Haskell Invitational (gr. I) winner War Emblem, who also has victories in the Kentucky Derby ( gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) this year, was back in his stall at Del Mar Wednesday morning, and already making it known he is a candidate for the $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) on August 25. Showing the assertiveness indicative of a colt that's full of himself, War Emblem was making it difficult for assistant trainer Jim Barnes and Richard Mulhall, racing manager for The Thoroughbred Corp., to get near his territory. And the plot for the Pacific Classic thickens with the addition of Came Home to the Pacific Classic list. "It's positive," said trainer Juan "Paco" Gonzalez this morning. Gonzalez said the Gone West colt, who finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby and came back to win the Swaps Stakes (gr. I) at Hollywood Park, turned in a sharp 5-furlong work in 58 4/5 Friday at Hollywood Park. Being 3-year-olds under weight-for-age restrictions, both War Emblem and Came Home will have to shoulder only 117 pounds against the 124 required for older horses. Mulhall said War Emblem returned to Southern California about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and arrived at Del Mar 2 1/2 hours later to be bedded down for the night. Reflecting on the colt's attitude this morning, Mulhall said, "He loves it here. He thinks he's in heaven. If he gets too wild, we just threaten to take him to New York." Hollywood Gold Cup winner Sky Jack remains on track for a possible run in the Classic, said Leandro Mora, assistant to trainer Doug O'Neill, this morning. "He's 100 percent good right now," Mora said, adding that the plan to work the horse on Sunday is still on the schedule. Mora said that a decision whether to go forward will be made after the work. Among the other prospects for the race are Gold Cup runner-up Momentum, San Diego Handicap winner and runner-up Grey Memo and Euchre, Kela, Milwaukee Brew and Bonus Pack who fired a 6-furlong bullet work in 1:11.80 this morning.
Two more joined the group this morning when trainer Craig Lewis said Arbiter, winner of Del Mar's Kobuk King Stakes July 25 at 1 3/8 miles on the turf, has become a viable prospect. "We're 90 percent to go in the Classic with Arbiter," Lewis said. "And we're 50-50 with Hot Market." Hot Market finished second to Kela in a one-mile allowance race August 27. Lewis is leaving himself some leeway with both horses, saying that Arbiter could run in the Del Mar Handicap September 1, and Hot Market could run in the Pat O'Brien August 18 or the Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap on September 2.