INGLEWOOD, Calif. (May 11, 2011)—Acclamation will try to become the second repeat winner in the $150,000 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap when he takes on five opponents Saturday at Hollywood Park.
A Grade II at 1 ½ miles on turf, the Murray, which will be run for the 21st time, is the third of nine races. Post time is 1 p.m.
Owned by breeders Buddy and Judy Johnston and trained by Don Warren, Acclamation won the Murray by a record 7 ½ lengths in 2010, leading throughout as a 14-1 shot. If he is successful again, the 5-year-old Unusual Heat horse out of the Silveyville mare Winning in Style will join On the Acorn (2007-2008) as a two time winner of the Murray.
After following his win in this event with another gate-to-wire victory in the Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap, a Grade I, last June 5, Acclamation has slumped. The latest defeat during his four race slide was a last place finish over a sloppy track in the Charles Town Classic April 16.
“There was mud and rain and trouble on the first turn,’’ said Warren of the race in West Virginia. “Nothing went right. He just gets a hold of this turf course. He’s doing as well as ever.’’
A winner in three of six starts over the Hollywood Park grass, Acclamation has won four of 23 overall while earning $518,048. The California bred will have a new rider Saturday as Joel Rosario replaces Christian Santiago Reyes.
Buenos Dias, whose lone victory in 15 starts in the United States came on the turf at Hollywood Park at the Murray distance last June 10, will be making his first appearance since finishing sixth in the San Luis Obispo Feb. 19 at Santa Anita.
Owned by Charles Cella and trained by Ron McAnally, Buenos Dias, a 6-year-old son of Peintre Celebre and the Rainbow Quest mare Buenos Aires, has won three of 25 and banked $295,412.
Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale, who won the 2003 Murray with Storming Home, will be represented by Restless Soul.
Owned by Matthew Cioros, the 7-year-old English bred mare will try to become the first female winner of the race. The daughter of Singspiel and the Prince Rupert mare Seasonal Splendour has three wins in 30 starts and earnings of $224,911.
All Saint returns to California after a productive campaign at Turf Paradise. The 5-year-old Skimming horse and the Free House mare Santa Patricia won four in a row at the Arizona track between Dec. 18 of last year and April 2 for trainer Wilton Whitehouse.
Owned by Silvia Gamez, All Saint has won seven of 24 with earnings of $237,176.
Haimish Hy will be looking for his first win since his upset when nearly 12-1 in the Hollywood Derby, a Grade I, last Nov. 28.
Owned by a partnership that includes trainer Art Sherman, the 4-year-old Ecton Park colt out of the Equalize mare Tifonico has five wins in 14 starts, banking $314,980.
Fifth in the San Juan Capistrano, Falcon Rock will be trying to end a nine race losing streak Saturday. Owned by Michael Tabor and trained by Simon Callaghan, the 6-year-old Hawk Wing gelding out of the Caerleon mare Champaka has two wins in 19 races with earnings of $125,182.
The lone win in this country for the Irish bred came in his United States debut. He prevailed by 2 ½ lengths at the Murray distance March 6, 2010 at Santa Anita.
From inside out, the field for the $150,000 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap: Falcon Rock, Garrett Gomez rides, 114 pounds; Buenos Dias, Brice Blanc, 116; Haimish Hy, Mike Smith, 117; Restless Soul, Joe Talamo, 110; Acclamation, Joel Rosario, 119 and All Saint, Patrick Valenzuela, 114.
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