OffTrackBetting.com - The much anticipated Grade 1 Pacific Classic comes our way this Saturday, August 20 from Del Mar Race Track in Del Mar, California. A nice purse of $1 million will be on the line for horses three years old and upward willing to race 1 1/4 miles on Del Mar's dirt track.
A stellar field of nine will take to the track in the Pacific Classic - race 9 on Del Mar's stacked Saturday card. Post time is 6:15 PM. Let's take a look into the past performances of all nine entries for this terrific looking Grade 1 stakes - a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" race giving automatic admission to the Breeders' Cup Classic.
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2016 Pacific Classic Race Preview at Del Mar Race Track
California Chrome 8-5 - two-time Eclipse Award winning Art Sherman trained 2014 Horse of the Year had a terrific six race win streak early that year and looked absolutely untouchable - the Preakness Stakes, a four length win in the Kentucky Derby, the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes by 7 1/4 lengths and two minor stakes scores. He also had a fourth in the Belmont Stakes that year - a race that could have made him the first Triple Crown winner in decades. He had just one start in 2015 - a runner-up finish in the Group 1 Dubai World Cup at Meydan. He has been untouchable again in 2016 however - a victory last time out in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap here July 23 followed a dominant win by 3 3/4 lengths in the $10 million Group 1 Dubai World Cup in March, a Handicap score also at Meydan February 25 and an impressive win in the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes at Santa Anita January 9. California Chrome now has 22 career starts with 13 wins, three seconds and a third place finish and has won four straight ahead of this week. He will have regular rider Victor Espinoza aboard looking to make some more noise from an unfavorable rail position. California Chrome is the 126 pound highweight and obvious favorite here.
Beholder 5-2 - superstar defending champion and three time Eclipse Award winner - 2015 Champion Older Mare, 2013 Champion 3 Year Old Filly and 2012 Champion 2 Year Old Filly - 10 time Grade 1 victor has 23 career starts with an incredible 17 wins and four second place finishes - the only times she hasn't finished first or second came in her debut and a fourth place finish in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Stakes over two years ago. She enters off a slightly disappointing runner-up finish behind Stellar Wind in the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes here July 30 and a terrific eight race win streak - the Grade 1 Vanity Mile June 4, the Grade 3 Adoration Stakes May 8 after 7 1/2 months away, the Grade 1 Zenyatta Stakes (for the third straight year) September 26, the 2015 Pacific Classic against the boys by 8 1/4 lengths, the 2015 Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes by an incredible seven lengths August 1, the 2015 Adoration Stakes, the minor Santa Lucia Stakes in April and the 2015 Zenyatta Stakes in September. She won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies in 2012 and the Breeders' Cup Distaff in 2013 but has just 11 starts since - nine wins. Beholder is a three-time Eclipse Award winner for a reason - she is mighty impressive and is destined to be in the mix Saturday. Gary Stevens will once again be in the saddle of the morning line second choice from post 7.
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Dortmund 3-1 - was last seen running second behind California Chrome in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap on this track July 23 after eight months away. That result followed a win the Grade 3 Native Diver Stakes by 4 1/2 lengths on this track November 28 for trainer Bob Baffert, another win in the minor Big Bear Stakes at Santa Anita in October, an OK fourth in the 2015 Preakness Stakes and a respectable third in the Kentucky Derby. He won his first six career starts before that including the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby April 4, 2015, by 1 1/4 lengths in gate-to-wire fashion in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes March 7, the Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes February 7, the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity, an Allowance Optional Claiming score by 7 3/4 lengths at Churchill Downs November 29 and a 4 3/4 length maiden score in his debut - at Santa Anita November 2, 2014. He now has eight wins, a second and a third place finish in 11 career starts - impressive. Rafael Bejarano is scheduled to ride the third betting choice from gate 8 Saturday.
Hoppertunity 8-1 - defending fourth place finisher in this race - Bob Baffert trainee was one of the favorites for the 2014 Kentucky Derby but missed that race. He won the 2015 San Pasqual Stakes January 10 and the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs November 28, 2014. He enters off a fourth in the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita June 25 which followed a respectable third place finish behind California Chrome in the $10 million Group 1 Dubai World Cup at Meydan March 24, a good win in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita February 6, an OK third behind California Chrome in the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes January 9 and three straight runner-up finishes - the 2015 Clark Handicap November 27 at Churchill Downs, the Grade 2 Haygard Fayette Stakes October 30 at Keeneland and the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes in September. Hoppertunity has five wins, six seconds and four third place finishes in 20 starts overall, has finished no worse than fourth in 12 graded tries and has placed in six of his last seven graded/group stakes races ahead of this weekend - competitive every time out. Flavien Prat has been tabbed with snapping a two race losing streak from gate 2 Saturday.
Hard Aces 15-1 - John Sadler trainee won the 2015 Gold Cup at Santa Anita in upset fashion and hadn't posted another win until last time out when he won the Grade 3 Cougar II Handicap on this track July 24. Before that was a third in the 2016 Gold Cup at Santa Anita June 25, a respectable second behind Melatonin in the Grade 2 Californian Stakes here May 22, a disappointing seventh in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic April 23, a decent second with an impressive 101 Beyer Speed Figure in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap March 12, a fifth in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes February 6, a fourth in the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes January 9 and a sixth in the Breeders' Cup Classic. Hard Aces now has seven wins, five seconds and eight third place finishes in 33 career starts and has placed in his last three starts overall. Santiago Gonzales will try to maintain the upward trend from gate 4 Saturday.
Win The Space 15-1 - has three wins, a second and three third place finishes in 12 career starts for trainer George Papaprodromou. He enters off a respectable third behind Hard Aces in the Grade 2 Cougar II Handicap here July 23, a very nice second at 24-1 odds in the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita June 25, an Allowance Optional Claiming score May 15, a fourteenth place finish in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby and another Allowance Optional Claiming win October 25. He has been good in his last three starts and hopes to keep the roll going from the outside post 5 Saturday. Mike Smith gets the call.
Imperative 20-1 - finished second behind Dortmund in the 2015 Charles Town Classic in April (a race he won in 2014 at 26-1 odds and a race he finished fourth in 2016). Last time out was a slightly disappointing result - a fifth in the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita June 24 after a fourth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap March 12 and three straight runner-up finishes - a nose behind Hoppertunity in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes February 6, in the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes January 9 and in the Grade 3 Native Diver Stakes at Del Mar November 28. Imperative has failed to hit the board in his last three starts overall after looking pretty good to start his year and looks for his first ever Grade 1 score - his first win overall since April, 2014 (17 races) from gate 6 Saturday. Norberto Arroyo, Jr. has been tabbed to ride.
Dalmore 20-1 - Keith Desormeaux trained cot has three wins and three seconds in 11 career starts. He arrive on a two race win streak - last time out was a career best win in the Grade 3 Affirmed Stakes at Santa Anita July 2 after an Allowance Optional Claiming score on that track in May, a fifth in the minor California Chrome Stakes at Los Alamitos April 30 and an eighth in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct April 9. Dalmore arrives on a roll and will hope to keep the streak going from the outside post 9. Kent Desormeaux has the mount.
War Story 30-1 - has placed in his seven of 12 career starts - three wins, two seconds and two third place finishes and enters off his best result in some time - an Allowance score at Thistletown July 30. Before that were consecutive eighths - the minor Tropical Park Derby in December and the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, a sixth in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby and a third in the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby last August. War Story struggled until last time out and looks as though he'll be in tough from post 3 Saturday. Ricardo Mejias rides.
2016 Pacific Classic Entries & Odds
Race 9 on Del Mar's Saturday card with a Post Time of 9:15 PM.
|1||California Chrome||8-5||Victor Espinoza||Art Sherman|
|2||Hoppertunity||8-1||Flavien Prat||Bob Baffert|
|3||War Story||30-1||Ricardo Mejias||Dean Greenman|
|4||Hard Aces||15-1||Santiago Gonzalez||John Sadler|
|5||Win the Space||15-1||Joseph Talamo||George Papaprodromou|
|6||Imperative||20-1||Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||Richard Baltas|
|7||Beholder||3-1||Gary Stevens||Richard Mandella|
|8||Dortmund||5-2||Rafael Bejarano||Bob Baffert|
|9||Dalmore||20-1||Kent Desormeaux||J. Desormeaux|