Using the same tactics he had in winning the Jim Murray Memorial Handicap three weeks earlier, Acclamation led all the way in capturing the $250,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap on Saturday at Hollywood Park.
Giving both trainer Don Warren and jockey Christian Santiago Reyes their first victory in a Grade 1, the 4-year-old Unusual Heat colt out of the Silveyville mare Winning In Style took full advantage of his inside post and the scratch of Red Sun, who would have been a pace rival.
Owned by breeders Bud and Judy Johnston, the 3-1 third choice wasn’t as dominant as he had been in the Murray – a record 7 ½ length victory on May 15 – but earned his most prestigious win by 1 ½ lengths over 14-1 shot Hyades.
In becoming the second horse to take both the Murray and Whittingham – joining Storming Home, who completed the parlay in 2003 – Acclamation ran the 1 ¼ miles on turf in 1:59.45.
“I rode him the same way I did last time,’’ said Santiago Reyes through an interpreter. “The way the race came up, there wasn’t much speed, so I hustled him out of the gate. He’s just a good horse and he’s real sharp right now. He was very strong the entire race.’’
The win was the fourth in 19 starts for Acclamation, the first California bred to win the race since Lava Man in 2006. He has earned $497,048.
“We’ve gotten lucky the last couple of races where the speed has scratched and there wasn’t a lot of speed to go with him, so we didn’t have a lot of strategy except to go ahead and lead the way,’’ said Warren. “I told him (Santiago Reyes) that he runs so well on the turn, that when you get to the middle of that (far turn) kick and go on wherever you are. Kick and go. Make a run for it right there.
“He loves this course. We’ll see how he comes out of this race. There is the ($100,000) Sunset Handicap (at the Murray distance of 1 ½ miles) on the last day of the meet (July 18).’’
Acclamation paid $8.20, $5 and $4. Hyades, who finished three-quarters of a length in front of 14-1 shot Brushburn, returned $11.40 and $8. The show payoff on Brushburn, a California bred who was looking for his third consecutive victory, was $8.60.
Loup Breton, the 8-5 favorite, was fourth, then came Battle Of Hastings, the 3-1 second choice, Unusual Suspect, Rendezvous, Scintillo, Porfido and Carry Gulch, who was pulled up with about a quarter of a mile to run. The stewards reported there was an issue with the 5-year-old’s left foreleg.
Earlier, Cost Of Freedom gave trainer John Sadler a record fifth victory in the $100,000 Los Angeles Handicap with his second wire-to-wire win of the meet.
Able to assume control immediately under jockey Tyler Baze, the 7-year-old Cee’s Tizzy gelding out of the Moscow Ballet mare Freedom Dance got the job done in 1:08.49 for the six furlongs.
The victory in the Grade III was the fourth in seven starts for Cost Of Freedom since he was claimed for $50,000 by Sadler for owners Gary and Cecil Barber on July 28, 2008 at Del Mar.
Two of the wins have been in graded stakes, including the Ancient Title, a Grade 1, on Sept. 27, 2008 at Santa Anita.
A winner of eight of 15 overall, the California bred has earned $666,105. Of that amount, $517,973 has been since the claim.
“He’s back to his old self, huh?’’ asked Baze. “He’s just incredible. He’s 100% right now and if they can just keep him like this for the rest of the year, it’s on to the Breeders’ Cup again.’’
Cost Of Freedom nearly won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint last fall at Santa Anita. He was third, a head behind winner Dancing In Silks, at 18-1 in his final race of 2009.
“What a neat horse,’’ said Gary Barber. “The main thing is to keep him healthy. If everything goes right, we will shoot for the Breeders’ Cup.’’ The Breeders’ Cup Sprint will be run on Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs.
In giving Sadler, who was in New York Saturday to saddle Dave In Dixie in the Belmont Stakes, his second consecutive Los Angeles win – the trainer won with Red Arrow in 2009 – Cost Of Freedom paid $4, $3 and $2.60. E Z’s Gentleman, who finished three-quarters of a length back in second, returned $5.80 and $4.20. The show price on My Summer Slew, the longest shot in the field of seven at nearly 35-1, was $7.40.
M One Rifle, the 2-1 second choice, was fourth, then came Hiya Silver, Jiggly and Bet On Victor. Stoneside was scratched.
In the first of the day’s stakes, Turning Top made it three consecutive wins, defeating Rosey de Megeve by a head in the $61,950 Redondo Beach.
Trained by Simon Callaghan for owner Michael Tabor, the 4-year-old Pivotal filly out of the Cadeaux Generaux mare rallied on the outside to win as the 6-5 favorite under jockey Brice Blanc.
The win was the fifth in 14 starts for the Irish bred and her second in as many races on the Hollywood Park turf course. She has earned $111,943.
A winner once in six starts in England before arriving in the United States, Turning Top paid $4.40, $3.20 and $2.60. The mile was covered in 1:36.53.
Rosey de Megeve, the pacesetter who battled back to be second after being headed by Value Stream, the race longshot at 10-1, paid $6.20 and $4.80. Value Stream, who swept to the lead at the top of the stretch, then faltered a bit near the wire to finish a neck behind Rosey de Megeve, returned $4.40 to show. Exquisite and Annihilation completed the order of finish. Czechers and Éclair de Lune were scratched.