INGLEWOOD, Calif. (July 14, 2011)—Acclamation, who has already completed a sweep of the Jim Murray and Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicaps for a second consecutive year, will attempt to add another graded victory to his resume in the $100,000 Sunset Handicap Sunday at Hollywood Park.
A Grade III at 1 ½ miles on turf, the Sunset is one of a pair of stakes that will wrap the Spring/Summer season. About 30 minutes later, eight 2-year-olds will get together in the $100,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship, a Grade III at six furlongs over Cushion Track. The Juvenile is the seventh of nine races. The Sunset is the eighth.
Owned by breeders Bud and Judy Johnston and Peter and Mary Hilvers and trained by Don Warren, Acclamation was dominant in both the Grade II Murray and Grade I Whittingham.
The California bred son of Unusual Heat and the Silveyville mare Winning in Style won the races by as combined 10 ½ lengths, including a seven length victory in the Murray May 14.
The 5-year-old has won six of 25 and earned $758,048. Five of his wins have occurred in eight starts over the Hollywood Park grass.
No horse has ever won the Murray, Whittingham and Sunset in the same Spring/Summer meet. The last horse to win the Sunset and one of the other two in the same year was Bienamado. He won the Murray and Sunset in 2000.
Acclamation will carry top weight of 124 pounds. The last horse to carry that much to victory was Sandpit in 1995. The most recent to carry more successfully was John Henry, who won under 126 pounds in 1984.
Second in the Whttingham, Celtic New Year will be looking for his first graded win. Owned by Michael Jawl and trained by John Sadler, the 4-year-old North Light gelding and the Dynaformer mare Reggae Queen has four wins in 15 starts and earnings of $162,423.
Trainer Neil Drysdale, who earned the second Sunset victory of his career when Marlang led throughout in 2010, will seek a repeat with a pair of females – the mare Restless Soul and the filly First Settler.
Owned by Cloros Bloodstock, Restless Soul, a 7-year-old daughter of Singspiel and the Prince Rupert mare Seasonal Splendour, has won three of 32 and earned $251,911. She will be making her third start of the meet, having finished fourth in the Grade I Gamely May 30 and third in the Grade III Beverly Hills Handicap June 25.
A 4-year-old daughter of War Chant and the Machiavellian mare Cold Cold Warrior, First Settler has won three of 10 for owner Charles Winner. She’s earned $101,106.
The most recent female winner of the Sunset was Petite Ile in 1990.
Richard Mandella was the last trainer to go back-to-back in the Sunset. The Hall of Famer scored with Sandpit (1995) and Talloires (1996).
Falcon Rock, who was sixth behind Acclamation in the Whittingham after completing the exacta for a second consecutive year in the Murray, has won two of 21 and earned $155,182. Simon Callaghan trains the 6-year-old gelded son of Hawk Wing and the Caerleon mare Champaka for Michael Tabor.
Beaten by a head in the Grade II San Juan Capistrano earlier in the year at Santa Anita, Imponente Purse will seek his first win of 2011. Owned by Coudelaria Jessica, Inc. and trained by A.C. Avila, the 5-year-old Brazilian bred son of Public Purse and the Sunny’s Halo mare White Tea is 3-for-18 with a bankroll of $128,627.
An 8-1 upset winner in an optional claimer at 10 furlongs June 9, Victorian Prince will be making his first appearance in a graded race in nearly three years.
Owned by a partnership that includes the Roncelli Family Trust and trained by Steve Knapp, the 7-year-old Desert Prince horse out of the Homme de Loi mare Miss Lorilaw has won five of 33 and earned $193,824. The last time he ran in a graded event was when he finished seventh in the Grade III All American Sept. 27, 2008 at Golden Gate Fields.
Atticus Jack, who has won two of three starts over the Hollywood Park turf, will make his first start beyond 1 1/16 miles Sunday. Owned by Janet Lyons, Jeremy Peskoff and Wind River Stables and trained by Brian Koriner, the 5-year-old Atticus gelding out of the Avenue of Flags mare Cremedelacramer is 4-for-11 with earnings of $135,390.
Ashtar will race for the first time in the United States for Green Grass Stable and trainer Ruben Cardenas. The 4-year-old Chilean bred son of Merchant and the Hussonet mare Mey has won six of 14 and earned $167,517. He won a Group II and a Group III in his native country.
From inside out, the field for the Sunset Handicap: Imponente Purse, Chantal Sutherland rides, 116 pounds; Restless Soul, Eswan Flores, 110; Acclamation, Joe Talamo, 124; Victorian Prince, Alonso Quinonez, 112; Falcon Rock, Garrett Gomez, 114; Celtic New Year, Victor Espinoza, 114; Atticus Jack, David Flores, 112; First Settler, Rafael Bejarano, 108 and Ashtar, Martin Pedroza, 116.
Perfect in two starts to begin his career, including a 3 ½ length win in the Willard L. Proctor Memorial June 12, Majestic City heads the Juvenile cast.
Owned by Jeffrey Bloom and trained by Peter Miller, Majestic City is a son of City Zip and the Meadowlake mare It’schemistrybaby. He’s earned $75,570. He’ll try to follow in the steps of J P’s Gusto, who won the Proctor and the Juvenile a year ago.
Leading trainer Bob Baffert will aim for his third win in the race when he sends out debut winners Brigand and Night Tide.
A son of Flatter and the Quiet American mare Silence Please, Brigand prevailed by a nose as the 9-10 choice July 3. The victory was worth $33,000 for owner Kaleem Shah. A New York bred, Brigand was purchased for $925,000 earlier this year.
Owned by Peachtree Stable, Night Tide won by a half-length at 7-10 June 19. The son of Malibu Moon and the Quiet American mare Yo Ali banked $30,000.
Baffert’s previous Juvenile victories were in consecutive years – What a Song (2005) and E Z Warrior (2006).
A decisive winner of his lone start April 30, Pend Oreille will try to provide trainer Mike Harrington with his second win in this event. Harrington, who also owns and bred Pend Oreille, won the 1996 Juvenile with the colt’s sire Swiss Yodeler. Out of the Gulch mare Belle Michelle, Pend Oreille earned $39,000 for his win.
Rino S has been away since winning a $100,000 maiden claimer for California breds going two furlongs April 7 at Santa Anita. He’s owned by Evelyn Ungaro and trainer Marcelo Polanco. The Tribal Rule colt out of the Siyah Kalem mare When and Where has earned $16,500 in two races.
Super Candy, who has the same owner-trainer connections as Rino U, is a Candy Ride colt out of the Woodman mare Zuppa. He’s winless in five starts with earnings of $13,320.
Ruler of Dubai was victorious against $40,000 maidens June 9 in his second start for owner Harout Keshishian and trainer George Papaprodromou. The gelded son of Tribal Rule and the Old Topper mare O K Topless has a bankroll of $16,740.
He’s a Bandit was fifth of nine in his debut in the race won by Night Tide. He’s a son of Bandini and the Black Minnaloushe mare Sigatoo. Kristin Mulhall trains for a partnership that includes Vicky Dimitri, Greg Garvin, Mark Holden, Kretz Racing and Scott Savage. He earned $1,000 when beaten by 5 ¾ lengths.
From inside out, the field for the Hollywood Juvenile Championship: Brigand, Joel Rosario rides, 117 pounds; Ruler of Dubai, Kerwin John, 117; Rino S, Tyler Baze, 117; Super Candy, Joe Talamo, 115; Night Tide, Martin Garcia, 117; He’s a Bandit, Alonso Quinonez, 115; Pend Oreille, Rafael Bejarano, 117 and Majestic City, David Flores, 120.
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