The Ellwood Johnston Trust and Timmy Time Racing's Acclimate grabbed the lead at the start of Saturday's Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap and was able to hold it all the way to the wire, out-lasting the late-running Oscar Dominguez by a length on the wire. The 5-year-old California-bred son of Acclamation, ridden by Florent Geroux for trainer Phil D'Amato, completed 1 3/8 miles over Del Mar's firm turf in 2:12.71. Off at odds of 7-1, Acclimate earned an expenses-paid berth to the Breeders' Cup Turf this fall at Santa Anita Park.
Acclimate jumped out well ahead of the field and easily crossed over from his outside post position, taking up a place at the rail to lead the way in the marathon turf contest. He was a solid 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Ritzy A. P. and Itsinthepost through fractions of :24.12, :47.70, and 1:11.97.
Geroux seemed to feel his rivals winding up behind him and timed his rally on the lead perfectly aboard Acclimate, jumping out to a three-length lead at the head of the stretch. Racing on well from the back of the pack was Oscar Dominguez, but Acclimate had enough left to hit the wire a length in front. Oscar Dominguez finished second, with Ritzy A. P. and Blended Citizen filling out the superfecta.
Bred in California by Old English Rancho, Sal Berumen, and Patsy Berumen, Acclimate is out of the unraced Boundary mare Knows No Bounds. He was a $30,000 yearling at the Barretts October sale, and earned his first graded stakes victory in June's San Juan Capistrano at Santa Anita. Overall, the gelding boasts a record of 6-1-2 from 16 starts for earnings of over $300,000.
FLORENT GEROUX (Acclimate, winner) – “It worked out very well. The horse was sharp. He went to the front easily. And he ran relaxed all the way.”
JOE TALAMO (Oscar Dominguez, second) – “We had our trip. The leader just never came back to us.”
MARTIN GARCIA (Ritzy A.P., third) – “Too easy up front for the winner. I wanted to go get him, but I couldn't move my horse too soon.”
PHIL D'AMATO (Acclimate, winner) – “He had been breezing up a storm, so I knew he was in good form. But you're up against a lot of nice horses and it's great that he proved the best today.”
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