Acclamation wins third Whittingham

Acclamation wins third Whittingham

Published Jun. 9, 2012 1:00 a.m. ET

Acclamation beat Slim Shadey by a length Saturday in the $250,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park.

Ridden by Patrick Valenzuela, Acclamation ran 1-1/4 miles on the turf in 2:01.50 and paid $4 as the even-money betting favorite in the field of five. It was Valenzuela's first mount since May 19 and his second win since the 49-year-old rider ended his four-month retirement in April. He has been battling weight issues.

''This is just a tremendous horse,'' he said. ''I feel like Acclamation does, really good. I've been working out a lot and doing my cardiovascular work. I feel like he's going to improve off this race.''

Acclamation, last year's champion older male, equaled John Henry as a three-time winner of the race named for the late Hall of Fame trainer.


Utopian was third, 4-1/4 lengths back of Slim Shadey.

Acclamation has had a different rider in each of his three Whittingham wins. Valenzuela won both of his races aboard the horse last year, including the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar.

Acclamation, who carried high weight of 124 pounds, was supposed to run in the Inglewood Handicap on April 27, but he took a couple awkward steps in training and was scratched.

''It was kind of a bumpy road getting here, but we made it,'' trainer Don Warren said. ''He's been training like he was ready. The setback he had didn't worry me that he would be short because I had another month to work with him. We never found out what was wrong. You can guess maybe it was this or maybe it's that, but it's nothing you can put your finger on.''

Acclamation has 10 wins in 29 career starts and earnings of $1,778,048.

In the $150,000 Honeymoon Handicap, My Gi Gi edged 1-2 favorite Lady of Shamrock by a nose.

Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, My Gi Gi ran 1-1/8 miles on the turf in 1:49.22 and paid $8.40. Bejarano also won the $72,100 Manhattan Beach with 7-10 favorite Byrama. He also won the Honeymoon last year with Sarah's Secret.