Updated on 09/10/2012 2:23PM

Santa Anita: Acclamation resumes training with an eye to the Breeders' Cup

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Acclamation has been sidelined since August with a strained ligament.

ARCADIA, California – Acclamation resumed training Saturday morning at Santa Anita, with an outside chance he could still make the Breeders’ Cup. But time is not on his side.

“There’s still a chance he could run in the Breeders’ Cup,” trainer Don Warren said Friday. “Everything would have to go perfect.”

Fortunately, everything has gone well the past month for Acclamation as he recovers from a strained ligament that knocked him from training in August and prevented an attempted repeat in the Pacific Classic. The injury was at the back of his left pastern.

“The leg looks real good, we’ll just jog him for a week and see how it goes,” Warren said. Acclamation won five consecutive graded stakes in 2011 and was voted the Eclipse Award as champion older male. Both starts in 2012 were Grade 1 victories that extended his win streak to seven. Overall, the 6-year-old California-bred son of Unusual Heat has won 11 races and $1,959,048 from 30 starts.

Prior to the setback, owner-breeder Buddy Johnston paid a $50,000 nomination fee that made Acclamation eligible to the Breeders’ Cup.

“That’s where we’re headed,” Johnston said Friday. “We’re going to jog him four or five days to make sure he’s all right, but he sure looks 100 percent.”

Johnston is hopeful the injury was sufficiently minor that a quick return to training is possible. “He’s a marvelous horse to train, and he hasn’t been out of training that long, so I think we can make it,” Johnston said, referring to the Breeders’ Cup. “It only looked bad for about a week, just a little tiny bit of swelling.”

The Breeders’ Cup races will be held Nov. 2-3 at Santa Anita, and the interruption to Acclamation’s campaign offers a short window to prepare. Acclamation would go into the Breeders’ Cup without benefit of a prep race. His most recent start was July 21.

Although the win streak by Acclamation has been on turf and synthetic, Johnston did not rule out the BC Classic on dirt. “We’ll decide [what race] when we get further along, maybe work him at Santa Anita over the dirt and see how he handles it.”

Whether or not Acclamation races this fall, Johnston left open the possibility of a 2013 campaign at age 7.

“I really hadn’t planned on racing him next year. I thought if he was going to go to stud duty, he probably should go at the end of his 6-year-old year,” Johnston said. “But, plans change. If I don’t sell him, you might see him [next year].”