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Pacific Classic Hopefuls Exercise Out West

The potential field for the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic will come into better focus on Thursday, when nominations close for the 24th running of Del Mar’s signature event.

Any who don’t put up the $300 by Thursday can still get in by paying a $10,000 supplemental fee by the close of entries on Wednesday, August 20. But even so, the core group for the 1 ¼-mile event on Sunday, August 24 – a “Win And You’re In” qualifier for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic – will be known well in advance of the race.

Not surprisingly, recent workouts by major candidates/contenders have seemed to be of a more serious nature. That trend figures to continue for the next two weeks as the race date nears.

Defending champion Game On Dude worked seven furlongs on Wednesday in 1:24.60 with Mike Smith up, going :59.40 for five furlongs and 1:11.60 for three-quarters, leaving stablemate and 2011 Del Mar Futurity winner Drill in his wake.

Gold Cup at Santa Anita winner Majestic Harbor worked seven furlongs in 1:26.40 on Sunday with regular rider Tyler Baze up. “He finished up the last quarter in 24 seconds and galloped out in 1:39 and change for the mile, so we were very pleased,” trainer Sean McCarthy said. “Tyler was pleased at how he bounced over the track with plenty of energy, so all systems are go.” Plans are for a final pre-race work on Monday, August 18. 

Gold Cup runner-up Clubhouse Ride worked 7 furlongs in 1:26.40 on Saturday under exercise rider Manny Rotela. “We’re pleased with it,” trainer Craig Lewis said. “He started slow, picked it up and finished very strong and full of run.”

Undefeated Shared Belief, recent winner of the Los Alamitos Derby, went six furlongs in 1:13.20 Tuesday at Golden Gate Fields in Albany, Ca. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said the son of Candy Ride will remain in Northern California until the week of the race.

Cougar II Handicap winner Irish Surf went 6 furlongs in 1:13.0 on Sunday under jockey Elvis Trujillo. “It was just what we wanted,” said trainer Dan Hendricks. “He was relaxed and steady and picked it up for a solid last quarter in 24 (seconds).”  Irish Surf is scheduled to have a final major work on Friday

San Diego Handicap 1-2-3-4 finishers Fed Biz, Footbridge, You Know I Know and Frac Daddy all had useful exercises. Fed Biz, whom trainer Bob Baffert is considering for other Grade I events besides the Classic, went five furlongs in 1:00.40 on Monday. Footbridge went the same distance, in the same time as Fed Biz, a day later. You Know I Know was timed in :49.40 for four furlongs on Monday.

Big Cazanova, who set a track record for one mile (1:34.60), one race ahead of the 1 1/16 mile San Diego Handicap on July 26, remains a possibility. “We’ll nominate and take a look at it, but more likely we’ll look for an allowance here and aim for the Awesome Again at Santa Anita,” trainer Peter Miller said.  

The race lost one international runner when travel reservations for Cat O’Mountain were cancelled. But Toast of New York is still scheduled to ship in from Europe late this week. And trainer Darrell Vienna has the Pacific Classic in mind for Argentine import Mystery Train, whose latest work was six furlongs in 1:13.20 on Friday.

 

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