In the Travers Stakes yesterday at Saratoga, a definitive leader in the 3 yr old division seems to have emerged when Stay Thirsty dominated the field. Today another division contender can also stake their claim as the leader. An automatic qualifier into the Breeders’ Cup Classic is on the line and the chance to become the West Coast leader is there for the taking at Del Mar in the G1 Pacific Classic. The Morning Line favorites in this 11 horse field center around two horses that will be ready to go at it again.
Game on Dude and Twirling Candy will start from adjoining stalls in the 1 1/4-mile. Last time out in the Hollywood Gold Cup the two finished so close, running 2nd and 3rd, but didn’t have enough to get by the winner First Dude, who has now since retired. His absence means that a front-runner from the West Coast in the Classic Division is up for grabs and is likely to be secured by our winner today.
Twirling Candy will be looking to get the upper hand with Game on Dude. In addition to racing 3rd behind him in Hollywood Gold Cup he finished 5th behind him in the Santa Anita Handicap back in March. In that race Game on Dude prevailed, his first ever Grade 1 Stakes victory. Both of these 4 yr old colts are having successful seasons and a win today will rightfully earn them the chance to represent the West as the top contender in the Breeders’ Cup Classic this fall.
On the outside looking in is Setsuko. The colt has finished behind these two in three different races this year. But not too far behind. Every athlete gets their shot at redemption but only some are able to take advantage of the opportunity. Today may prove to be the race he was looking for. However, in this competitive field of 11, there is sure to be plenty of action down the stretch which could lead to a possible surprise upset.
Grade 1 $1 Million Pacific Classic | 3 yr olds & up | 1 1/4 Mile | Synthetic Post Position Horse Jockey Odds
- Don Cavallo Luis Contreras 8-1
- Jeranimo Martin Pedroza 12-1
- Stately Victory Mike Smith 20-1
- Tres Borrachos Rafael Bejarano 6-1
- Acclamation Patrick Valenzuela 5-1
- Setsuko Victor Espinoza 8-1
- Great Warrior Omar Berrio 50-1
Bourbon Bay Joe TalamoScratched
- Game On Dude Chantal Sutherland 3-1
- Twirling Candy Joel Rosario 5-2
- Quindici Man Martin Garcia 20-1
Running at Del Mar today as well is the Del Mar Handicap, also a 2011 Breeders’ Cup Challenge race. The winner of today’s Del Mar will automatically qualify for the Breeders’ Cup Turf in November at Churchill Downs. This Grade 1 is the 3rd race in today’s 11 race card and precedes another Grade 1 Stakes, the Pat O’Brien Stakes (Race 5). The Pacific Classic is the 9th race on the card and is scheduled to post at 5pm, pdt.
In what is considered to be Del Mar’s richest racing day of the season with purses exceeding $1.4 million in Grade 1 Stakes alone, it’s sure to be a fabulous day of racing in Southern California. With the Breeders’ Cup coming up on being less than 2 months away, today’s races could be a pivotal step towards capturing triumph in November. Good luck to all contenders and their connections.
Written by: Little Brink