In a split decision worthy of a season in which very little was settled definitively on the racetrack, the California-bred Acclamation notched the Eclipse Award for 2011’s top older male. Acclamation’s three grade I triumphs on the season were the most of any older male runner except male turf champion Cape Blanco, who matched Acclamation with his own trio of grade I wins.
Acclamation excelled as a homebred for the Johnston family’s Old English Rancho, an operation located near Sanger, Calif., and one rich in history over its 70 years in the Thoroughbred business.
The 5-year-old of 2011 is a son of perennial leading California sire Unusual Heat--Winning in Style, by Silveyville. After a pair of disappointing starts to begin the season, Acclamation came to hand winning both the 12-furlong Jim Murray Handicap (gr. IIT) and the 10-furlong Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT) for the second season in a row.
Shortening up to a mile and an eighth, Acclamation defeated top runners Jeranimo and Caracortado easily in the Eddie Read Stakes (gr. IT) at Del Mar, then came back on that track’s Polytrack surface to take the $1 million Pacific Classic Stakes (gr. I). Acclamation made it five stakes victories in a row with his triumph in the Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship Stakes (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita. For the year he won five of seven starts and $1,126,000. Acclamation remains in training for a 2012 campaign.
Ellwood Johnston, the founder of Old English Rancho, claimed Acclamation’s third dam, Solidity, for $1,250 at Caliente racetrack, and Old English has made the family ever since.
Acclamation outpolled Eclipse runner-up Game On Dude, winner of the Big ‘Cap and runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (both gr. I) 95-70. The other finalist was Whitney Invitational Handicap and Metropolitan Handicap (both gr. I) victor Tizway, who notched 52 votes.