08/22/2011 3:07PM

Del Mar: Acclamation to go in Pacific Classic

Benoit & Associates
Acclmation, with Joel Rosario riding, wins the Eddie Read.

DEL MAR, Calif. – With three straight wins, the last two in Grade 1 races, Acclamation has developed into the premier older turf horse on the West Coast, but a strong workout on the main track Monday morning at Del Mar convinced his connections to move him to Polytrack for the meet’s richest race, the Grade 1, $1 million Pacific Classic on Sunday.

With jockey Patrick Valenzuela aboard, Acclamation worked six furlongs in 1:12.60 shortly after the mid-morning renovation break. Bud Johnston, who bred Acclamation at his Old English Rancho and owns him in partnership, caught Acclamation going out seven furlongs in 1:25.

“He leveled off and looked good in the stretch,” Johnston said. “He ran the last quarter in 23. I think all is a go. I think we’ll take a shot at it.”

Acclamation has raced 26 times, but this will be the first time Valenzuela has ridden him in a race. Joel Rosario, who rode Acclamation to a victory in the Eddie Read Stakes earlier this meet, is sticking with Twirling Candy, expected to be one of the top choices in the race.

“I loved the way he worked this morning,” said Don Warren, who trains Acclamation. “He had a strong last quarter-mile. He looked like he handled the Polytrack okay, so we’ll give him a chance in the Classic. His recovery time after the work was very good, a sign that he’s pretty fit. He’s one of the best turf horses in the country. Hopefully he’ll run that way on Polytrack.”

Acclamation also had been under consideration for the Grade 2, $200,000 Del Mar Handicap, a 1 3/8-mile turf race that is part of Sunday’s stakes card here. That race is expected to be headed by Bourbon Bay, who also has been under consideration for the Pacific Classic.

Entries for the Pacific Classic will be taken on Wednesday morning, and post positions will be drawn that night at a party at a local hotel. Expected to join Acclamation in the field are Don Cavallo, Game On Dude, Jeranimo, Quindici Man, Setsuko, Stately Victor, Tres Borrachos, and Twirling Candy.

The champion filly Blind Luck is possible for the race, though Jerry Hollendorfer, her trainer and co-owner, is leaning against running. A final determination will be made after Blind Luck works here on Wednesday morning. She has never raced against males.

If she passes the race, Blind Luck would await the Lady’s Secret Stakes on Oct. 2 at the fall meeting at Santa Anita as a final prep for the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic on Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs.

On Sunday morning, Twirling Candy worked one mile in 1:37.80 with Rosario

“I’m very happy. He looked smooth, galloped out a mile and an eighth in about 1:50,” trainer John Sadler said. “He’s a big horse, and to run a mile and a quarter on this track, you’ve got to be relaxed, and you’ve got to be fit.”

Jeranimo worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 Sunday with jockey Martin Pedroza, who is expected to ride him in the race.

– additional reporting by Steve Andersen