Acclamation repeated in both the Charles Whittingham (gr. IT) June 11 and the Jim Murray (gr. IIT) a month earlier at Hollywood Park. The 5-year-old California-bred son of Unusual Heat could have gone for a rare sweep of the Inglewood track's handicap turf distance races in the closing-day Sunset Handicap (gr. IIIT) July 17.
“The main factor was that it’s three times as much money, and the (higher) grading helps the value of the horse a lot more,” trainer Don Warren said recently while supervising morning workouts at his Del Mar barn. “I was actually in favor of running in the Sunset; the owner (primarily Old English Rancho) was not. But it’s all good.”
The 1 1/8-mile Eddie Read, the first of eight grade I events during the seven-week Del Mar stand, drew a field of eight. It is the eighth race on the program with a 5:30 p.m. PDT expected post.
There is no question that Acclamation is better at 12 furlongs. At the longer distance, the front-runner is able to dole out his speed better. In the Eddie Read, he is likely to be confronted for the lead by the Brazilian-bred mare Celtic Princess as well as Maryland invader Smart Bid.
Acclamation has never won at the Eddie Read distance and finished sixth, more than five lengths behind the victorious The Usual Q. T., in last year's race.
Warren said there was another reason for choosing Del Mar.
“The turf course played into it,” Warren said. “He loves the turf at Hollywood Park, but by the end of the meeting it can get chewed up. We’re hoping for a smooth carpet down here that he’ll like just as well.”
Acclamation, who breezed 1:01 2/5 for five furlongs over the Del Mar course July 20, has a career record of 6-2-6 in 25 races and earnings of $758,048.
“He just goes about his business and really loves to go to the racetrack,” Warren said.
Acclamation, the 123-pound top weight, is reunited with Joel Rosario, who guided the bay horse to a seven-length victory in the 1 1/2-mile Murray May 14. Joe Talamo was the pilot in the 1 1/4-mile Whittingham, which Acclamation captured by 3 1/2 lengths. Acclamation, owned by Bud and Judy Johnston in partnership with Peter and Mary Hilvers, will break from post 6.
Caracortado and Smart Bid are leading challengers.
Four-year-old Caracortado, owned by Blahut Racing and Lo Hi Racing and trained by Mike Machowsky, made a gallant bid to catch Courageous Cat in the Shoemaker Mile (g. IT) July 2 at Hollywood, but came up a neck short when second. Caracortado has won seven of 15 starts and banked $618,105.
The Cat Dreams gelding started the year with a victory in the Sunshine Millions Turf at the Eddie Read distance Jan. 29, and was second by a head to Fluke in the Frank Kilroe Mile (gr. IT) in his next start. Talamo rides Caracortado, who breaks directly to the outside of Acclimation.
Augustin Stable's Smart Bid, to their inside in post 5, has a win and three seconds in his past four starts for Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Graham Motion. The victory came in the Mervin H. Muniz Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT) March 26 at Fair Grounds.
Smart Bid, a 5-year-old son of Smart Strike, was second this year in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (gr. IT), the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs, and most recently, the Colonial Turf Cup at Colonial Downs June 18. He has been working for Motion at Fair Hills Training Center since the Colonial Turf Cup.
Regular rider Edgar Prado visits Del Mar to ride Smart Bid, who has finished in the money in 14 of 16 lifetime starts, winning four, with earnings of $748,278.
Celtic Princess comes off a 2 1/4-length win in Hollywood's Royal Heroine Mile (gr. IIT). The swift 7-year-old Public Purse mare missed by a head to Dubawi Heights in the Gamely Stakes (gr. IT) prior to that. Rafael Bejarano rides her from the far outside post.
Irish-bred 4-year-old Kid Edward, second to Sidney's Candy in last summer's La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Del Mar turf, makes his second start of the year for trainer Jim Cassidy and the Gould Family Trust. Kid Edward ran second in an optional claiming allowance at one mile on the Hollywood turf July 2.
The winner of that race, Ellenay Racing's Leroy's Dynameaux, snapped a six-race losing streak for trainer Mark Glatt. The 4-year-old Leroidesanimaux gelding looks for his first stakes win since taking the Will Rogers Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Hollywood in June 2010.
Jeranimo won the San Gabriel Stakes (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita in December at the nine-furlong distance. Trained by Michael Pender for B.J. Wright, the 5-year-old son of Congaree has lost four straight since and comes off a fourth-place effort in the Inglewood Handicap (gr. IIIT) April 24.
Goldwaki, a 4-year-old German-bred colt, makes his second start in the United States for trainer Ron McAnally. A group III winner in France last year, Goldwaki blew the start in Hollywood's American Handicap (gr. IIT) May 28 and was never involved while last of six.
$300,000 Eddie Read Stakes (gr. IT, Race 8, 5:30 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Jeranimo (FL), G K Gomez, 119, M Pender
2. Goldwaki (GER), B Blanc, 119, R L McAnally
3. Kid Edward (IRE), V Espinoza, 119, J M Cassidy
4. Leroy's Dynameaux (KY), C Sutherland, 119, M Glatt
5. Smart Bid (PA), E S Prado, 121, H G Motion
6. Acclamation (CA), J Rosario, 123, D Warren
7. Caracortado (CA), J Talamo, 119, M Machowsky
8. Celtic Princess (BRZ), R Bejarano, 116, A C Avila