Bongo Racing Stable's Sun Boat, a former claiming horse and 6-1 winner of the July 21 San Diego Handicap (gr. II), was euthanized Sept. 18 due to a severe case of laminitis.
Defending champion Lava Man drew the rail as the 5-2 morning line favorite for the $1-million Pacific Classic Sunday.
Lava Man and A.P. Xcellent, who staged a dramatic Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) stretch duel won by the California star by a nose on June 30, are among 13 horses entered in the $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) at Del Mar Aug. 19.
The leaders were seven abreast mid-stretch of the $300,000 San Diego Handicap (gr. II), but it was the former claiming horse Sun Boat who finished best of all, winning in style by one length on the Polytrack Saturday at Del Mar.
Californian (gr. II) winner Buzzards Bay heads a quality field of eight for Saturday's $300,000 San Diego Handicap (gr. II), a prime prep for Del Mar's signature event, the Pacific Classic (gr. I) on Aug. 19.
Favorite Buzzards Bay, under strong urging from jockey Jose Valdivia Jr., gamely held off the late charging 25-1 shot Sun Boat to win the $250,000 Californian (gr. II) by a nose on the Cushion Track Saturday at Hollywood Park.
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