Twirling Candy , two-for-two on the Del Mar turf, will seek his first victory on the Southern California racetrack’s synthetic surface when he faces nine others in the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic (gr. I) Aug. 28.
Twirling Candy, owned by Jenny Craig, Marty Wygod, and William S. Farish, was made the 5-2 morning-line favorite for the 1 1/4-mile Polytrack stakes. He drew post 10 and will be ridden by Joel Rosario for trainer John Sadler.
Twirling Candy, a 4-year-old Candy Ride colt, has seven wins in 10 starts; three have come on the synthetic surface at Hollywood Park. In his last start, the July 9 Hollywood Gold Cup at 1 1/4 miles, he was in contention throughout but just failed to last against First Dude and Game On Dude, who ran one-two for trainer Bob Baffert.
Since that race Twirling Candy has worked steadily and strongly on the Del Mar Polytrack, beginning with a four-furlong work July 24 and ending with a bullet one mile work Aug. 21.
“We wanted to get an outside post so he can pick wherever he wants to be and not get in trouble," Sadler said of the post draw. "You have a long run to the first turn and you can get a good position from the outside post.”
Twirling Candy never has won at 1 1/4 miles, but Game On Dude has, having won the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) earlier this year. Owned by Diamond Pride, the Lanni Family Trust, and Mercedes Stable, Game On Dude also has worked well at Del Mar—the last time at one mile—in preparation for the Pacific Classic.
Chantal Sutherland has the call on Game On Dude, who drew just inside of Twirling Candy and is the 3-1 second choice in the morning line.
Game On Dude, a 4-year-old Awesome Again gelding, has done most of his running on dirt but clearly had no trouble with the synthetic surface in the Hollywood Gold Cup. He has won four of 11 starts.
Acclamation, who has won two grade I turf stakes and a grade II turf stakes in California consecutively, seeks his first victory on a synthetic surface. Acclamation, a proven front-runner owned by Peter and Mary Hilvers and E.W. and Judy Johnston, and trained by Donald Warren, has won a few times at 1 1/2 miles.
Acclamation, a 5-year-old Unusual Heat horse to be ridden by Pat Valenzuela from post 5, is 5-1 on the morning line.
Bourbon Bay was entered in the Pacific Classic, but on Aug. 25 also was entered in the Del Mar Handicap (gr. IIT) on Pacific Classic day. Thus, Bourbon Bay has been scratched from the Classic, which was drawn the previous day.
Post time for the Pacific Classic is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. EDT. The race will be broadcast live on TVG, which plans expanded coverage geared around the centerpiece of the Del Mar meet; in addition FSNWest, MSG+, and Altitude will show the race live.
Here’s the field:
PP, Horse, Jockey, Trainer, Morning Line
1. Don Cavallo, Luis Contreras, Roger Attfield, 8-1
2. Jeranimo, Martin Pedroza, Mike Pender, 12-1
3. Stately Victory, Mike Smith, Michael Maker, 20-1
4. Tres Borrachos, Rafael Bejarano, Marty Jones, 6-1
5. Acclamation, Patrick Valenzuela, Don Warren, 5-1
6. Setsuko, Victor Espinosa, Richard Mandella, 8-1
7. Great Warrior, Omar Berrio, A.C. Avila, 50-1
8. Bourbon Bay, Joe Talamo, Neil Drysdale, 20-1 (Scratched)
9. Game On Dude, Chantal Sutherland, Bob Baffert, 3-1
10. Twirling Candy, Joel Rosario, John Sadler, 5-2
11. Quindici Man, Martin Garcia, Craig Lewis, 20-1