Shapiro: My fair odds morning line for the Pacific Classic
by SCOTT SHAPIRO
The pinnacle of the Del Mar summer meeting is this coming Saturday when eight runners go to post in the $1 million Pacific Classic (G1).
The field is led by 2016 Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) and 2017 Dubai World Cup (G1) winner Arrogate. The son of Unbridled's Song looks to rebound from an off-the-board effort last month in the San Diego H. (G2).
Linemaker Russ Hudak made Arrogate the even-money favorite followed by stable mate Collected at 5-2 and the winner of the San Diego, Accelerate, at 3-1.
While Arrogate's best efforts likely beat this field handily, his trouble over the track and questions on whether he is the same horse we saw before the voyage overseas make it hard for me to get excited about wagering on him at a short price.
Here is my fair odds line for the 1 1/4-mile Pacific Classic:
#1 Royal Albert Hall (99-1)
This British-bred son of Royal Applause is just for 2-for-27 in his career and has just one win over the dirt. He lacks early speed and is badly outclassed. If he wins I would consider it one of the biggest upsets in racing history.
#2 Collected (5-2)
The "other" Bob Baffert runner has not raced since June at Santa Anita when he crushed the field in the Precisionist (G3). He is a perfect 3-for-3 this year and has looked dominant in all of those starts. He reportedly has been training as well as anyone on the grounds, so he should have no problem over a surface he has not raced over before. I will strongly consider a wager on Collected.
#3 Accelerate (7-2)
The son of Lookin at Lucky loves the Del Mar surface. His affinity for the racetrack was on display in a stellar effort in the San Diego when he won by 8 1/2 lengths. The addition of blinkers appears to have worked well for a horse that struggled to win races during the first half of 2017. There are questions about his ability to get the mile and a quarter, but if he does he has a big chance to spring the upset.
#4 Sorry Erik (50-1)
The three-year-old colt goes turf-to-dirt after a head victory in a mile allowance event over the grass on July 22. He appears to be a runner on the improve for a barn I respect a lot, but he is in way over his head on Saturday.
#5 Hard Aces (40-1)
The stablemate to Accelerate has just two wins in 16 starts dating back to the beginning of 2016 and they both came in narrow victories against Grade 3 company at a mile and a half. If you want to try to sneak him into the third spot in the trifecta I could see that, but I would be extremely surprised if he did more than "pick up the pieces."
#6 Donworth (60-1)
This Reddam Racing runner has not won in two years and is eligible for a non-winners of three event. I also question his ability to get 10 furlongs. No chance.
#7 Curlin Road (99-1)
He pulled the upset in the Cougar II (G3) when he got the best of Hard Aces in the lane. However, he lacks the class or ability to compete with Arrogate, Accelerate and Collected. Almost impossible.
#8 Arrogate (7-5)
After capturing four consecutive Grade 1 races dating back to the 2016 Travers last August, the Juddmonte Farms' colt put in a "clunker" in the aforementioned San Diego last month. There is little doubt that his best races win the Pacific Classic, but he struggled to get over the racetrack and there are questions whether he is the same horse that we saw at Dubai in March. He is the most likely winner, but there are too many questions for me to consider him at a short price. I set his fair line at 7-5 knowing fully well he will be much lower than that at post time.
Stay tuned for more coverage of the Pacific Classic card later this week.
Good luck at the windows!
You can find my full card Daily Selections each and everyday for the Southern California circuit here.