Updated on 09/30/2011 7:00PM

Santa Anita: Acclamation will be heavy favorite in Clement Hirsch

Benoit & Associates
Acclamation, with Joel Rosario riding, wins the Eddie Read.

ARCADIA, Calif. - The memory of Acclamation’s win in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes on turf at Del Mar in July was foremost on trainer Don Warren’s mind on Friday.

“I always get chills watching him come down the lane,” Warren recalled. “He looked like no horse in the country would have beaten him that day.”

Acclamation won the Read by 3 1/4 lengths, and followed with a hard-fought head win in the $1 million Pacific Classic on Del Mar’s Polytrack surface on Aug. 28. Those races represent the third and fourth wins of Acclamation’s current four-race winning streak.

Friday afternoon, Warren confirmed that Acclamation’s next start will be Sunday’s $150,000 $150,000 Clement Hirsch Turf Championship at Santa Anita and that the 5-year-old will be scratched from Saturday’s Grade 1, $250,000 Goodwood Stakes on the dirt main track.

Warren and majority owner Bud Johnston discussed options on Friday and decided to keep Acclamation in the turf race. Earlier this year, Acclamation won three stakes on turf at Hollywood Park and Del Mar, followed by the Pacific Classic.

Acclamation will be heavily favored in the Clement Hirsch Turf Championship, which is run over 1 1/4 miles on turf. Warren said on Friday that Acclamation has the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5 as a long-term goal this fall.

“We went for what’s better for the horse and what’s better for him in five weeks rather than the Grade 1 and the amount of money,” Warren said. “We weighed the pros and cons of both races. We like the surface, on turf; we like the post and the distance better.”

The Clement Hirsch Turf Championship has drawn a field of eight. Since the Pacific Classic, which Acclamation won by a head over Twirling Candy, the 5-year-old has left Warren amazed with his condition.

“I thought it was a tough race,” he said. “You would think it was a tough race on him but I have no proof on that theory. He ate up that night, and acted as good the next day. He’s done the same ever since.

“The Pacific Classic was the most exciting race. It was close and it was quite a battle in the last eighth. So far, he’s done it all.”

What has made Acclamation particularly dangerous this year is his style of racing on or near the front. When challenged, and not many have been able to do so, Acclamation has simply kept going, as evidenced by the stretch run of the Pacific Classic.

In the Hirsch, jockey Patrick Valenzuela is unlikely to face much pressure early aboard Acclamation.

The field includes defending champion in Champ Pegasus, who won the Hirsch Turf Championship when the race was run at Hollywood Park last year. This year, Champ Pegasus has one win in four starts, the Grade 2 San Luis Obispo Stakes here in February.

Following a 12th in the $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic in the Middle East, he was turned out. Champ Pegasus was fifth in his comeback, the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile on turf on Aug. 27.

“The other race was a practice swing,” trainer Richard Mandella said. “He didn’t run badly. He seems like he’s in really good shape.”