07/16/2012 1:42PM

Del Mar notes: Acclamation puts in strong work for Eddie Read

Shigeki Kikkawa
Acclamation is expected to face a short field in Saturday's Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar.

DEL MAR, Calif. - The first Grade 1 race of the Del Mar meeting, the $300,000 Eddie Read Stakes, will be run Saturday, and it is shaping up as a virtual walkover for Eclipse Award winner Acclamation, who has scared away just about all his rivals, and whoever was left might be reconsidering after his sharp drill on the turf here Monday morning.

With regular jockey Patrick Valenzuela aboard, Acclamation went off slowly but then finished like a locomotive in the final quarter-mile for an official clocking of 1:14.40 for six furlongs. He had to go around orange cones, known as dogs, which were positioned in the middle of the course.

“I like the way he looked coming home,” said Bud Johnston, who bred Acclamation and is his co-owner. “He went super good. I love the way he finished. He’s just doing great.”

Acclamation, last year’s champion older male, returned from a lengthy layoff to win the Whittingham at Betfair Hollywood Park in his 2012 debut. He has won six straight, four of which are Grade 1 races, including last year’s Eddie Read.

Acclamation figures to have few challengers in this year’s Eddie Read. There were just nine older horses nominated to the 1 1/8-mile grass race, including Norvsky, Acclamation’s Don Warren-trained stablemate, who will run in the $100,000 California Dreamin’ for California-breds on Sunday.

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Potential Eddie Read rivals include Casino Host, Interaction, Suggestive Boy, and, possibly, Utopian. Casino Host, who won the Mervin Muniz earlier this year for trainer Chad Brown, has been sent west by owners Gary and Mary West and placed with trainer Ron Ellis. Interaction and Suggestive Boy are both trained by Ron McAnally.

Suggestive Boy, second last month in the Shoemaker Mile in his U.S. debut, worked a half-mile on turf Monday under jockey Joe Talamo in 48 seconds, the best time of eight at the distance. Interaction went five furlongs in 1:03.80.

Casino Host worked six furlongs at Hollywood Park on Sunday in 1:14.80.

Eden’s Moon set for San Clemente

Eden’s Moon has never raced on turf, so trainer Bob Baffert on Monday wanted to see how she handled the surface before committing to the Grade 2, $150,000 San Clemente Stakes on Sunday.

But after Eden’s Moon, under jockey Rafael Bejarano, smoothly cruised past stablemate Jemina’s Pearl en route to a half-mile time of 48.40 seconds, Baffert looked up and said, “I guess she’s running.”

Eden’s Moon was narrowly beaten last time out in the Hollywood Oaks, which was her first start since finishing last of 14 in the Kentucky Oaks. The daughter of Malibu Moon glided effortlessly over the turf Monday.

The San Clemente, at one mile on turf for 3-year-old fillies, also is expected to include Byrama, Don’tgetmadalexis, Indigo River, Killer Graces, Mary Fildes, Oblivion, and Open Water.

Killer Graces worked a half-mile on the turf Monday in 49 seconds for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Oblivion was timed in 1:01.40 for five furlongs on turf for trainer Carla Gaines. Open Water, trained by Eric Guillot, had the best time of eight going five furlongs Monday, 1:01.20.

Del Mar traffic warning

Traffic getting into and out of Del Mar, often a challenge to begin with, figures to be made more difficult this year because of a project that began last week to widen Highway 101 through Solana Beach, the town immediately north of Del Mar.

Highway 101 is usually two lanes in each direction, but there is now just one lane going each way, beginning just yards north of Via de la Valle and continuing past Lomas Santa Fe, where the Amtrak and Coaster train station is located.

According to construction signs posted in the area, the project will last throughout the meet and into next year.