Pacific Classic hopefuls put in final major moves over the weekend
Just as the sophomores were readying for the Travers S. (G1) at Saratoga on Saturday, horses were also gearing up for the $1 million Pacific Classic S. (G1) at Del Mar.
A number of horses put in final major moves for next Saturday’s 1 1/4-mile contest on both Friday and Saturday, East Coast and West.
At Belmont Park, RED VINE recorded the fastest of six moves when working five furlongs in 1:00.80 Friday. Trainer Christophe Clement told the Del Mar barn notes team by phone from Saratoga that he was pleased with the exercise and that Red Vine would ship to Del Mar on Tuesday.
“We have been thinking about this (Pacific Classic) for basically two months,” Clement said. “The owners (Jon and Sarah Kelly) live near Del Mar and it is an important race for them. The horse has shown he can be competitive in graded stakes, so it’s time to go.”
Red Vine captured his stakes debut in the Majestic Light S. at Monmouth Park on May 23 and was runner-up in the Salvator Mile (G3) on July 5 last out.
Red Vine photo courtesy of Ryan Denver/Equi-Photo
Recent Suburban H. (G2) hero EFFINEX logged five-eighths in 1:02.40 at Saratoga on Friday, though trainer James Jerkens hasn’t made a definite commitment to the Pacific Classic.
Effinex (inside) photo courtesy of NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography
COACH INGE is also expected to work on Sunday at Saratoga but, like Effinex, he has yet to be confirmed for the race by trainer Todd Pletcher.
Three Pacific Classic nominees – Grade 2 scorer IMPERATIVE, stakes winner CLASS LEADER and multiple Grade 3-placed BAILOUTBOBBY – worked Saturday morning at Del Mar.
Imperative went seven furlongs in 1:26.20, Class Leader clocked the same distance in 1:26.40 and Bailoutbobby posted a half-mile in :50.
Class Leader worked in company with maiden Carnival Lights, spotting his stablemate seven or eight lengths, making the ground up, and pulling away, noted head clocker John Malone. Carnival Lights was timed in 1:26.80
Trainer John Sadler said the work “went well” and a decision regarding the Pacific Classic and a rider would be made after discussions with owner Lane’s End Racing.
Sadler also has Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) winner HARD ACES for the Pacific Classic. The five-year-old bay will go through a final tune-up at Del Mar on Sunday at 6:30 a.m. (PST).
Trainer Doug O’Neill said that the work by Bailoutbobby, “wasn’t impressive time-wise but it was visually impressive and he galloped out strong.
“Tentatively we’re pointing him there (Pacific Classic),” O’Neill said. “It’s not going to be easy, and we have to be sure he’s ready. But he ran a really good race in the Cougar II (H. [G3]) and he’s thriving down here so we may give it a shot. We’ll get with the owners and decide.”
Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella said preparations are commencing smoothly for dual champion BEHOLDER and multiple Grade 2 victor CATCH A FLIGHT. Beholder, who would be facing males for the first time in the Pacific Classic, may work Monday while Catch a Flight is possible for a work on Tuesday or Wednesday.
For both, the exercise would be an easy half-mile, Mandella said.
Del Mar will provide a special training time for all Pacific Classic horses, as well as Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, Sunday morning from 7:45 to 7:55 a.m. Those horses will have the racetrack to themselves to work or gallop following the mid-morning break. At 7:55, the track will be fully open to all horses.
Beholder photo courtesy of Benoit Photos