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Breeders' Cup 2017

Dozen Set for Whittingham

Acclamation, an easy winner of the Jim Murray Memorial Handicap on May 15, will shorten up a bit in search of another turf victory against 11 opponents in the $250,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap on Saturday at Hollywood Park.

The Whittingham is the richest of three stakes Saturday – along with the $100,000 Los Angeles Handicap at six furlongs on Cushion Track and the $60,000 Redondo Beach at one mile on turf.

There is an early post time of 11 a.m. on Saturday to coincide with the running of the Belmont Stakes from Belmont Park. Gates will open at 8 a.m. with the first import from Belmont at 8:35 a.m. The Belmont Stakes is scheduled for 3:32 p.m. PDT.

Hollywood Park will offer 11 races Saturday. The Redondo Beach goes as the fourth, the Los Angeles is the seventh and the Whittingham is the 10th.

A 7 ½ length winner at 14-1 in his first excursion at 1 ½ miles, the 4-year-old Unusual Heat colt out of the Silveyville mare Winning In Style will cut back to 1 ¼ miles in the Whittingham.

Owned by breeders Bud and Judy Johnston and trained by Don Warren, Accalamation is trying to become the second California bred in five years to win the Whittingham. Lava Man was successful in 2006. Three of Acclamation’s foes on Saturday are also Cal breds - Red Sun, Unusual Suspect and Brushburn.

Acclamation will also be seeking his first Grade 1 score. His best finish in two previous attempts was a third at 75-1 in the Hollywood Derby last Nov. 29. Christian Santiago Reyes will again ride Acclamation, who has won three of 18 while earning $347,048.

Trainer Neil Drysdale, who began his Hall of Fame career as an assistant to the legendary Whittingham, will send out Scintillo. A victory for Drysdale would be his record-equaling seventh in the race, which was previously called the Hollywood Invitational Turf Handicap. Whittingham and the late Bobby Frankel currently share the mark.

Scintillo, fourth as the 2-1 favorite in the Murray, eight lengths behind Acclamation, will have a new rider in Martin Pedroza. Owned by Leonard Lucas, the 5-year-old English bred son of Fantastic Light and the Thatching mare Danseuse du Soir, has won five of 28 and earned $524,499.

In terms of earnings, Battle Of Hastings is the most accomplished member of the Whittingham cast. Trained by Jeff Mullins for owner Michael House, the 4-year-old Royal Applause colt and the Night Shift mare Subya has collected $1,171,141 while capturing six of 18.

Second as the 5-2 favorite in the Hollywood Derby in his last start in Inglewood, Battle Of Hastings has won two of three at 10 furlongs.

Trainer Julio Canani, who has never won this event, will be represented by Loup Breton, the top weight at 119 pounds.

Third, beaten by a neck in the Turf Classic, which is also a Grade 1, at Churchill Downs on May 1, Loup Breton has won five of 23 and earned $730,712. Owned by Wildenstein Stable, the 6-year-old Anabaa horse and the Irish River mare Louvre will be ridden for the first time by Rafael Bejarano. Three of the Irish bred’s wins have come at the Whittingham distance.

Red Sun will be trying more than a mile for the first time in his brief career. Owned by breeder John Harris and trained by Carla Gaines, the 4-year-old Redattore gelding and the Affirmed mare Sunny Sara has won four of six and earned $146,900. He finished third in the San Francisco Mile in his initial venture into graded company on April 24 at Golden Gate Fields.

Claimed for $25,000 on Jan. 30 by trainer Steve Knapp for owners Albert and Kahtleen Mattivi, Brushburn has won three of six subsequent starts, including two in a row at Hollywood Park. The 4-year-old Unusual Heat gelding and the Afternoon Deelites mare Little Hottie has won six of 14 overall and $216,610.

The field also includes Rendezvous and Unusual Suspect, the third and fifth place finishers in the Murray, Carry Gulch, an Argentine bred who scored in his U.S. debut on May 8 for the Doubledown Stables Inc. and trainer Peter Miller, Great Siege, sixth in the Inglewood Handicap on April 25, Hyades, who has one win in four starts in this country and Porfido, who has lost 14 in a row since winning an optional claimer on Jan. 18, 2008 at Santa Anita.

From the inside out, here is the field for the 42nd Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap: Acclamation, Christian Santiago Reyes rides, 116 pounds; Rendezvous, Joe Talamo, 115; Unusual Suspect, Alonso Quinonez, 114; Red Sun, Victor Espinoza, 115; Loup Breton, Rafael Bejarano, 119; Porfido, David Flores, 114; Brushburn, Brice Blanc, 113; Hyades, Osman Cedeno, 113; Scintillo, Martin Pedroza, 118; Carry Gulch, Kerwin John; Battle Of Hastings, Tyler Baze, 118 and Great Siege, Julio Garcia, 113.



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Older Comments about Dozen Set for Whittingham...

Have not taken a close look at this event yet but my initial reaction is that Loup Breton and Battle of Hastings could be tough at this distance.

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