Acclimate Wire-to-Wire in Grade 3 San Luis Rey Stakes

Acclimate Wire-to-Wire in San Luis Rey Stakes                                                                                                                       Benoit Photo

Courtesy of Santa Anita ARCADIA, CA (March 12, 2022) – A California-bred joy to behold, 8-year-old gelding Acclimate made his 31st career start and he had his running shoes on Saturday at Santa Anita, as he led a half dozen rivals on a merry chase for a mile and one half on turf, winning the Grade III, $125,000 San Luis Rey Stakes by a half length under regular rider Ricky Gonzalez. Trained by Phil D’Amato, the bay son of 2011 Eclipse Champion Older Horse Acclamation got the trip in 2:25.40.

With a hillside start, Acclimate, the even money favorite, went to the lead as expected and enjoyed a length and three quarter cushion over Current and jockey Chris Emigh as he led the field under the wire the first time around the oval. With Gonzalez sitting still and Emigh asking his mount, Acclimate had a three length advantage heading into the far turn and they then held off a determined charge from Dicey Mo Chara the final three sixteenths of a mile.

“I sound like a broken record, but that’s what he likes to do,” said Gonzalez, who won last year’s Grade III San Juan Capistrano Stakes with Acclimate and has now ridden him in eight consecutive starts. “He likes to go out there and be happy on the lead. I just let him do what he likes to do. He was just playing around the whole time and as soon as he felt (Dicey Mo Chara) on his hip, he dug in and showed his heart, how big it is.”

Most recently fifth going a mile and one quarter on turf in the Grade II San Marcos Stakes Jan. 30, Acclimate paid $4.20, $2.80 and $2.40.

Owned by The Ellwood Johnston Trust, Timmy Time Racing, LLC, Brooke and Ryan Bartlett, Michael Goritz and Ken Tevelde, Acclimate, who is out of the Boundary mare Knows No Bounds, was also bred in part by the Johnston Family’s Old English Rancho.

In garnering his fourth graded stakes victory, Acclimate improved his overall mark to 31-8-6-5. With the San Luis Rey winner’s share of $75,000, he increased his earnings to $763,372.

“He’s just a cool horse,” said D’Amato, who rang up his eighth stakes win of the meet and his meet-leading 26th win overall. “He deserved the opportunity to put in this kind of a performance today. You know, he’s been knocking on the door. Today, he made a pretty sensible pace, the other horse came to him and he fought him off, so the win was well deserved.”

When asked if Acclimate, a two-time winner of the San Juan Capistrano would be pointed to the 2022 edition of mile and three quarter marathon on June 19, D’Amato responded, “I would say (it’s) the most logical next step.

Fractions on the race were 25.08, 48.26, 1:12.32, 1:36.87 and 2:01.38.