Acclamation, 2011 champion older male, will attempt to extend his winning streak to seven this weekend in the July 21 Eddie Read Handicap (gr. IT) at Del Mar, a race he captured a year ago in wire-to-wire fashion.
Acclamation likes to be on or just off the lead and has used those tactics to rattle off an impressive run of victories that began on May 14 of last year. Of his 10 career victories, nine have been on turf, but it was his gutsy score in the Pacific Classic (gr. I) on Polytrack that opened the door for an Eclipse Award as leading older male.
The 6-year-old Cal-bred horse by Unusual Heat out of the Silveyville mare Winning in Style has been a popular success story and a crowning achievement for trainer Don Warren and Old English Rancho, who have been together for over 35 years. Old English Rancho’s E.W. "Buddy" Johnston and his wife, Judy, who bred Acclamation, own the horse in partnership with Peter and Mary Hilvers.
A winner of only two of his first 17 starts, Acclamation finally put it all together, winning the Jim Murray Handicap (gr. IIT) and Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT) at
So, how does a horse go from 0-for-8 to 8-for-12? "One day we got the idea we should take the stick away,”
He did just that, opening an eight-length lead at odds of 14-1 and won off by himself by 7 1/4 lengths. The horse had been giving his all but was apparently resenting the whip. Once he was allowed to do everything on his own he turned into a different horse.
"He’s had an occasional little foot bruise, which you’re going to get when you keep them around so long, but he’s one of the soundest horses we’ve ever had,"
"I’ve had a great association with Old English Rancho. We’ve waited and waited and waited for a horse like this to come along. We’d rather he came along sooner than this, but I’ll take later. (Buddy
"He pulled up good after his last work," he said. "We were very pleased. He cruised along on the backside and finished up his last quarter in :23. We’re more concerned with how he pulls up, and he looks good this morning. In April, he would come back and act like he had a sore foot. We did some corrective shoeing after scratching out of the
"Last year the mornings were cool and overcast, and we were much more pleased with the Polytrack than we were the year before," he said. "Last year, my 15-horse stable went injury free. So far, Acclamation looks like he goes over the track very well. We’ll play it by ear. We have the option of going in the Del Mar Handicap (gr. IIT) if we’re not satisfied with the Polytrack."