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Acclamation Ready for Whittingham

Hilvers, Johnston, Johnston, et al’s Acclamation emerged from his Friday workout “fine,” according to trainer Don Warren and will enter Saturday’s Grade I, $250,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap at 1 1-4 miles on turf. The 6-year-old will be going for his third straight Whittingham victory.

 

“He jogged great the last couple of mornings,” said Warren, who returned to his barn six days ago following hospitalization for a serious septic infection. “It looks like he’s out of the woods.”

 

Acclamation, last year’s champion older male, had his training interrupted briefly on two occasions when he took a couple of awkward steps. After extensive testing, no physical problem was found and the California-bred son of Unusual Heat quickly resumed his morning activities. He worked a mile on Cushion Track in 1:38 2/5 May 25th and the same distance a week later in :1:41 1/5 breezing. Pat Valenzuela was aboard for both drills and is expected to ride in the Whittingham. Warren said Valenzuela, who has missed some time due to weight issues, arrived early for the work and “looked great.”

 

“That last work was a little slower than I wanted,” said Warren. The rider on (workmate) Norvsky screwed it up by going too slow.” The trainer added, however, that the pair finished strongly. “I’m leaning toward running Norvsky in the Whittingham, as well. Right now, it looks like we’ll ship the day of the race.”

 

Meanwhile, in other Whittingham developments, multiple graded stakes winner Bourbon Bay was expected to provide Acclamation with his main challenge, but is now doubtful, according to Neil Drysdale. “I was going to run him,” said Drysdale, “but he came up with a foot problem this morning, so right now I don’t think he’ll go.” Drysdale added that Omayad is a possibility for the race, but he’s leaning toward sending the Chilean bred to New York for the Grade I Manhattan Handicap June 9th. Alexis Barba said Make Music for Me is probable.

 

 

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