06/04/2010 11:00PM

Acclamation wires Whittingham


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - He did it again.

For the second consecutive graded stakes, Acclamation was allowed to set his own pace in a distance race on turf, and left the trailing pack in his wake. Last month, Acclamation pulled a 14-1 upset in the Grade 2 Jim Murray Handicap over 1 1/2 miles on turf on May 15.

Saturday, Acclamation won the over 1 1/4 miles on turf from the front at Hollywood Park, giving jockey Christian Santiago Reyes, the champion apprentice jockey of 2009, his first Grade 1 stakes win.

Reyes was under basic instructions from trainer Don Warren -- set as slow a pace as possible and accelerate on the turn.

"We didn't have a strategy to worry about," Warren said. "He runs so well on the turn. I said, 'When you get to the turn, let him go.' "

Acclamation finished 1 1/4 miles on turf in 1:59.25, finishing 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Hyades, a 14-1 shot. Brushburn, a 14-1 outsider, finished third, a half-length in front of the 8-5 favorite, Loup Breton, who was closest at the wire. Loup Breton finished 2 3/4 lengths behind Acclamation.

Hyades, ridden by Victor Espinoza, was the first horse to move closer to Acclamation on the backstretch when the leader was in front by 3 1/2 lengths.

"I thought Victor was moving too soon, but he made the right decision," trainer Ben Cecil said. "We'd been running him over 1 1/8 miles, and this kind of race is more what he wants to do."

Acclamation benefited when Reyes was able to set a slow pace of 24.58 and 49 seconds for the first half-mile.

"When I saw that 49, that's when I was really happy," said winning owner Bud Johnston.

Acclamation, a 4-year-old California-bred colt by Unusual Heat, has won 4 of 19 starts and $497,048 for Johnston and his wife, Judy. This is by far the best season of his career. Last fall, he was third in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby, which was a prologue to the form he has shown this spring at Hollywood Park.

Acclamation's next start could be the $150,000 Sunset Handicap over 1 1/2 miles on turf here on July 18, the closing day of the spring-summer meeting.