After a brief scare April 26, champion Acclamation was declared fit and ready by trainer Don Warren, who said the 6-year-old could run in the $150,000 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap (gr. II) at Betfair Hollywood Park May 5.
Contested at 1 1/16 miles on Cushion Track, the Mervyn LeRoy is one of three stakes on a program that will also include the simulcast of the 138th Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) from Churchill Downs.
According to Warren, Acclamation took “a few bad steps” Thursday in preparation for a start for the April 27 Inglewood Handicap (gr. IIIT), necessitating his scratch from the race.
“We can’t take a chance with a horse like this,” Warren said April 29. “But the x-rays were clean, his legs were cold and he galloped perfect Saturday and Sunday.”
Acclamation, the Eclipse Award winner as the nation's outstanding older male, has not raced since Oct. 2 when he registered his fifth consecutive victory in the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (gr. IIT).
“We really wanted to get a race into him before the Whittingham,” Warren said. "Now that we’re sure he’s OK, he’ll probably run in the LeRoy. He’ll ship to Betfair Hollywood Park to work Tuesday (May 1) and then we’ll make the final decision.’’
The $250,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT) at 1 1/4 miles on turf is June 9.
Acclamation, owned by his California breeders Bud and Judy Johnston in partnership with Peter and Mary Hilvers, is by Unusual Heat--Winning in Style, by Silveyville. He has earned $1,628,048 while posting a career record of 9-2-6 in 28 starts. He won five of seven starts in 2011 while earning more than $1.1 million.
In other LeRoy news, Farish, Dixiana Stables and Thoroughbred Legend Racing Stable’s Morning Line will make his first start of the year and first for John Shirreffs.
“I really like what I’ve seen so far,” said Shirreffs. "He looks very competitive and like typical Tiznows, he’s very versatile. The owners just decided to give him some time off after his last race.”
In his most recent start last Aug. 6 at Saratoga for former trainer Nick Zito, the 5-year-old finished 11th in the Whitney Invitational (gr. I). He won the Carter Handicap (gr. I) last spring. Joe Talamo has the riding assignment.