02/12/2013 2:43PM

Acclamation repeats as California-bred Horse of the Year

Benoit & Associates
Acclamation will stand at stud this season at Old English Rancho in California.

PASADENA, Calif. – Acclamation was named California-bred Horse of the Year for the second straight year at the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association’s annual awards dinner Monday night here at the Westin hotel.

Acclamation previously had been announced as the winner of two divisional awards for 2012, for older male and turf horse. He won both his starts last year, the Whittingham at Hollywood Park and the Eddie Read at Del Mar, before being sent to stud at his birthplace, the Old English Rancho of co-owners Bud and Judy Johnston.

“I hope he’s an exciting sire,” Bud Johnston said. “He deserves to continue on the Unusual Heat legacy.”

Unusual Heat, the sire of Acclamation, was honored as the leading sire of California-conceived foals by earnings and by turf earnings.

“Every night when I go to sleep, a lot of people are in my prayers – and one horse,” said Barry Abrams, who trained Unusual Heat and is part of the syndicate that owns the stallion, along with Madeline Auerbach.

Acclamation was the Cal-bred Horse of the Year in 2011, too, the year he also won the Eclipse Award as the nation’s champion older male.

Other Cal-bred divisional winners for 2012 were Tilde (2-year-old filly), Monument (2-year-old male), Willa B Awesome (3-year-old filly), Unusual Heatwave (3-year-old male), Amazombie (sprinter), and Halo Dolly (older female).

Also Monday night, the horse Windy Sands and racecaller Trevor Denman were inducted into the CTBA’s Hall of Fame.

Frank Mirahmadi, the track announcer at Oaklawn Park and a native of California, was the emcee for the dinner and called Denman “the greatest racecaller of all-time.”

“Trevor is on a pedestal,” Mirahmadi said. “He’s not a colleague. I am his student.”

Denman, genuinely touched by the standing ovation he received, said, “in my 42-year career, this is the highlight, for sure.”

Windy Sands, a foal of 1957, was a six-time California champion stallion. His best offspring were Crystal Water – who in 1977 won both the Santa Anita Handicap and the Hollywood Gold Cup – and the filly June Darling.