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Excused Del Mar Absences for Torre, Spencer

Baseball Hall of Famer Joe Torre, part owner of Game On Dude, and jockey Jamie Spencer, originally named to ride Toast of New York in the Pacific Classic, will be absent from attendance with good reason.

Torre, former New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers manager, will be at Yankee Stadium on Saturday for the retirement of the No. 6 jersey he wore during his tenure there. He will become the third manager and the 18th player or manager to have his number retired.

Spencer, a two-time jockey champion in Europe, announced his retirement Thursday.  Spencer, 34, will step down as a “retained” rider for Qatar Racing Ltd., to become advisor to Sheikh Farhad Al Thani.

When Toast of New York trainer Jamie Osborne learned, on Tuesday, that he would need a replacement rider he put the word out on Twitter and wound up with Victor Espinoza.


Shared Belief got the outside post in a field of 11 and was established as the 5-2 morning line favorite at Wednesday evening’s draw party for the $1 milllion TVG Pacific Classic at the Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa.

Defending champion Game On Dude drew the No. 5 post and was the 3-1 second choice on oddsmaker Russ Hudak’s line. Majestic Harbor, the winner of  the Gold Cup at Santa Anita, is the 9-2 third choice and will break from the No. 7 stall.

“I think we’d rather have the outside than inside,” Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said of Shared Belief’s draw.  Mike (Smith) is the one who has to do all the maneuvering and I don’t think he minds being out there.”

“He’s a very talented horse and I think a lot of him,” said Smith. “There’s speed inside and hopefully we can follow them on over (toward the rail) and find a good spot. Then it’s a matter of him being good enough.”

Game On Dude part-owner Bernie Schiappa, who represented the connections at the draw, said:  “We’re fine with No. 5, we’re fine with everything.”


The Grade I $1 million TVG Pacific Classic will be the 10th of 11 races on the Sunday Del Mar card, which also features two other Graded stakes, the Grade II $250,000 Pat O’Brien and Grade II $250,000 Del Mar Mile.

The Pat O’Brien and the Pacific Classic are “Win And You’re In” qualifiers for Breeders’ Cup races November 1 at Santa Anita. The Pacific Classic provides entrée to the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, the Pat O’Brien to the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

NBC Sports Network will broadcast the Pacific Classic live from 5 to 6 p.m. (Pacific) with post time scheduled for 5:46 p.m.

First post for the Sunday card will be 1 p.m., an hour earlier than usual.

Source: Del Mar




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