now won 5-of-7, has resulted in a pair of victories to
push his career earnings over $750,000.
“We’ll consider the Hollywood Gold Cup. That’s doing
something different,” said trainer Donald Warren despite his horse being
winless in six starts over a synthetic surface.
Although Acclamation ran last in the United Nations (Grade I)
at Monmouth Park
last year, Warren
has not ruled out another ship to the east coast.
“I think that course back there would suit him. I don’t know
why he didn’t run well there last year,” said Warren. “Both times I shipped him out of town
he hasn’t run well and I can’t understand why because he’s not a nervous horse.”
As far as who will ride Acclamation, Warren said Joel Rosario, who was aboard for
the first time in this year’s Jim Murray, has the first call. Talamo would be
next, but Christian Santiago Reyes, who was aboard in both his wins here last
year, has fallen out of favor after four straight resounding defeats.
“That’s my horse. I don’t know what happened,” Reyes told me
after today’s race.
sees things differently explaining, “I was not happy with the last couple of
rides he gave. I couldn’t convince the man that the horse didn’t have to be in
front. After he won those two races last year, he just had it in his head that the
horse needed to be in front all the way and we insisted that he didn’t.”
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