02/03/2012 2:34PM

Acclamation front-runner to be chosen top Cal-bred of 2011

Shigeki Kikkawa
Acclamation is the leading candidate to be named the top California-bred of 2011.

Acclamation’s haul of year-end awards for his 2011 season is likely to grow on Monday when the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association announces its Horse of the Year at its annual dinner on Monday in Pasadena, Calif.

Already recognized with the Eclipse Award for the nation’s outstanding older male of 2011, Acclamation has earned honors as the top California-bred turf horse and older male of the year. He was the only horse to win two divisional titles in the statebred category in 2011.

Amazombie, the Eclipse Award winner as the nation’s outstanding sprinter of 2011, was recognized as the season’s top sprinter among California-breds. Along with the Grade 1 winner Ultra Blend, Amazombie is also a finalist for California-bred of the year.

The California-bred Horse of the Year title is an honor that both of the male horses deserve, having raced at the highest level through the season and being nationally recognized.

Amazombie won two Grade 1 races in 2011, highlighted by a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs in November. Acclamation won five consecutive graded stakes, including three Grade 1 races at Hollywood Park and Del Mar last spring and summer.

Other divisional titles went to Ismene, champion 2-year-old filly; Rousing Sermon, 3-year-old male; Teddy’s Promise, 3-year-old filly; Burns, 3-year-old male; and Ultra Blend, older filly or mare.

Sadly, Burns is being honored posthumously. The winner of the Grade 2 La Jolla Handicap at Del Mar in August, Burns suffered a catastrophic injury during the running of the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby in September.

Ultra Blend, the winner of the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar in August, and three other stakes in 2011, has since been retired to be bred.

The people behind Acclamation are being honored for their success in 2011 – and their lifelong contributions to racing. Don Warren was named outstanding trainer, while majority owner Bud Johnston and the racehorses Brown Bess and Quicken Tree will be inducted into the CTBA’s Hall of Fame.

The Oak Tree Racing Association, which operated not-for-profit race meetings at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park from 1969 to 2010, will receive the Scoop Vessels award for service to racing.