Pacific Classic hopefuls put in final moves at Del Mar

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TwinSpires Staff

August 13th, 2016

Edited Press Release

Five candidates for the $1 million Pacific Classic (G1) put in their final workouts at Del Mar on Saturday for the signature race of the meeting, now only a week away on August 20.

At 6:30 a.m. (PT), Grade 1 hero and last-out Cougar II Handicap (G3) winner Hard Aces, Gold Cup at Santa Anita Stakes (G1) runner-up Win the Space and Affirmed Handicap (G3) hero Dalmore took to the fast track.

Hard Aces went five furlongs in 1:00.40 under regular exercise rider Jose Contreras. Win the Space covered six furlongs in 1:12.20 with jockey Joe Talamo in the irons. Dalmore went an easy five furlongs in 1:02.80 under regular rider Kent Desormeaux.

At 9 a.m., multiple Grade 2-placed Midwest shipper War Story, and Grade 2 scorer and two-time Pacific Classic participant Imperative took their turns. War Story was timed in :58.60 for five furlongs under Drayden Van Dyke, co-fastest of 63 works at the distance. Imperative went six furlongs in 1:12 under Norberto Arroyo Jr., the fastest of 16 works at the distance.

Del Mar clockers had interim splits of :12.40, :24  and :36.40 with a last quarter in :24 for Hard Aces.

“He looked good, he’s not a big worker, it was just kind of a maintenance work,” trainer John Sadler said.

Hard Aces has also been entered in the $250,000 Del Mar Handicap (G2) at 1 3/8 miles on the turf, a co-feature of Pacific Classic Day. The six-year-old son of Hard Spun has one victory in two tries on turf in a career of 33 starts with $999,645 in earnings. The grass win was in late January 2014 at Fair Grounds.

The Pacific Classic is a “Win & You’re In” qualifier for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) on November 5 at Santa Anita. The Del Mar Handicap carries the same designation for the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) the same day.

“We won’t decide anything (between the Pacific Classic and Del Mar Handicap) until we have to,” Sadler said.

Close of entries for the Pacific Classic is Tuesday morning. The post position draw will be held that evening at the Brigantine Restaurant adjacent to the track.

Santiago Gonzalez, aboard Hard Aces for his last two starts, retains the mount.

Win the Space carved out interim fractions of :36.40, :49.20 and 1:01 en route to the six-furlong clocking and galloped out seven furlongs in 1:25.20.

“He looked good and worked very nice,” trainer George Papaprodromou said. “The hard work is done. Now we wait.”

Talamo, who was aboard Win the Space in a maiden-breaking victory at Del Mar on August 1 of last year, has the call for the Pacific Classic.

War Story, a four-year-old son of Northern Afleet who shipped in from Ohio on Tuesday, was timed in :23.80, :36 and :46.80 on the way to :58.60 and a six-furlong gallop in 1:11.

“He worked exactly like we wanted him to,” trainer Dean Greenman said. “He got over the track real well, so he got plenty of air in him and he’s happy and healthy.

“It (fast time) was just the way it came up. The track’s a little firmer today. We expected him to go in a minute and he went a little faster than that, but it’s fine, he really wasn’t pushed that hard or anything. He’s ready to go.”

Imperative had interim clockings of :24.20, :36.60 and 1:00 on the way to his 1:11.40 and galloped out seven furlongs in 1:25.40.

California Chrome and Dortmund, the 1-2 finishers in the San Diego Handicap (G2), are both scheduled to put in their final works for the Pacific Classic on Sunday, California Chrome at Los Alamitos and Dortmund at Del Mar.

Like all other racing fans, California Chrome trainer Art Sherman was pleased that doubts about defending race champion Beholder’s participation have been erased.

“Everybody’s running. It’s gonna be a good race. That’s what we need. Bring the people out,” Sherman said.

Trainer Richard Mandella has one more work in mind for Beholder, but said he has yet to decide whether to schedule it Monday or Wednesday.

Trainer Simon Callaghan has said that, while he is undecided pending discussions with the owner, “I’ll more than likely wait for the Brubaker” with Pacific Classic nominee Firing Line.

The Line of David colt ran second in last year’s Kentucky Derby (G1) following a dominating 14 1/4-length victory in the Sunland Derby (G3) and was fifth against allowance/optional claiming rivals in his return off a 14-month break.

The $75,000 Harry F. Brubaker Stakes at a mile on the main track is scheduled for Wednesday, August 24.