Taken to the front by jockey Patrick Valenzuela shortly after the start of the nine-furlong race over the infield Jimmy Durante Turf Course, Acclamation was in total command the whole way, setting leisurely fractions for the first half-mile and then sprinting home to win by 2 ¾ lengths in 1:46.86, slightly faster than his 1:46.99 time when he won the Read Stakes a year ago. His final three furlongs were timed in a blazing :34.29.
“I’m going to say this now and I mean it: he’s a great horse,” said Valenzuela. “I’ve been lucky enough to ride some very good horses, champions, like Sunday Silence and Arazi and Best Pal. And this horse is right there with them. No doubt about it. He fits. Any horse that runs the way he does, making all the pace himself, then comes home the way he did (last three eighths in :34.29) is a really good horse.
“He knows what he’s doing out there. He knew that other horse (Slim Shadey) came up near us before I did. He pinned his ears and said ‘It’s time to go.’ This horse does it all. On turf. On dirt. On Polytrack. He can do it all. He is just amazing.”
Acclamation, a 6-year-old son of Unusual Heat and Winning in Style conditioned by Don Warren, extended his winning streak to seven, including four Grade I stakes, most notably the 2011 $1 million Pacific Classic last summer.
“I think he is the best turf horse in the country at a mile and an eighth or more, don’t you?” Warren said. “Has anybody beaten him at it yet? Until they do, he’s the best turf horse in the country. He’s just developed into a wonderful, wonderful horse.”
Argentine-bred Interaction, ridden by Brice Blanc was runner-up Saturday, 2 ¼ lengths in front of third-place Casino Host who closed from fifth and last under Joe Talamo. Fourth was Hog’s Hollow, with Slim Shadey, the 5-2 second choice, a disappointing last.
Acclamation, scoring his11th success in 30 lifetime races, added $180,000 to his bankroll for a total of $1,958,048, The bay speedster now will be pointed for an attempt to win a second straight TVG Pacific Classic over Del Mar’s Polytrack surface Sunday, August 26.
Carrying highweight of 123 pounds, Acclamation went postward the 1-2 favorite and returned $3, $2.60 and $2.10. Interaction, sent off at 11-1, paid $5.40 and $3, while Casino Host paid $2.80 to show.
Because of heavy wagering on Acclamation to show, there was a minus show pool of $66,680.86. Of $453,281 in the show pool, $378,984 was wagered on the winner.
For Acclamation’s pedigree, click http://www.pedigreequery.com/acclamation5.