INGLEWOOD, Calif. (May 14, 2011)—A return to the Hollywood Park turf course was all Acclamation needed to get back to the winner’s circle.
The 5-year-old California bred became the second repeat winner of the $150,000 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap Saturday, easily disposing of four rivals. Ending a four race losing streak, Acclamation joined On the Acorn, who won the Grade II in 2007 and 2008 for Indizguys Stable and trainer Mike Mitchell.
Although the day’s main event was formful, upsets were the rule the remainder of the program, leading to a Pick 6 carryover of $80,019 when racing resumes Sunday. No tickets were able to isolate even five winners. Four was worth $2,286.
Post time Sunday is 1 p.m. The Pick 6 begins on the fourth race.
Additionally, Belmont Park has a two-day carryover in its Pick 6. The jackpot stands at $99,745. The Pick 6 commences in the fifth race. Scheduled post time is 12:08 PDT.
Ridden for the first time by Joel Rosario, Acclamation, a son of Unusual Heat and the Silveyville mare Winning in Style, was content to track runaway leader All Saint for most of the trip, took over the lead with little effort approaching the stretch, then widened in the final two furlongs.
A record setting winner of the Murray a year ago when prevailing by 7 ½ lengths, Acclamation nearly matched the margin Saturday.
The 7-5 favorite finished seven lengths ahead of Falcon Rock while running the 1 ½ miles in 2:25.63. The final time was nearly a second faster than his first win in the race. Acclamation’s 2010 clocking was 2:26.59.
Owned by Peter and Mary Hilvers and breeders Bud and Judy Johnston and trained by Don Warren, Acclamation won for the fifth time in 24 starts. Now 4-for-6 on the Hollywood Park grass, the bay has earned $608,048.
The 14-1 eighth choice in a field of 10 in last year’s Murray, Acclamation returned $4.80, $2.80 and $2.40 Saturday.
Falcon Rock, who finished a half-length in front of 5-2 second choice Haimish Hy, paid $3.80 and $2.40. The 6-year-old gelded son of Hawk Wing was also the runner-up a year ago.
The show price on Haimish Hy, returning to the scene of his upset victory in the Hollywood Derby last Nov. 28, was $2.20. Buenos Dias and All Saint, who had a five length advantage after one mile, completed the order of finish. Restless Soul was scratched Friday.
“He was nice and relaxed all the way, just galloping,’’ said Rosario after his first Murray victory. “When I asked him to go, he just took off. He was much the best today. I knew that other horse (All Saint) always goes to the lead, but if he didn’t, I was prepared to go.
“I could see (All Saint) was a little rank, so I knew I could take more time before I asked my horse. This was the first time I rode him, but I was on him a couple of times in the morning a long time ago and I knew he was a good horse.’’
The next stop for Acclamation could be a defense of his title in the Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap. The Grade I at 1 ¼ miles on grass is June 11.
“It was a perfect plan today,’’ said Warren. “We always knew the horse could sit second, as long as he’s not shuffled around and bumped around. He doesn’t like to be bothered too much and doesn’t like to be hit with the stick.
“Finally we got a race that set up for him and it was done right. He’s easily rateable and he’s such a natural mile and one-half horse.’’
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