Swaps Stakes winner Surf Cat will bypass the Haskell Invitational.

Swaps Stakes winner Surf Cat will bypass the Haskell Invitational.

Associated Press

Pacific Classic, Not Haskell, for Surf Cat; Perfect Drift Also Going West

Edited Del Mar release
Surf Cat and Bruce Headley will pass on the $1-million Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) at Monmouth Park Sunday to stay home and run in the $1-million Pacific Classic (gr. I) on Sunday, Aug. 21.

Headley made the decision Sunday after he found that travel plans were going to be a problem. Original plans called for the 3-year-old colt to ship to Monmouth on Thursday, but Headley said, "We just couldn't work out the traveling arrangements."

As for running in the Pacific Classic, Headley said Monday morning at his Del Mar barn, "We're very happy to stay home. We love running in the Pacific Classic. Del Mar's one of our homes."

The trainer said he informed Monmouth Park officials and told them, "We appreciated the invitation and all the offers, but the travel just didn't work out."

Surf Cat will work seven furlongs Wednesday, Headley said. "This will be a serious work," he said, adding that all things are on target for the Pacific Classic.

With the solid addition of Surf Cat, the possible Pacific Classic field could build up to as many as eight or 10. Perfect Drift joined the field on Sunday following a record-setting performance Saturday in the historic Washington Park Handicap (gr. II) at Arlington Park, adding his name to those of Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) winner Lava Man and two-time San Diego Handicap (gr. II) champion Choctaw Nation as top choices for the race.

Add to that number Borrego, Congrats and Musique Toujours, the second-, third- and fourth-place finishers in the Gold Cup, and Ace Blue and Preachinatthebar, the runner-up and third finisher in the San Diego.