Photo: Eclipse Spotswire - Alex Evers
We didn’t check with the legal department to find out for sure, but
we’re operating on the assumption that Wimbledon doesn’t have exclusive
rights to the term “fortnight” for a major sporting event. Since it was
much easier to do, however, we did check the calendar and see that
Sunday marks the beginning of the two-week run-up to the $1 million TVG
Pacific Classic on Sunday, August 25.
So on the eve of commencement of the Pacific Classic fortnight, here’s a preliminary look at the 23rd running of Del Mar’s signature event which carries the only remaining seven-figure purse on the Southern California circuit.
Connections for Dullahan have announced intentions for a title
defense in the race and when jockey Joel Rosario accepted the mount on
Game On Dude, they quickly retained the services of Del Mar’s leading
rider, Rafael Bejarano.
Game On Dude, second beaten a half-length in the 2012 Classic, has
been impressing clockers with workouts, most recently six furlongs in
1:12.40 on Wednesday. A win for the Dude would make him the second horse
to complete what could be termed the Southern California Triple Crown –
Santa Anita Handicap, Hollywood Gold Cup, Pacific Classic – in the same
year behind Lava Man in 2006.
Richard’s Kid, a two-time Classic winner who was third in the 2012
edition, renewed a love affair with the Del Mar polytrack surface in
winning the Cougar II Handicap on July 26 – a tune-up event for his 2009
and 2010 wins.
Kettle Corn, winner of the Classic stepping stone San Diego Handicap,
is being prepared for the race and trainer John Sadler is also
considering a second representative in You Know I Know, a mile race
winner on August 3.
Jeranimo, victorious in the meeting turf championship Eddie Read
Stakes on July 20, will attempt to complete a Read-Classic double only
previously accomplished by Acclamation in 2011.
Foreign flavor will be added with Delegation, a synthetic specialist
from Canada for trainer Mark Casse, and Farraaj, a Group stakes winner
in England being brought over by trainer Roger Varian.
There are other possibles.
Trainer A.C. Avila has Brazilian-bred Holding Glory, second to You
Know I Know in his U.S. debut. “I’m 80 percent thinking the Del Mar
Handicap ($200,000, 1 3/8 miles on turf, Saturday, August 24) and 20
percent the Pacific Classic, Avila said.
Trainer Peter Miller said he has not ruled out putting 3-year-old
Swaps Stakes winner Chief Havoc in against older in the Classic. “But
I’m leaning more to the Del Mar Derby (Grade II $300,000 1 1/8 miles on
turf, Sunday, September 1),” Miller said.
There are others being considered whose participation could hinge on
developments, especially weather ones, in the Midwest and East. It
should make for an interesting fortnight.