06/01/2012 4:34PM

Hollywood: Acclamation breezes for Whittingham


Acclamation, the champion older male of 2011, breezed a mile on turf in 1:41.20 on Friday, his final major exercise before an expected 2012 debut in the $250,000 Charles Whittingham Handicap next Saturday, June 9.

Acclamation worked a mile on turf for the second consecutive Friday with the stablemate Norvsky, but the circumstances of the two workouts were opposite.

On May 25, Acclamation had the lead and Norvsky was the trailing horse.

In Friday’s workout, Norvsky, ridden by jockey Rafael Bejarano, began about two lengths in front of Acclamation, who was ridden by Patrick Valenzuela. Acclamation stayed close to Norvsky throughout and took the lead in the stretch, finishing a length in front.

Norvsky was timed in 1:41.80.

Valenzuela described Acclamation’s workout as “very easy” and said he kept a strong hold on his mount through the stretch.

The workouts were described by track clockers as “breezing”, and not “handily,” indicating the runners were not extensively urged during the exercise. The time, however, was a bit slower than trainer Don Warren would have preferred.

“I would have liked to have had them work in 1:39 and not 41,” he said.

Regarding the tactics of the workout, Warren said he wants Acclamation comfortable in a tracking position, and not reliant on being in front, his typical running style. “We don’t want him to be one-dimensional,” he said.

Norvsky, who won the Grade 2 San Gabriel Stakes at Santa Anita in January, may be entered for the Grade 1 Whittingham, which is run over 1 1/4 miles on turf. Warren emphasized that Norvsky is unlikely to start, and would be entered only as a precaution in case Acclamation did not run.

Acclamation was entered for the Grade 3 Inglewood Handicap in late April, but did not start after Warren expressed concern about his soundness. Subsequent tests revealed no injuries.

Valenzuela is booked to ride Acclamation in the Whittingham. He has not ridden since May 19 because of difficulty controlling his weight, but said on Friday that he is hoping to return for the June 9 program.

The Whittingham field is expected to include Utopian, the winner of the Inglewood, and possibly Bourbon Bay, the winner of the San Juan Capistrano Handicap over about 1 3/4 miles on turf at Santa Anita in April.