Acclamation, easy winner of the Jim Murray Memorial Handicap on May 15, drops back in distance when he faces 11 opponents in the $250,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park on June 5.
A 7 1/2-length winner at 14-1 in his first excursion at 1 1/2 miles in the Murray Memorial, the Unusual Heat will cut back to 1 1/4 miles in the Whittingham. Owned by breeders Bud and Judy Johnston and trained by Don Warren, Acclamation is trying to become the second California-bred winner of the Whittingham in the last five years. Lava Man was successful in 2006.
Acclamation, who has won three of 18 starts while earning $347,048, will be seeking his first grade I score. He will be ridden by Christian Santiago.
Trainer Neil Drysdale, who began his Hall of Fame career as an assistant to the legendary Whittingham, will send out Scintillo. A victory for Drysdale would be his record-equaling seventh in the race, which was previously called the Hollywood Invitational Turf Handicap. Whittingham and the late Bobby Frankel currently share the mark.
Scintillo, fourth as the 2-1 favorite in the Murray, eight lengths behind Acclamation, will have a new rider in Martin Pedroza. Owned by Leonard Lucas, the 5-year-old English-bred son of Fantastic Light has won five of 28 and earned $524,499.
Battle Of Hastings is the most accomplished horse entered in the Whittingham cast. Trained by Jeff Mullins for owner Michael House, the 4-year-old Royal Applause colt has collected $1,171,141 while capturing six of 18.
Trainer Julio Canani, who has never won the Whittingham, will be represented by Loup Breton, the top weight at 119 pounds. Third, beaten by a neck in the Turf Classic (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs on May 1, Loup Breton has won five of 23 and earned $730,712. Owned by Wildenstein Stable, the 6-year-old Anabaa horse will be ridden for the first time by Rafael Bejarano.
$250,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT, Race 10), 3YO/up, 1 1/4 miles (Turf)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Acclamation (CA), Santiago Reyes, 116, D Warren
2. Rendezvous (KY), J Talamo, 115, J Hollendorfer
3. Unusual Suspect (CA), A Quinonez, 114, B Abrams
4. Red Sun (CA), V Espinoza, 115, C Gaines
5. Loup Breton (IRE), R Bejarano, 119, J C Canani
6. Porfido (CHI), D R Flores, 114, H Ascanio
7. Brushburn (CA), B Blanc, 113, S Knapp
8. Hyades (KY), O A Cedeno, 113, B D Cecil
9. Scintillo (GB), M A Pedroza, 118, N D Drysdale
10. Carry Gulch (ARG), K John, 115, P Miller
11. Battle of Hastings (GB), T Baze, 118, R H Ayers
12. Great Siege (IRE), J A Garcia, 113, D E Hofmans