Led by defending champion Skimming, Dubai World Cup winner Captain Steve and Hollywood Gold Cup top finisher Futural, the field of seven drawn for Sunday's grade II, $250,000 San Diego Handicap could prove to be one of the best in the 60 runnings of the historic race.The seven older horses were entered Friday morning for the prime prep for Del Mar's signature event, the $1-million Pacific Classic, which will be held three weeks hence on Sunday, August 19. The San Diego field will go 1 1/16 miles on Del Mar's main track. As the second graded stakes event on the day's nine-race bill, it will be run as the eighth race.Captain Steve, owned by Mike Pegram and trained by Bob Baffert, will carry high weight of 122, including Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens, and will break from post position 4.
Next to him in No. 3 will be Futural, who crossed the line first in the Hollywood Gold Cup but was disqualified for interference and placed third. He'll carry 120 pounds, including regular rider Chris McCarron, another Hall of Fame jockey.Farther out, in the 6 post, will be defending champion Juddmonte Farms' Skimming, trained by Hall of Famer Robert Frankel and ridden by Garrett Gomez. The 5-year-old son of Nureyev has been assigned 120 pounds. Skimming is not only the defending champ in the San Diego, but also the Pacific Classic. On the far outside, in post 7, will be the intriguing Budroyale, who has been working sharply and comes to the race off a 14-month layoff. The runner-up in the 1999 Breeders' Cup Classic and older full brother to Horse of the Year Tiznow will be ridden by Isaias Enriquez under 118 pounds for trainer Ted H. West. Joining the top four will be Freedom Crest, at 116, who will break from the rail with Alex Solis in the irons; Dig For It, at 113, with Tyler Baze from post 2; and Spicy Stuff, at 112, with Victor Espinoza coming out of post position 5.