For the human connections of
Acclamation, the choice was between last Sunday’s Grade III, $100,000 Sunset
Handicap on closing day of the Hollywood Park meeting, or Saturday’s
Grade I, $300,000 Eddie Read Handicap on the opening weekend at Del Mar.
The decision: scratch from the
Sunset and gear up for the Read, the first of eight Grade I events during the
37-day meeting which starts today.
“The main factor was that it’s
three times as much money, and the (higher) grading helps the value of the
horse a lot more,” trainer Don Warren said recently while supervising morning
workouts at barn GG. “I was actually in favor of running in the Sunset; the
owner (primarily Old English Rancho) was not. But it’s all good.”
On paper, the 1 ½ miles of the
Sunset seemed better for Acclamation than the 1 1/8 of the Read. The 5-year-old
son of Unusual Heat had completed 1 ½ miles successfully in winning the Jim
Murray Handicap at Hollywood Park in 2010 and again last May. The most recent
Grade II Jim Murray Handicap victory was followed up a month later with a win
in the Grade I Charlie Whittingham at 1 ¼ miles.
But there was another factor to be
“The turf course played into it,”
Warren said. “He loves the turf at Hollywood Park, but by the end of the
meeting it can get chewed up. We’re hoping for a smooth carpet down here that
he’ll like just as well.”
Acclamation, with a career record of
six wins, two seconds and six third-place finishes in 25 starts and earnings of
$758,048, worked five furlongs on the turf in 1:01.40 on Monday. An “easy”
breeze for a horse that Warren, 59, describes as easy to train.
“He just goes about his business and
really loves to go to the racetrack,” Warren said. “I used to gallop my own
horses until back trouble made me stop. I wish it was good enough that I could
Warren, who started as a hot walker
as a teenager, had what he termed as “failed” back surgery two years ago but
finds racetrack life therapeutic. “I take my pain killers and it feels better
when I’m here (at the track) because this is where I want to be,” he said.
OF SEVEN ENTERED FOR 38TH RUNNING OF EDDIE READ
Acclamation and Caracortado were
among the principles in a field of seven entered Wednesday in Saturday’s Eddie
Caracortado, a 4-year-old
California-bred Cat Dreams gelding trained by Michael Machowsky for Blahut
Racing LLC or Lo Hi Racing, opened his 2011 campaign with a victory in the
$300,000 Sunshine Millions Turf at Santa Anita. With regular rider Joe Talamo up,
Caracortado recorded runner-up finishes in two of four graded stakes
assignments subsequent to the Sunshine Millions to build a career record
of 7-2-2 from 15 starts and earnings of $618,105.