Days before the 2003 Grade 1 Pacific Classic, Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally watched from the balcony of Barn 1 overlooking the track as Candy Ride went a mile in just over 1:36 in his final major workout before winning the race.
Friday morning, McAnally watched from the same spot as Suggestive Boy went a mile in 1:37 3/5 under Joe Talamo, who will be up a week from Sunday in the $1 million race.
"It was a different track back then for Candy Ride, much faster," McAnally said. "But the way he (Suggestive Boy) did it, without really being pressed on at all, everybody was pleased. The owner, his stable manager, everybody."
McAnally said that from the balcony perch his top assistant, Dan Landers, had clocked Suggestive Boy on the trip around the oval from the seven-furlong pole in just under 1:37.
In other Pacific Classic developments, trainer Julio Canani said Akkadian, an allowance race winner at Del Mar on July 21, is "going to run" and will be ridden by Martin Garcia.
Trainer Neil Drysdale is giving serious consideration, but has not definitely committed, to running four-year-old Chilean champion filly Amani in the Classic. Garrett Gomez was aboard Amani, a winner of nine of 10 starts in Chile, in a fast-closing third-place finish in the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch on August 4 in her U.S. debut.
Of trainer Bob Baffert's four nominees, three -- Game on Dude, Richard's Kid and Jaycito -- are solid, with the fourth, Coil, a back-up pending developments leading up to the race. Chantal Sutherland will ride Game on Dude, Rafael Bejarano has the call on Richard's Kid, but a rider has yet to be determined for Jaycito.
Eliseo Flores, stable manager for trainer Myung Kwon Cho, said that Riveting Reason, fourth in an allowance last Sunday, would be ridden back by David Flores in the Pacific Classic.
The names of 18 horses were placed in nomination for the Pacific Classic as the deadline to sign up for the signature event of the meeting passed on Thursday.
Several of them were also nominated to one or more of the three other graded stakes on the weekend card of August 25-26 -- the Grade 2, $200,000 Del Mar Handicap on August 25 and the Grade 2, $200,000 Del Mar Mile and Grade 2, $250,000 Pat O'Brien on August 26. Pacific Classic post positions will be determined at a party Wednesday evening.
In addition to the above mentioned candidates, the other Pacific Classic nominees are Acafella, Dullahan, Global Power, John Scott, Kettle Corn, Norvsky, Quail Hill, Rail Trip, Where's Sterling and Worth Repeating.
Trainer Doug O'Neill acquired Pacific Classic nominee Quail Hill out of a $25,000 claiming event with Del Mar in mind for his Great Friends Stable clients.
Great Friends, an owning partnership group built around former radio and current UT San Diego TV personalities Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith, has for the past few years put together a stable in the months leading up to the Del Mar meeting and largely for dispersal thereafter.
Quail Hill, a son of Candy Ride, has finished seventh and fifth in claiming events on turf at the meeting.
"We just thought we'd take a look," O'Neill said of the nomination. "It's such a unique business model, Great Friends. It's a seven-week (collaboration). They live in this area, their main goal is to take care of horses and, when their horses are doing good, take chances and have fun.
"Quail Hill is doing great and longshots win every day. We have him nominated for the Del Mar Handicap and the Pacific Classic. We heard Acclamation was out, which definitely makes a big void in the Classic, so...
"He'll more than likely go in the Del Mar Handicap or a claiming race before the end of the meeting, but we'll keep an eye out and see what happens with the Classic."