04/04/2013 5:35PM

New stud Acclamation might return to racing

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Acclamation, a six-time Grade 1 winner with $1,958,048 in earnings, might return to training after his first season at stud.

In recent years, Acclamation’s life has changed every few months.

When he was not based at the track with trainer Don Warren, amassing a career record of 11 wins in 30 starts, six Grade 1 victories, and earnings of $1,958,048, he was resting at owner Bud Johnston’s farm in Sanger, Calif.

Last fall, Acclamation, the Eclipse Award winner as the champion older male of 2011, was sent back to the farm with a different objective for 2013. He began a stud career earlier this year for a fee of $20,000, which equals the highest price in California.

That may not be Acclamation’s last career move. A 7-year-old, Acclamation could return to training this spring, with the goal of starting in major stakes in the second half of the year. A decision is likely to be made in the next month, Johnston said.

“I think we’ll look at it,” Johnston said in a recent interview. “It gives us an option to consider. Right now, we’re concentrating on the breeding season. We will know something by mid-April or the end of April.”

Acclamation is by far the most prominent new stallion in California for 2013. The decision to send him to stud was finalized last fall. He left the racetrack at the height of his career, having won his last seven starts, all stakes, including the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar last July in his most recent race. He was taken out of training last summer when he strained a ligament in advance of the $1 million, Grade 1 TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar, a race he won in 2011.

If Acclamation returns to training this spring, there may be time to make the Pacific Classic on Aug. 25, although that has not been foremost on Johnston’s mind in recent weeks.

The goal for the breeding season is a book of approximately 40 mares. Johnston said his Old English Rancho farm will provide about 10 of those mares.

“He’s doing very well,” Johnston said. “We think it will be 35 to 40 mares. We did get a good response. It’s difficult to stand a new horse in California. People thought he would be sold out of state. I think we’ll do better next year.”

Prominent California breeder John Harris has supported Acclamation this year. He has sent mares such as Henlopen, the dam of stakes winners John Scott and Distant Victory; Super High, the California-bred champion 3-year-old filly of 2002; Hotlantic, a stakes winner at Louisiana Downs and Lone Star Park in 2009; and Lucky C. H., the dam of the graded stakes winner and Harris Farms stallion Lucky J. H.

Unusual Heat, the sire of Acclamation, stands at Harris Farms in Coalinga, Calif., for $20,000. He has been California’s leading stallion by progeny earnings the past five years.

“John Harris sent over some beautiful mares,” Johnston said. “I think that’s the important part. I’d rather get quality than quantity to find out how good he will be. We’re happy with the quality of mares. I wanted to get a good start. Of the ones we bred, almost all of those are in foal. He’s very fertile, like his father.”

Regarding a potential comeback to racing, Acclamation’s physical condition will be assessed in the coming weeks. He has been in light exercise at the farm.

“He’s on a lunge line,” Johnston said. “We have a covered round pen, and we jog him.”

In his championship year of 2011, Acclamation was a contender for the Horse of the Year title before being sidelined with a bruised foot in the weeks before the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs. Johnston and Warren had hoped to start Acclamation in the Breeders’ Cup Turf that year.

The 2013 Breeders’ Cup is at Santa Anita in November, and trying to make it there would be the goal of a potential comeback, Johnston said.

“I think he deserves it and deserves a shot at Horse of the Year, if we could get him ready in time to do something like that,” Johnston said. “That’s in the back of our minds.”

Mike B More than 1 year ago
I'm not a breeder, but it seems that 7 wins in a row in GI & GII sure looks good for marketing to breeders. Primacy and recency apply in all types of marketing. Why risk a flop on the return and breaking the string--could be penny wise and pound foolish (trying to get an extra 100K on the track but ending on a low not costing more in breeding. I am more excited about the progeny--bred right they should be dynamite in the Cal Bred Allowance and restricted stakes. This guy could a top sire, attracting great mares, and the cal bred incentives are in place. He may be the go to turf stallion soon. So his best contribution to CA racing may be in breeding barn rather than race track. Unless he is super sound and clocking bullet works, I would not risk another race (we have lost dozens this year on CA tracks when a mis-step causes catastrophic injury.
Kristopher More than 1 year ago
Silveyville, Acclamation's damsire, raced well after starting his stallion career. He won a graded stake over Strawberry Road at Santa Anita at 8. That was 2 years before Acclamation's dam was foaled. That was Old English Rancho as well.
Mark. More than 1 year ago
on second thought if he isn't 100% sound keep him in the breeder's shed.
Mark. More than 1 year ago
Bring him back. You can't have breeding without pari mutuel racing.
zerosumzen More than 1 year ago
Would love to see him back. And the idea of mixing stud and racing careers is something I would welcome as well. Most of these heroes and heroines are withdrawn far too early for my taste. Racing is what it's about first and foremost.
Guy More than 1 year ago
A Stallion with his credentials, should have been able to get 60 mares at least.
Quite A Dude More than 1 year ago
20k for a stud in California is an absolute joke. There isn't 50 mares in California worth 20k on their own. Old English Rancho over prices everything. They think it's still the 80's...
Black More than 1 year ago
Quite an idiot ! LOL. There are plenty of good mares in California. His daddy is a world class stallion at the same price and his race record isn't as good as Acclamation's is.
Black More than 1 year ago
Epic Honor and his 1st starter won back to back races once and he was away longer than Acclamation. Other horses have done it.
Craig More than 1 year ago
He is fat and happy on the farm.Usually when they get a look at females they loose their edge,like most guys.
Frank More than 1 year ago
Total utter human greed -- Its not the way nature works with these horses.
Black More than 1 year ago
Nature doesn't work at all with these horses !! Without human assistance there wouldn't be thoroughbreds. His owner has been in the breeding business for 80yrs . He knows what he's doing and it's his horse.
Frank More than 1 year ago
Nature works with any animal and being! He knows what he is doing? He can talk to the horse and the horse talks back? It is his horse and they are being greedy. Retiring the horse after he was hurt, breeding him and now forcing him back on the track. How far can you push these fragile animals? Greedy.
russell More than 1 year ago
Weird story. Never heard of a fertile stallion returning to racing.
Jane Doe84 More than 1 year ago
Square Eddie came back.... won an allowance and then got beat (pretty decisively) in a few stakes. And I think Hansen's owner wanted to do the same with him before he got hurt.