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Acclamation Holds Off Twirling Candy in Pacific Classic

California-bred Acclamation, ridden by Patrick Valenzuela, winner of the inaugural Pacific Classic twenty years ago aboard another Cal-Bred, Best Pal, led from wire-to-wire Sunday under masterful handling to win the 21st running of Del Mar’s $1 million signature event.

Acclamation, sent postward at 4-1 in the field nine older horses, took command leaving the gate of the Grade I mile and one-quarter contest, shook off the stalking Game on Dude at the head of the stretch and then courageously withstood the lengthy challenge of 5-2 favored Twirling Candy, scoring by a head.

Acclamation’s time of 2:00.61 was the fastest Pacific Classic since Del Mar installed Polytrack as its main track surface in 2007. The final half-mile was run in :47.73 with a final quarter-mile in exactly 24 seconds.

Stately Victor was third, four lengths behind Twirling Candy, and a nose in front of the fading Game on Dude, the Santa Anita Handicap winner piloted by Chantal Sutherland. Bourbon Bay and Great Warrior were scratched.

Acclamation is a five-year-old son of Unusual Heat bred by the Old English Rancho of co-owners Bud and Judy Johnston – the other owners are the Johnstons’ son-in-law and daughter, Mary and Peter Hilvers. He is conditioned by Don Warren.

Acclamation was scoring his third straight Grade I success, having won the Charles Whittingham Stakes at Hollywood Park prior to taking the Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar July 29.  It was his eighth win in 27 starts and first money of $600,000 increased his earnings to $1,538,048.

To his supporters in the Pacific Classic day crowd of 29,267,  he returned $10.80, $5.40 and $5. Twirling Candy paid $4 and $3.40, while Stately Victor returned $7 to show.

Since the Pacific Classic is part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In”  program, Acclamation will have the entry fee of $150,000 into the  Breeders’ Cup Classic waived, with a stipend to cover travel expenses.

For the 48-year-old Valenzuela, Acclamation’s triumph marks a return to glory in a career of ups and downs. He won the 1991 inaugural of the Pacific Classic in come-from-behind fashion aboard Best Pal, contrasting with Acclamation’s start-to-finish win Sunday.

Acclamation is the fifth Cal-bred to win the Pacific Classic, preceded by Best Pal, Bertrando, Free House and General Challenge.

Because there were no perfect tickets in the Pick Six, Wednesday’s program will have a carryover of $341,252. Post time is 2 p.m.


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Older Comments about Acclamation Holds Off Twirling Candy in Pacific Classic...

Not a total shocker as turf horses seem to run well on that particular surface. Twirling Candy ran great he just got beat, the winner was allowed and easy half and there goes the race as many others have noted here. That being said Twirling Candy had dead aim at the winner in the stretch but could not get by. Coming home in 47 and change is quite impressive for both horses and the last part in 12 and change. I don't know if the winner will be as good on the CD dirt as he was this weekend but take nothing away from him on this one, just a head better. Twirling Candy has run 3 time at this distance, throw the rodeo race out and he has been beaten a neck and a head. He has also danced in all the big races out west which is what we all want from our best horses so Kudos to the owners and trainer, they could have easily gone to the grass at a shorter distance.
Yet another result that proves my point about saying that there's absolutely no standout among the older American horses this season. Nearly every "so-called" expert that I heard handicap the Pacific Classic had either Twirling Candy or Game on Dude penciled in as the winner of the race. I really do believe that this year's Breeders Cup Classic is going to be very vulnerable to being won by one of the European horses. In my mind, Tizway has looked the best among the older American horses on conventional dirt. But Tizway's ability to stay 1-1/4 effectively enough to win the Classic is very much in question? The only time he's ever tried 1-1/4 was in the 09' JCGC, and he finished a well beaten 3rd on the day. About 6 lengths behind Summer Bird and about 5 lengths behind Quality Road. The way things stand right now, I personally believe that Stay Thirsty may represent America's best chance of keeping the Breeders Cup Classic trophy in America this year. TJMO.
This may be heresy (heck, chalk it up to my being a newbie), but I say that Twirling Candy ran the better race. Not taking anything away from Acclamation, but Acclamation was running his preferred distance, yet he had to set a track record to beat Twirling Candy! TC never gave up, yes he had no excuses, but, in the future at 1 1/4 distance, on dirt, TC wins that race 9 times out of 10. JMHO! Yes, he's lost the 3 times he's tried at 1 1/4, but what great preps for the biggest race of the year!! Hope he gets the chance to try, anyway!
PVal did ride a great race. Wish I picked him.
Rosario got outridden by P Val
Awesome race. New track record. TC was very game to the bitter end.He is probably better at 9F but I absolutely do not believe the distance was a problem today.
yeah but TC havent won yet
T.C ran the distance in around 201 thats very respectable time.. To say he cant get the distance is not right . He proved he is VERY tough at that distance.
I thought TC was going to get there, but a great run by Acclamation!
Another great weekend race....
P Val takes 'em to school...the school of hard knock race ridin'.
3rd GRADE 1 in a row woohoo great job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Acclamation is going to the BREEDERS CUP CLASSIC woohoo i cant wait to see him he has a good chance of winning!!
yeah i knew it he was going to win!!good race candy but again he cant win the CLASSIC DISTANCE!!

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