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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.
With two weeks to go before the 28th running of the Pacific Classic, the racing office has provided a list of eight possible runners for the 1 ¼-mile signature event of the summer meeting.
Nominations will be taken through next Thursday, August 9, and beyond that supplemental entries, at a fee of $10,000, will be accepted until the close of entries on Tuesday, August 14. So there's time for plenty of additions or subtractions. But here's the preliminary names in alphabetical order.
Accelerate - Last year's third-place finisher in the Classic, the winner of both the Santa Anita Handicap and Gold Cup at Santa Anita this year, is scheduled for his penultimate work for the Classic on Sunday morning at 6:30 a.m.
Assistant trainer Juan Leyva will be aboard, as he was a week earlier when Accelerate went six furlongs in 1:14.80.
"Both of them are important works," Sadler said Saturday. "We'll see what happens."
Beach View - The Grade III, 1 ½-mile Cougar II Handicap, which Beach View won on July 25 for trainer Leonard Powell, has been successfully used as prep for the Classic before, most notably by Bob Baffert with Richard's Kid in 2009.
After the Cougar II, Powell said the Pacific Classic would be give consideration. But so will the Del Mar Handicap, on the Pacific Classic undercard, for the versatile dirt or turf runner.
Catalina Cruiser - Friday morning the San Diego Handicap winner worked four furlongs in 48 flat under Leyva for Sadler, the first significant exercise for the undefeated (3-for-3) 4-year-old since his impressive, 6 ¾-length romp in the major Pacific Classic prep.
Sadler has downplayed the possibility of running both Accelerate and Catalina Cruiser, with Accelerate holding preference, but said Saturday: "You have to list them both," Sadler said. "It's unlikely we would run two, but we'll nominate both for sure."
Dr. Dorr and Mubtaahij - Baffert's possibles worked Tuesday morning with both Dr. Dorr, second in the San Diego, and Mubtaahij, who missed the San Diego after running a temperature, clocked in 49 flat for four furlongs. Defending TVG Pacific Classic champion Collected recently shipped in to Baffert's barn from Kentucky, but has not worked at Del Mar.
"Two weeks out and I don't have a clue," Baffert said Saturday when asked about his Classic candidates.
Pavel - Friday morning, the winner of the Stephen Foster Handicap in June at Churchill Downs, went five furlongs in 1:01.60 under jockey Mario Gutierrez for trainer Doug O'Neill.
"Everybody was happy with it," said O'Neill assistant Leandro Mora. It was the third work at Del Mar for the 5-year-old son of Lookin At Lucky. "He'll probably have one more light work, a week out from the Pacific Classic," Mora said.
Prime Attraction - The Jim Cassidy-trained 5-year-old son of Unbridled's Song ran a good second to Accelerate in the San Pasqual at Santa Anita in his 2018 debut and is 2-for-2 on the Del Mar main track. The versatile performer was third in the Grade II Eddie Read on Turf on July 25 and will have options other than the Classic.
Sharp Samurai - The top three-year-old of the 2017 meeting has won six of his last nine starts, all on turf, and was beaten only a neck by Catapult in the Eddie Read. The Classic would be a bold move, but the purse and prestige make it worth considering for trainer Mark Glatt and the owning partnership.
The Grade I mile and one-quarter for 3-year-olds and up will be the centerpiece of the seaside track's 79th summer season, which runs from July 18 to September 3. It will air from 5 to 6 p.m. (Pacific).
The Pacific Classic is the west's only million dollar race for older horses. It is again part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series and will guarantee its winner a free spot in the starting gate for the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Del Mar on Saturday, November 4.
The race has been won by top Thoroughbreds like Best Pal, Free House, General Challenge, Came Home, Candy Ride, Pleasantly Perfect, Lava Man, Game On Dude and Beholder.
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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