Out of towners figure in Pacific Classic

GamingToday.com is an independent sports news and information service. GamingToday.com has partnerships with some of the top legal and licensed sportsbook companies in the US. When you claim a bonus offer or promotion through a link on this site, Gaming Today may receive referral compensation from the sportsbook company. Although the relationships we have with sportsbook companies may influence the order in which we place companies on the site, all reviews, recommendations, and opinions are wholly our own. They are the recommendations from our authors and contributors who are avid sports fans themselves.

For more information, please read How We Rank Sportsbooks, Privacy Policy, or Contact Us with any concerns you may have.

Gaming Today is licensed and regulated to operate in AZ, CO, CT, IN, KS, LA, MI, NJ, NY, PA, TN, and VA.

Saturday’s Grade I $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar will not be a rerun of the major Grade I races for older horses in California held so far this year.

McKinzie, who is trained by Bob Baffert and is among the top older horses in the nation, shipped to Saratoga to win the Whitney Stakes on August 3 and will not run. Trainer John Sadler’s Gift Box, who won the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap in April, had a minor setback and will not run.

Check Out More Horse Racing Here

His stablemate Catalina Cruiser, who won the Grade II San Diego Handicap at Del Mar on July 20, will be pointed to shorter races with either the Grade II $200,000 Pat O’Brien at Del Mar or the Grade I $600,000 Forego at Saratoga — both to be run at seven furlongs on August 24 — his likely next stop.

Given the lack of depth of older horses based on the west coast, this year’s Pacific Classic could prove to be the ultimate “Ship and Win” payoff. 

East coast-based trainers Dallas Stewart, Steve Asmussen, Jorge Navarro, and Rudolph Brisset have taken notice and will attempt to take the winner’s share of the million-dollar purse back home with them.

Stewart trains Seeking the Soul, who won the Grade II Stephen Foster at his home base of Churchill Downs on June 15 and has been pointing to the Pacific Classic ever since.

Asmussen thinks the 10-furlong distance of the Pacific Classic is the key for his trainee Tenfold, who was well beaten in the Stephen Foster but did win the Grade III Pimlico Special at the Pacific Classic distance.

Navarro was able to get War Story to rebound from a series of modest efforts to win the Grade III Monmouth Cup at his home base of Monmouth Park July 20. Owner Ron Paolucci likes to dance the big dances, so War Story will make the cross-country trip to Del Mar.

Brisset is not a well-known name in California, but he has done a terrific job of developing Quip into a top four-year-old. Quip comes off a game victory in the Grade II Oaklawn Park Handicap over a sloppy track and most recently was beaten just a neck by Seeking the Soul in the Stephen Foster.

The best of the local contingent may be Campaign, who won the Cougar II Handicap at Del Mar for Sadler going 12 furlongs in July. The problem? The Pacific Classic could be too short for his very best. Sadler may also start Higher Power even though his best races to date in California have been on turf.

For the Top will represent Baffert in the Pacific Classic but has a lot to prove at the Grade I level in the U.S. after being a Group I winner in his native Argentina.

Pavel (trained by Del Mar leading trainer Doug O’Neill), Draft Pick (Peter Eurton), and Mongolian Groom (Enebish Ganbat) are all probable for the Classic, too.

In a race that came up a bit light on pace, Quip figures to be in contention from the outset and can continue his improving pattern. He is the shipper of choice. A Pacific Classic victory earns a fees-paid berth into the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Strong undercard

For the first time for a non-Breeders’ Cup card, Del Mar will conduct five Graded Stakes on a single card on Saturday. In addition to the Pacific Classic, here are the supporting Graded Stakes races and the likely major players in each.

Grade II $250,000 Del Mar Handicap for older horses going 1-3/8 miles on the turf: This race is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Turf. Marckie’s Water loves these marathon races. Itsinthepost gets back on the grass after a good effort behind Pacific Classic probable Campaign in the Cougar II on dirt. United is improving for trainer Richard Mandella. The Great Day was scratched from the Arlington Million last weekend for this spot.

Grade III $100,000 Green Flash Handicap for older horses sprinting five furlongs on turf: Stormy Liberal won the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint over this course and distance. The razor-sharp Eddie Haskell looks like the primary rival.

Check Out Our Casino News Here

Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Oaks for three-year-old fillies going 1-1/8 miles on turf: Turf races start with trainer Chad Brown. He ships in Cambier Parc and Dogtag and those fillies may be a cut above the local contingent that includes Grade II San Clemente Stakes 1-2-3 finishers Mucho Unusual, Apache Princess, and Over Emphasize.

Grade III $100,000 Torrey Pines Stakes for three-year-old fillies going one mile on dirt: Sneaking Out was scratched out of a Cal-bred Stakes on turf last week for this spot. Hollywood Hills beat that one by a nose in the Fleet Treat Stakes trying dirt for the first time. 

Hollendorfer wins

Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer needed a San Diego Superior Court injunction on July 26 to allow him to stable and run horses at Del Mar. He got his first winner at the summer meet when Danuska’s My Girl wired the field in Sunday’s Grade III $100,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap.

Del Mar’s chief executive officer Joe Harper shook hands with Hollendorfer exiting the winner’s circle, but when Daily Racing Form asked him if things were getting better, Hollendorfer had a simple answer — “No.”

Hollendorfer has applied for stalls at the upcoming Santa Anita autumn meet and for the Golden Gate meet that starts on Thursday. If his stall applications are not accepted he may be forced to go to court once again.

Lindo Report Play for Gaming Today: Del Mar Thursday Race 6 — Sedamar (No. 4). This filly loves the Del Mar turf, and ran a winning race when beaten a neck earlier in the meet by a well meant Opus Won. The 3-1 morning line is very attractive. 

WHAT’S IN A GT VIP ACCOUNT? Amazing content, analysis, stats, and a digital paper for only 21 cents a day.

About the Author

Jon Lindo

Jon Lindo is a syndicated handicapper, long-time thoroughbred owner, and publisher of the Lindo Report. Jon is also a regular contributor to Race Day Las Vegas Radio show on KSHP 1400 in Las Vegas and Thoroughbred Los Angeles Radio show, heard in Las Vegas at thoroughbredla.com.

Get connected with us on Social Media