INGLEWOOD, Calif. (April 22, 2012)—Acclamation, the champion older male of 2011, will make his 6-year-old debut in the $100,000 Inglewood Handicap Friday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
A Grade III at 1 1/8 miles on turf, the Inglewood is the main attraction of the first Friday night program of the 50-day Spring/Summer meet. The race was lengthened to its current distance this year after being run at 1 1/16 miles since 1987.
Immediately after the conclusion of the nine race program – approximately 11 p.m. – a concert starring the San Diego-based band Pepper will begin at the North Park. General admission is $10 – or $20 after 8:30 p.m.
Owned by breeders Bud and Judy Johnston and Peter and Mary Hilvers and trained by Don Warren, Acclamation earned his Eclipse Award on the strength of a campaign which saw him win five of seven starts – on turf and Polytrack – and earn $1,126,000.
Three of the victories came in Grade I events – including his second consecutive win in the Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap last June 11 at Betfair Hollywood Park. The other Grade I successes were achieved in the Eddie Read (July 23) and $1 million Pacific Classic (Aug. 28) at Del Mar.
A son of Unusual Heat and the Silveyville mare Winning in Style, Acclamation has won nine of 28 and banked $1,628,048.The majority of his wins have come over the grass at Betfair Hollywood Park. He has captured five of eight over the course and was third in two of his defeats, including the 2009 Hollywood Derby. Dismissed at 75-1, he finished two lengths behind fellow state bred The Usual Q.T.
Besides the two Whittingham wins, Acclamation’s other local successes have come in the Jim Murray Memorial Handicap (2010-2011) and against maidens Dec. 21, 2008 in his third career start and turf debut.
Trying to become the first Eclipse winner to take the Inglewood since Leroidesanimaux in 2004, Acclamation will be making his second appearance in the race. He was fourth in 2010, finishing 2 ¾ lengths behind winner Gallant Son.
The highweight at 124 pounds, Acclamation will be ridden by Patrick Valenzuela. Having recently ended a retirement that lasted a little over four months, Valenzuela, 49, is 2-for-2 aboard Acclamation, winning the Pacific Classic and the Clement L. Hirsch during Santa Anita’s Fall meet.
That three-quarters of a length win last Oct. 2 was the most recent start for Acclamation, who suffered a foot bruise and went to the sidelines to rest, skipping the Breeders’ Cup.
Haimish Hy is a Grade I winner on the Betfair Hollywood Park turf. The 5-year-old son of Ecton Park and the Equalize mare Tifonica was almost 12-1 when he rallied from last to win the 2010 Hollywood Derby by a neck.
Owned by a partnership that includes Zvika Akin, Richard Franco, Sy Goldstein and trainer Art Sherman, Haimish Hy will be making his second start after a layoff of almost 10 months in the Inglewood. He was fourth, beaten five lengths, in the Sidd Finch Stakes April 1 at Santa Anita.
The Kentucky bred will be seeking his first win since the Hollywood Derby surprise. Overall, he is 5-for-17 with a bankroll of $342,588.
Claimed for $25,000 last July 31 at Del Mar, Holladay Road will try for his fifth win in his eighth start for his current connections – owners Gary and Wendy Broad and trainer Julio Canani.
A 7-year-old Street Cry gelding out of the Great Commotion mare Blending Element, Holladay Road comes off a neck win in a Santa Anita turf allowance March 29. He’s won two of three on the grass at Betfair Hollywood Park. Overall, the California bred is 7-for-15 with earnings of $323,620.
Trainer John Shirreffs, who has won the Inglewood two of the last five years, will try for the upset with Utopian. A 5-year-old son of Rock Hard Ten and the Storm Cat mare Storm Alert owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, he’s won two of 10 and earned $123,180. Shirreffs won the Inglewood with After Market in 2007 and Madeo – for the Mosses – in 2009.
Smug will try to provide Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale with a second consecutive Inglewood win. Drysdale, who scored with Liberian Freighter in 2011, will saddle Smug.
Owned by breeder Robert S. Evans, Smug, a 4-year-old El Prado colt and the Mr. Prospector mare Propsinsky, has won two of seven while banking $78,910. He broke his maiden over the local grass last May 14.
The Inglewood will go as the third race. Approximate post time is 8:05 p.m.
From inside out, the field for the 72nd Inglewood Handicap: Haimish Hy, Joe Talamo rides, 114 pounds; Utopian, Mike Smith, 115; Smug, Joel Rosario, 112; Acclamation, Patrick Valenzuela, 124 and Holladay Road, Rafael Bejarano, 114.
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