Chilean Filly Amani to Run in Pacific Classic

Chilean filly Amani will take on males in the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic (gr. I) at Del Mar, trainer Neil Drysdale confirmed Aug. 18.

The bay filly worked seven furlongs in 1:26 4/5 earlier in the morning on the Cushion Track at Betfair Hollywood Park. Amani was a fast-closing third in her United States debut in Del Mar's Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 4.

The drill, the fastest of three at the distance, convinced Drysdale of her readiness to attempt the Aug. 26 Pacific Classic, a 1 1/4-mile test over Polytrack.

"I was very pleased with her, she worked very well," the Hall of Fame trainer said by telephone. "I'm going to call the owner and let him know she's going to run in the race." Amani is owned by the Sumaya U.S. Stables of Oussama Aboughazali.

The Pacific Classic is a Breeders' Cup Challenge race, with the winner earning a berth in the 1 1/4-mile Classic (gr. I) Nov. 3 at Santa Anita Park.

Four-year-old Amani won 10 of 11 starts in her native Chile in a one-year span starting in December 2010, nine of those victories coming in stakes events. A daughter of Morning Raider, a son of champion Giant's Causeway  , and the Doneraille Court mare Just Fine, she usually trounced her competition. Her victories included a grade I event over 1 1/4 miles at Hippodromo by 25 lengths last November.

Trained in Chile by Marco Antonio Pavez Ochoa, Amani was sent to Drysdale following her win in the $200,000 St. Leger Cristal (Chi-I) at the Santiago track Dec. 17.

She had not raced in more than seven months before making her U.S. debut for Drysdale in the 1 1/16-mile Clement Hirsch. After bobbling at the start, Amani settled at the rear of the pack along the inside for six furlongs before angling out on the final turn and making a strong bid in the stretch. She finished 1 3/4 lengths behind the victorious Include Me Out while edging dual grade I winner Switch for third.

Garrett Gomez, who was aboard Amani for the Clement Hirsch, has the mount in the Classic.

Gomez's agent, Tony Matos, was enthused about the prospect.

"She's a very good filly, she's run against colts before, and I like my chances," Matos said. "Fillies can do well against colts this time of year and Garrett wins these kinds of races."

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