The return of Acclamation, the champion older male of 2011, highlights the first Friday night program of the Betfair Hollywood Park spring/summer season April 27.
Six-year-old Acclamation heads a field of five in the $100,000 Inglewood Handicap (gr. IIIT) at 1 1/8 miles on turf. The race was lengthened to nine furlongs this year after being run at 1 1/16 miles since 1987. The Inglewood will go as the third race. Approximate post time is 8:05 p.m.
The 2012 Hollywood Park meet begins April 26.
Patrick Valenzuela, launching a comeback at Hollywood after a "retirement" of four months, will ride Acclamation, the top weight at 124 pounds. Valenzuela, 49, is 2-for-2 aboard Acclamation, winning the $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) and the Clement L. Hirsch (gr. IIT) during Santa Anita’s Fall meet.
That three-quarters of a length win last Oct. 2 was the most recent start for Acclamation, who suffered a foot bruise and went to the sidelines to rest, skipping the Breeders’ Cup.
Owned by breeders Bud and Judy Johnston and Peter and Mary Hilvers and trained by Don Warren, Acclamation earned his Eclipse Award on the strength of a campaign which saw him win five of seven starts. He won on turf and Polytrack while earning $1,126,000.
Three of the victories came in grade I events, including his second straight win in the Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT) June 11 at Hollywood. The other grade I successes were achieved in the Eddie Read July 23 on turf and the Pacific Classic Aug. 28 over Polytrack at Del Mar.
A son of Unusual Heat and the Silveyville mare Winning in Style, Acclamation has won nine of 28 lifetime and banked $1,628,048.
Acclamation has proven exceptionally tough over Hollywood's turf course, winning five of eight starts while third in two of his defeats, including the 2009 Hollywood Derby (gr. IT). Dismissed at 75-1, he finished two lengths behind fellow state bred The Usual Q.T.
Besides the two Whittingham wins, Acclamation’s other local successes have come in the Jim Murray Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT) in 2010 and 2011. He also defeated maidens Dec. 21, 2008 in his third career start and turf debut.
Trying to become the first Eclipse winner to take the Inglewood since Leroidesanimaux in 2004, Acclamation will be making his second appearance in the race. He was fourth in 2010, finishing 2 ¾ lengths behind winner Gallant Son.
Haimish Hy is a grade I winner on the Hollywood turf. The 5-year-old son of Ecton Park was almost 12-1 when he rallied from last to win the 2010 Hollywood Derby by a neck.
Owned by a partnership that includes Zvika Akin, Richard Franco, Sy Goldstein, and trainer Art Sherman, Haimish Hy will be making his second start after a layoff of almost 10 months in the Inglewood. He was fourth, beaten five lengths, in the Sidd Finch Stakes April 1 at Santa Anita.
The Kentucky-bred will be seeking his first win since the Hollywood Derby surprise.
Claimed for $25,000 last July 31 at Del Mar, Holladay Road will try for his fifth win in eight starts for his current connections -- owners Gary and Wendy Broad and trainer Julio Canani.
A 7-year-old Street Cry gelding, Holladay Road comes off a neck win in a Santa Anita turf allowance March 29.
Trainer John Shirreffs, who has won the Inglewood two of the past five years, will try for the upset with Utopian. The 5-year-old son of Rock Hard Ten is owned by Jerry and Ann Moss. Shirreffs won the Inglewood with After Market in 2007 and Madeo (for the Mosses) in 2009.
Smug will try to provide Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale with consecutive Inglewood wins. Drysdale, who scored with Liberian Freighter in 2011, will saddle Robert S. Evans' homebred, a 4-year-old El Prado colt. Smug broke his maiden over the local grass last May 14.
$100,000 Inglewood Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 3, 8:05 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Haimish Hy (KY), J Talamo, 114, A Sherman
2. Utopian (KY), M E Smith, 115, J A Shirreffs
3. Smug (KY), J Rosario, 112, N D Drysdale
4. Acclamation (CA), P A Valenzuela, 124, D Warren
5. Holladay Road (CA), R Bejarano, 114, J C Canani