From the Countdown to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships Newsletter
The field for Del Mar’s Aug. 26 $1 million TVG Pacific Classic (gr. I), the fourth of six “Win and You’re In” races for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I), is beginning to come together and it looks like the 1 1/4-mile race will be filled with plenty of star power.
As with most Southern California stakes, trainer Bob Baffert holds an envious hand and could start as many as three runners, including Game On Dude, Richard's Kid and Jaycito.
The path to the winner’s circle will certainly go through Bernie Schiappa, the Lanni Family Trust, Diamond Pride and Mercedes Stable’s Game On Dude, who won Betfair Hollywood Park’s “Win and You’re In” Hollywood Gold Cup July 7 to guarantee a berth into the November 3 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita. The 5-year-old son of 1998 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Awesome Again has won 8-of-18 career starts, including 3-of-4 this year and was second in last year’s Classic at Churchill Downs.
Zabeel Racing International’s Richard’s Kid gives Baffert an imposing 1-2 punch, having won the Pacific Classic in 2009 and 2010. The 8-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid won the Cougar II (gr. III) at Del Mar July 27, while Zayat Stable’s Jaycito won a local optional claimer July 22.
Peter and Mary Hilvers and Bud and Judy Johnston’s Acclamation will look to defend his Pacific Classic title for trainer Don Warren. The 6-year-old son of Unusual Heat is 2-for-2 this year, with wins in Hollywood’s Whittingham (gr. I) and Del Mar’s Eddie Read (gr. I), and has won seven straight graded stakes overall and is 11-for-30 lifetime.
Donegal Racing’s Dullahan could be the lone 3-year-old in the field and will look to find the form that saw him win Keeneland’s Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) in April and run third in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) at Churchill in May for trainer Dale Romans. The son of Even The Score was off the board in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and Haskell Invitational (gr. I) at Monmouth Park in his last start July 29 but also won Keeneland’s Breeders’ Futurity (gr. I) in 2011.
Jay Em Ess Stable’s Rail Trip guaranteed a berth into the Nov. 3 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile with his win in Del Mar’s San Diego Handicap (gr. II) July 28 but could look to stretch out in the Pacific Classic for trainer Ron Ellis. The 7-year-old son of Jump Start won the Hollywood Gold Cup in 2009 and has shown an affinity for synthetic surfaces.