OTB Race Previews
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Las Vegas, NV - The 44th running of the Grade 1 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap comes our way from Betfair Hollywood Park this Saturday June 9th. $250,000 is on the line for three year olds willing to go 1 ¼ miles on Hollywood Park's turf track.
The Whittingham is one of three turf stakes on Hollywood Park's Saturday card. It is race 10 with a post time of 4:40 PM. It has drawn a field of six including one Eclipse Award winner. Here is a look at the six entries and what brought them to this Grade 1 stakes.
Acclamation - the reigning Eclipse Award winner for older males makes his 2012 debut on Saturday having won five straight stakes races including the Whittingham to end 2011 - the Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita (Turf), TVG Pacific Classic Stakes (G1) at Del Mar (Synthetic), Eddie Read Stakes (G1) at Del Mar (Turf), and Jim Murray Handicap (G2) at Hollywood Park last year. Acclamation was superb on turf last year - won four consecutive graded stakes on that surface.
Utopian - has raced five times already in 2012 and is coming off his best result of the year - a win last time out in the Grade 3 Inglewood Handicap. Before that he had just one second place finish in his previous four starts - at the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita on February 11th behind fellow Whittingham entry Slim Shadey. Joe Talamo will be the new rider for Utopian who hopes to keep his good fortune going.
Slim Shadey - has looked very good as of late. Two straight second place finishes in his last two starts in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs and the Grade 1 San Luis Stakes on March 25th followed two straight wins - an Allowance Optional Claiming on January 12th and the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes on February 11th at Santa Anita. Slim Shadey is in the best form of his career and could threaten Acclamation in this race.
Juniper Pass - returned from a lengthy layoff to finish fourth most recently in an Allowance on this track on May 19th. It was just over a year ago that Juniper Pass was one to keep your eyes on - two straight wins in the Grade 2 San Luis Stakes and the Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano Handicap were followed by a disappointing fifth in the Grade 3 Arlington - and then the 10 month layoff. Juniper Pass appears outclassed in this one.
Charles Whittingham Handicap betting at Hollywood Park with OffTrackBetting.com
Barney Rebel - will make his graded stakes debut on Saturday after an impressive win in an Allowance Optional Claiming race at Santa Anita on April 22nd. The Charles Whittingham is a huge step up in competition for a horse that has three wins in 11 career starts.
Make Music for Me - is the long shot in this race - 26 starts and only four wins. Most recently Make Music for Me won an Allowance on this track after a fifth in a similar race on April 27th here.