A morning after the dominating victory by Acclamation in the Eddie Read Stakes (gr. IT) July 21 at Del Mar, trainer Don Warren talked about his plans for the remainder of the champion's 2012 campaign.
At his barn July 22, Warren said the 6-year-old California-bred “pulled up good and walked fine this morning,” showing no ill effects from the successful defense of his Eddie Read title. The question to be answered in the next few days or weeks is whether to attempt a second title defense, this time in the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic (gr. I) Aug. 26, or take another path.
“We’ll be looking at the Pacific Classic, just like last year,” Warren said. “It will all come down to how we feel about the way the meet goes with the Polytrack. If it seems like it’s kind to us, if it’s kind to the horses, that will play a big part in it.
“I have the option of going (in) the Del Mar Handicap (gr. IIT) as well if I want to stay on the turf.”
The $200,000 Del Mar Handicap, at 1 3/8 miles on the Jimmy Durante Turf course, is set for Aug. 25, one day before the TVG Pacific Classic.
On Saturday, Acclamation cruised to a front-running 2 ¾-length victory in 1:46.86 for 1 1/8 miles over the Del Mar turf course. Acclamation ran the final eighth in 11.41 seconds, compared to 11.45 closing out last year’s win.
Acclamation has won seven straight graded stakes races over the past two years, including five grade I events. The $180,000 of the Read boosted his career earnings to $1,958,048. The goal for the year is the Breeders’ Cup Championships Nov. 2-3 at Santa Anita Park. Barring unforeseen circumstances, Acclamation will be there.
Owner Bud Johnston paid a $50,000 supplemental fee to make Acclamation eligible for the Breeders’ Cup, eliminating the need for a successful title defense in the TVG Pacific Classic and the “Win and You’re In” designation to the fall championships that comes with it.
“He (Johnston) had to pay $50,000 on July 15 or $100,000 a couple weeks before (the Breeders’ Cup),” Warren said. “Myself, I would have ridden it out in case something happens to him.
“But he went for it and I’m sure he’s feeling pretty good about it right now. If we get to the Breeders’ Cup, we’ll have to decide whether to go in the ($5 million Classic) on the dirt or the ($3 million) Turf and take on the Europeans at a mile-and-a half.”