Champion Acclamation emerged from his June 3 workout “fine,” according to trainer Don Warren and will enter the $250,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT) at Betfair Hollywood Park June 9. The 6-year-old will be going for his third straight victory in the 1 ¼-mile Whittingham.
“He jogged great the last couple of mornings,” said Warren, who returned to his barn six days ago following hospitalization for a serious septic infection. “It looks like he’s out of the woods.”
Acclamation, who won an Eclipse Award as 2011’s outstanding older male, had his training interrupted briefly on two occasions when he took a couple of awkward steps. After extensive testing, no physical problem was found and the California-bred son of Unusual Heat quickly resumed his morning activities. He worked a mile on Cushion Track in 1:38 2/5 May 25 and the same distance a week later in :1:41 1/5 breezing.
Patrick Valenzuela was aboard for both drills and is expected to ride in the Whittingham. Warren said Valenzuela, who has missed some time due to weight issues, arrived early for the work and “looked great.”
“That last work was a little slower than I wanted,” said Warren. "The rider on (workmate) Norvsky screwed it up by going too slow.”
The trainer added, however, that the pair finished strongly.
“I’m leaning toward running Norvsky in the Whittingham, as well," Warren said. "Right now, it looks like we’ll ship the day of the race.”
Bred by Old English Rancho in California, Acclamation races for Peter and Mary Hilvers and E.W. and Judy Johnston of Old English Rancho.
Valenzuela was scheduled to meet with stewards at Hollywood June 3.
“The stewards just want to see him to talk about his weight,” said agent Tom Knust. “It’s not a hearing or anything like that. He’ll be able to ride next weekend at 121 or 122. His goal is to be 118 by Del Mar. I’m taking calls for Saturday. We won’t be riding Thursday or Friday.”