10 Likely for Pacific Classic After Nominations

(from Del Mar report)
Hollywood Gold Cup winner Lava Man heads a list of 14 nominations to Del Mar's $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) on Aug. 21. Of those, a field of 10 seems likely for the 1 1/4-mile test.

Besides Lava Man, the second, third, and fourth-place finishers in the Gold Cup – Borrego, Congrats, and Musique Toujours, in order – are expected to run in the Pacific Classic. Choctaw Nation and Ace Blue, winner and runner-up in Del Mar's San Diego Handicap (gr. II), have signed on, as has Surf Cat, winner of Hollywood Park's Swaps Stakes (gr II).

Perfect Drift, who finished second in the Pacific Classic last year and is the winner of the recent Washington Park Handicap (gr. II) at Arlington Park, is expected. Also likely are Super Frolic, a newcomer to the barn of Vladimir Cerin, and Island Fashion, the mare who finished second to Amorama in Del Mar's John C. Mabee Handicap (gr. I) July 23.

Preachinatthebar, considered a prospect since his third-place finish in the San Diego, was not nominated and will run instead in a mile allowance race Saturday.

The other four nominees are not expected. Suave, who had been a prospect, will race instead in the Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) the same day. Trainer Art Sherman said Desert Boom would run instead in the Longacres Mile (gr. III) at Emerald Downs the same day. Oceanus will not run, trainer A.C. Avila said.

Trainer Nick Hines said Polish Times had an outside chance to run, but added, "We could shock the world, shock the world." Polish Times finished ninth of 10 for a claiming tag of $62,500 on Wednesday.

Island Fashion, who has tackled males in the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) twice and finished second to winner Southern Image in 2004, gets a five-pound weight break from the older males. The 3-year-old Surf Cat gets seven pounds off. Island Fashion will carry 119 pounds, Surf Cat 117, and the rest 124.

The post-position draw will be held Aug. 17 at the Powerhouse in Del Mar.