01/06/2012 3:51PM

Santa Anita: Acclamation resumes training, eyes spring return to races

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Acclamation has resumed light training at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Acclamation, a finalist for Eclipse Awards as the nation’s outstanding turf male and outstanding older male, has resumed light training at Santa Anita with an expected return to racing in the spring.

Trainer Don Warren said Acclamation jogged for a week in late December and was being walked at his stable this week, with a mix of jogging and walking expected in coming weeks. A winner of three Grade 1 races in 2011, Acclamation could start his 2012 campaign before the end of the current Santa Anita winter-spring meeting on April 22.

“We’re taking our time,” Warren said. “He did a little jogging, and we’re walking for a few days. He’ll probably get ready pretty quickly. We’ll take it slow early.”

Owned by a partnership led by breeder Bud Johnston, Acclamation has won 9 of 28 starts and $1,628,048. In 2011, he won 5 of 7 starts, with the victories coming in five consecutive stakes on turf and the synthetic track at Del Mar from mid-May to early October.

Following his victory in the Grade 2 Clement Hirsch Stakes at Santa Anita in October, Acclamation was diagnosed with a bruised foot that eliminated him from consideration for the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs.

“I think it’s pretty much gone, unless it flares up again when we get to working on him,” Warren said of the foot.

Compari eyes Arcadia after victory

Compari is likely to start in the $150,000 Arcadia Stakes over a mile on turf on Feb. 4 after winning for the first time in 21 months in an optional claimer on turf Thursday.

Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Compari ($3.60) led throughout, set a modest pace of 24.64 and 47.84 seconds, and won by three-quarters of a length over Willyconker. The win was the first for the 6-year-old gelding since the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap here in April 2010, ending a five-race losing streak.

During that span, he was fifth in the 2010 Hollywood Gold Cup and fourth in an allowance race at Hollywood Park last May. Thursday’s race was Compari’s second start after a six-month layoff.

“Apart from maybe the Hollywood Gold Cup and the allowance race when he popped that splint and finished fourth, all his races have been good,” trainer Marty Jones said. “It’s just been a while since he’d won. He’s really a competitive horse.”

Compari was second to Mr Gruff in the Night Mover Stakes at Hollywood Park on Nov. 18. Mr Gruff starts in Sunday’s Daytona Stakes at Santa Anita.

A winner of 7 of 13 starts and $510,430, Compari is owned by breeders John Harris, John Nicoletti, and Don Valpredo. The timing of Thursday’s race was ideal; coinciding with Valpredo’s birthday.

◗ Jones said the $100,000 Irish O’Brien Stakes is likely to be the next start for the multiple stakes winner Unzip Me, who finished in a dead heat for third in the Monrovia Stakes on Monday. The Monrovia and Irish O’Brien Stakes are run on the hillside turf course over about 6 1/2 furlongs.