After a brief scare Thursday, Acclamation, the champion older male of 2011, was declared fit and ready by trainer Don Warren and could run in the $150,000 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
A Grade II at 1 1/16 miles on Cushion Track, the LeRoy is one of three stakes on a program that will also include the simulcast of the 138th Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs.
According to Warren, Acclamation took “a few bad steps” Thursday in preparation for a start for Friday’s Inglewood Handicap. “We can’t take a chance with a horse like this,” Warren declared. “But the x-rays were clean, his legs were cold and he galloped perfect Saturday and Sunday.”
“We really wanted to get a race into him before the Whittingham (the $250,000, Grade I Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap at 1 1-4 miles on turf June 9),” Warren added. Now that we’re sure he’s OK, he’ll probably run in the ‘LeRoy. He’ll ship to Betfair Hollywood Park to work Tuesday and then we’ll make the final decision.’’
In other LeRoy news, Farish, Dixiana Stables and Thoroughbred Legend Racing Stable’s Morning Line will make his first start of the year and first for John Shirreffs. “I really like what I’ve seen so far,” said Shirreffs. He looks very competitive and like typical Tiznows, he’s very versatile. The owners just decided to give him some time off after his last race.”
In his most recent start last Aug. 6 at Saratoga, the 5-year-old, who was previously trained by Nick Zito, finished 11th in the Grade 1 Whitney, but his resume includes a victory in the Grade I Carter Handicap April 9, 2011 at Aqueduct. Joe Talamo has the assignment.
SPAWR HAS MIXED FEELING ABOUT STREAKIN’ MOHICAN’S SIZZLING WIN
Bill Spawr was stunned in both a good way and a bad way after Streakin’ Mohican’s course setting victory over $32,000 claimers Saturday.
“I thought he’d run good, but not that good,” said the veteran trainer after seeing his runner stop the timer in 1:07.24, a record for six furlongs on turf. “(Rafael Bejarano) was just sitting on him through the stretch.”
Moments later, Spawr was surprised to learn that the Songandaprayer gelding had been claimed by Wilton Whitehouse.
“I’m sorry to lose him, the way he ran. But he’s a difficult horse to train and he does have some issues. It’s a shame though, because we put so much work into him.”
Spawr also remarked that stable star Amazombie is scheduled to leave for Kentucky Monday at 1:30 a.m. “I’ll be on a plane right behind him,” the trainer continued.
The 6-year-old, who was the champion sprinter of 2011, will be running in the $400,000 Churchill Downs Stakes at 7 furlongs Kentucky Derby Day. Now 11 for 25 with a bankroll exceeding $1.6 million, Amazombie won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in his only other start at the Twin Spires.
TALAMO STAYS IN TOUCH ON AND OFF THE TRACK
In many ways, Joe Talamo is far ahead of his years, but at heart he’s a typical 22-year-old who keeps in touch through social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.
The Louisiana native, who recently passed the 1,000 winner mark, was only 19 when he was introduced to Twitter. “ I first started in 2009,” explained the affable rider. jun “The NTRA (National Thoroughbred Racing Association) actually got me to do it when I was riding I Want Revenge. I didn’t have a clue as to what Twitter was and I really didn’t do much with it at the time. I left it alone for almost two years, then last year I just got back into it for some reason. Then it just exploded. I think I have close to 8,700 followers (8,765 as of April 27). I never would have thought I would get so many, but it just keeps spiraling up.
Talamo seems to be enjoying his time on line. “Yeah, it’s a lot of fun and I think it’s real important to keep the fans interactive. I wish more people (in the industry) would do it because I think it helps to bring more fans to the races. I’ve talked to a lot of people who came to the track because they saw it on Twitter. That’s really why I do it. It’s a lot of fun, but at the same time I feel kind of an obligation to try and bring as many people out as I can.”
“Social media has definitely been real important,” the rider continued. “The tracks have gotten into it, too. I think all three of the Southern California tracks have a Twitter account (Betfair Hollywood Park’s is @Hollyparkracing) and in between meetings they post news and other racing related items. I think that’s important to our industry.
“When I started out slowly at Santa Anita, I got quite a reaction. A lot of it was good. Some bad, but that’s with anything really. It was really a nice feeling that most people stuck by me like that. I’ve met a lot of them at the track.”
“As I was approaching 1,000 victories, the fans were getting into it. Somebody came up with the hash tag #Chasing1000 and every now and then I would do a giveaway. I think I did two. I would give away things like whips and goggles if they re-tweeted the message. We’d usually get 200 and up in the contest.”
“I like interacting with the fans anyway, but even if it helps get just an extra two or three people, it’s more than not doing anything.”
“Sometimes people tweet to congratulate me after I win a race and many times I re-tweet an answer right from the jock’s room. It’s so easy, you can log on to it just like that on your phone. My agent (Scott McClellan) is on there (Twitter), but he doesn’t have much to do with technological stuff. He does tweet a little, but I’m trying to get him to do it a more.”
Interaction isn’t the only reason he stays connected. “You know what, I also like it because you get so much news. I follow Daily Racing Form, Bloodhorse, Thoroughbred Times and all the tracks because you really get some important stuff before anyone else does. Sometimes I get news about horses I’m riding even before my agent.
“To me, it’s like the future of networking because it has that immediate response, and that’s really what people want.”
You can follow Talamo on Twitter using his screen name @Joe Talamo and “Friend” him on his Joe Talamo Facebook page.
CLOSING STRIDES—Martin Pedroza is resilient, if anything. In his first ride back Saturday after breaking four ribs in a spill April 14th, his mount pulled up on the backstretch and afterward Pedroza said that he couldn’t breathe because the bandage under the flak jacket was too tight. After making a quick adjustment, he scored with his next mount, Warren’s Internet at $15, and for good measure won a close photo in the $300,000 Melair Stakes aboard favored Willa B. Awesome two races later……Trainer Walther Solis said Willa B Awesome, a daughter of Awesome Gambler, came back great after her third stakes win of the year and finished up her dinner Saturday night. “We’ll walk her for a week and she’ll let us know what’s next,’’ said Solis.…….Unusual Heatwave, who won the Snow Chief Stakes, also returned well and will point for the 3-year-old races (the $100,000 Affirmed Handicap June 3 and the $150,000 Swaps StakesJuly 4) here later in the meet, according to trainer Alexis Barba ………. Tyler Baze met wi/th Los Alamitos stewards Saturday, but his reinstatement request was not resolved and the matter was continued……. Marty Jones reports that multiple stakes winning turf sprinter Unzip Me, scratched from the Las Cienegas Handicap April 14th when the race was taken off the grass, will make her next start in the in the $70,000 Great Lady M Stakes at 6 furlongs on turf May 17th………This Friday (May 4) will be the only Friday day card of the meet, primarily due to the running of the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs. The following day is the Kentucky Derby and Betfair Hollywood Park will have a special first post time of 11 a.m…….The popular contest Show Me the Money – Presented by Golden Nugget Las Vegas – starts May 6. It’s free to play and anyone can sign up on line at www.betfairhollywoodpark.com. The object is to select one horse to finish third or better each day. The last player standing wins $3,000 plus a two night VIP stay at the Golden Nugget Las Vegas.
Copyright © 2009-2014, Hollywood Park. All rights reserved.