Acclamation Back to Defend Jim Murray Title

Acclamation Back to Defend Jim Murray Title
Photo: benoitphoto.com
Acclamation was a winner in last year's Jim Murray.
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Acclamation returns to the Hollywood Park turf course May 14 he favors in an attempt to repeat his victory of a year ago in the $150,000 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT).

Trained by Don Warren, the Old English Rancho homebred owned by Bud and Judy Johnston and others enjoyed the best two-race streak of his career at last year's Hollywood spring/summer stand. The 5-year-old Acclamation followed his front-running Jim Murray win at 14-1 odds with a gate-to-wire victory in the Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT) on the Hollywood grass. It was his third triumph in six tries on his favorite course.

“He just gets a hold of this turf course,” Warren said of the 119-pound top weight.

The 1 1/2-mile Jim Murray has a field of six and goes as the third race on the Hollywood program with a 2:03 p.m. PDT probable post.

Acclamation, with just four wins in 23 lifetime starts, ended an 11-race skid in last year's Jim Murray. The California-bred son of Unusual Heat has lost four in a row since winning the 2010 Whittingham, including a last-place finish in the Charles Town Classic on a sloppy bullring in his most recent start April 16.

“There was mud and rain and trouble on the first turn,’’ said Warren of the race in West Virginia. “Nothing went right. He’s doing as well as ever.’’

Acclamation will try to join On The Acorn, who won in 2007-08, as the only repeat winner of the Jim Murray, named for the legendary sports columnist of the Los Angeles Times.

Joel Rosario, leading rider at the Hollywood meet, will replace Christian Santiago Reyes, who had been aboard Acclamation in his last six starts.

Acclamation does his best running alone on the lead -- he opened up in last year's race by 10 lengths before coasting home by 7 1/2 -- but that opportunity may not present itself this time. All Saint ships in from Arizona for trainer Louis Bradvica off of four consecutive gate-to-wire stakes wins at Turf Paradise.

Owned by Silvia Gamez, All Saint is a 5-year-old California-bred horse by Skimming. He began his career in Southern California but caught fire soon after his transfer to Turf Paradise late last year. His four wins have come by a combined margin of more than 10 lengths.

Haimish Hy was out of the money as the favorite in his two most recent starts -- the San Luis Rey Stakes (gr. IIT) and San Juan Capistrano Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita this spring -- and he looks for his first victory since the Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) at 11-1 odds last November. Art Sherman trains and is part owner of the 4-year-old Ecton Park colt.

The British-bred mare Restless Soul will attempt to become the first female to win the Jim Murray in 21 renewals. Neil Drysdale trains the 7-year-old by Singspiel for Cloros Bloodstock. Restless Soul finished third in the 1 1/4-mile Santa Barbara Handicap (gr. IIT) after setting the pace April 16 at Santa Anita.

Two Irish-bred veterans on the Southern California turf marathon circuit, Buenos Dias and Falcon Rock, look to get untracked in the Jim Murray.

Buenos Dias, whose lone victory in 15 starts in the United States came on the turf at Hollywood Park at the Murray distance last June 10, will be making his first appearance since finishing sixth in the San Luis Obispo (gr. IIT) Feb. 19 at Santa Anita. Owned by Charles Cella, the 6-year-old is trained by Ron McAnally.

Fifth in the San Juan Capistrano, Falcon Rock will be trying to end a nine-race losing streak for owner Michael Tabor and trainer Simon Callaghan.

$150,000 Jim Murray Handicap (gr. IIT, Race 3, 2:03 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/2 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Falcon Rock (IRE), G K Gomez, 114, S Callaghan
2. Buenos Dias (IRE), B Blanc, 116, R L McAnally
3. Haimish Hy (KY), M E Smith, 117, A Sherman
4. Restless Soul (GB), J Talamo, 110, N D Drysdale
5. Acclamation (CA), J Rosario, 119, D Warren
6. All Saint (CA), P A Valenzuela, 114, L A Bradvica
 

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