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The Pacific Classic is the signature race of Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and one of the most important races of the summer in southern California. The race was first run in 1991 and is contested at 1 1/4 miles on the main track for horses 3 years old and older.
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club has announced that this year's Pacific Classic Day will be held on Saturday, August 17, as part of an enhanced racing program that will feature an unprecedented five graded stakes races, the first time that will have happened in the seaside track's 80 summers of racing.
Del Mar's 29th edition of its signature race - the $1,000,000, Grade 1 Pacific Classic -- will headline a blockbuster program that also will offer four additional Graded stakes - the $300,000, Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks, the $250,000, Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap, the $100,000, Grade 3 Torrey Pines Stakes and the $100,000, Grade 3 Green Flash Handicap.
"We've seen it across the country," said DMTC president Josh Rubinstein, "that racetracks and racing fans respond very positively to `big days.' The Triple Crown races, the Breeders' Cup programs - they put a special buzz in the air; they make the day into something that transcends the racing itself. Our plan is to bolster our premier race and make it the showcase event on a day like we've never had before at Del Mar."
The Pacific Classic, which has been won recently by such champions as Shared Belief, Beholder, California Chrome and Accelerate, is run at the classic American distance of a mile and a quarter and open to 3-year-olds and up. Approaching its third decade, it has established itself in the top tier of races nationally and continues to be the west's only million dollar test for older horses.
The Del Mar Oaks is for 3-year-old fillies and run at nine furlongs on the grass, using Del Mar's distinctive infield chute. This will be the 63rd edition of the headliner that annually draws top-classy fillies from across the country.
The Del Mar Handicap is the track's oldest stakes race, presented first at the opening meet in 1937 and every year since. This 80th running goes at 11 furlongs on the lawn for 3-year-olds and up.
The Torrey Pines Stakes is also for 3-year-old fillies, but it is a main track offering run at a mile. This will be its 42nd edition. The Green Flash Handicap was recently elevated to its current Grade III status after being first presented as an overnight stakes starting in 2003. This 17th running is for 3-year-olds and up at five furlongs on the grass.
Del Mar's 36-day summer season runs from Wednesday, July 17 through Labor Day Monday, September 2. Racing will be conducted on a Wednesday through Sunday basis throughout the stand, along with the addition of the closing holiday program.
The Pacific Classic Stakes is an American Thoroughbred horse race for runners aged 3-year-old or up run at the classic American distance of a mile and a quarter (10 furlongs, 2 km). It is run each year in August at Del Mar Race Track in Del Mar, Calif., and the Grade 1 race has become one of the top prizes for older horses racing in the United States each year.
First run in 1991, the Pacific Classic offers a purse of $1-million and is the premier event of the season at one of the nation's premier race meetings conducted for seven weeks each year at the seaside racing plant just north of San Diego. Notable among the runnings of the race was the 1996 renewal that saw champion Cigar attempt to best Citation's mark of 16 straight victories, but fall to a shocking upset ($81.20) by the unheralded Dare And Go and jockey Alex Solis. Another exciting running saw Hall of Fame Jockey Julie Krone become the first female rider to win a million-dollar race when she guided Sid and Jenny Craig's Candy Ride to victory in track record time of 1:59:11.
Del Mar switched its main racing surface from dirt to safer synthetic footing Polytrack in 2007 and the Pacific Classic winner that year was long-shot Student Council, who was handled by veteran Richard Migliore. Starting in 2008, the Pacific Classic is a part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge, where the winner of the race will automatically earn a spot in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Oak Tree.
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