Acclamation is towering presence in Eddie Read title defense

Acclamation is Towering Presence in Eddie Read Title Defense

Acclamation will make a title defense when he returns to Del Mar's turf  in Saturday's Grade 1, $300,000 Eddie Read Stakes at 1 1/8 miles. The Don Warren trainee made short work of a deep group of rivals last year, strolling to an easy 3 1/4-length decision on the front end, and only four rivals will line up to face arguably the nation's best turf horse on Saturday. Acclamation looks set for another top performance with jockey Pat Valenzuela.

The California-bred son of Unusual Heat captured the 2011 Eclipse Award for champion older male by virtue of his victory in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic on Polytrack, but turf is his best surface. Acclamation stretched his win streak to six when making his 2012 bow in the Charles Whittingham Memorial on June 11, winning the Grade 1 event in wire-to-wire fashion for the third consecutive year, and the six-year-old will likely show the way in the Eddie Read as the controlling speed.

Acclamation has registered triple-digit BRIS Speed ratings in every start during his current win skein.

Whittingham runner-up Slim Shadey is the main rival. Winner of the Grade 2 San Marcos on Santa Anita's turf earlier this term, the Simon Callaghan charge posted a commendable second in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs prior to the Whittingham. The four-year-old gelding, who will attempt to rebound from a disappointing fifth as the favorite in the Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth Park, picks up a new rider in Garrett Gomez.

Casino Host will make his first start for conditioner Ron Ellis in the Eddie Read. Formerly based with Chad Brown, the four-year-old colt posted an upset win in the Grade 2 Mervin Muniz at Fair Grounds in April, but Casino Host has not hit the board in his last two attempts. Joe Talamo takes over the reins. Interaction exits an encouraging allowance/optional claiming score at Hollywood, his first start under the direction of Hall of Famer Ron McAnally, and the 2010 Argentinean Horse of the Year could continue to show more with a returning Brice Blanc in the saddle. Grade 2-placed longshot Hog's Hollow rounds out the line-up.

Del Mar will also offer the $100,000 Osunitas Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 grassy miles. Trainer John Sadler is responsible for two of the 10 contestants, including likely favorite Byrony. After capturing five of 18 starts in England, the four-year-old filly found immediate success stateside, posting two sharp allowance wins at Hollywood. Rafael Bejarano will keep the mount on the promising chestnut. Briecat, Halo Dolly, Jet Blue Girl and Hard to Resist are also entered.