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Pacific Classic Hopefuls Work

Eclipse Award-winning filly Blind Luck worked six furlongs in 1:13 2/5 Wednesday morning at Del Mar and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer reiterated that taking on males in the  1 ¼-mile, $1 million Pacific Classic remains under strong consideration for her next start.

Hollendorfer has stated previously that the 1 ¼-mile, $300,000 Personal Ensign at Saratoga will also be given consideration. Wednesday morning he said that Blind Luck will be nominated for both those races and also the $250,000, 1 1/16-mile Molly Pitcher at Monmouth Park. All three races are on Sunday, August 28.

Hollendorfer termed Wednesday’s workout by Blind Luck, done solo under regular exercise rider Marco Ramirez, “nice and steady.” Clockers termed it a “nice maintenance work.”

In addition to Blind Luck, Pacific Classic candidates Setsuko and Acclamation also put in morning workouts Wednesday.

Setsuko, trained by Richard Mandella worked in company with Taxi Ride and was timed in 1:14.00 for six furlongs. Setsuko has only one win in 15 starts and comes off a disappointing third as the 3-2 favorite in the Cougar II Handicap on July 29. But Hall of Famer Mandella hasn’t lost faith in Setsuko, a 4-year-old son of his 2004 Pacific Classic winner Pleasantly Perfect, who has three in-the-money finishes in his last four starts, all at the graded stakes level.

“We were disappointed in the (Cougar II) race, but he came out of it well and unless we change our mind, he’s going in the Classic,” Mandella said before the work.

Mandella has three wins and five additional in-the-money results from 13 Pacific Classic starters. The wins, in addition to Pleasantly Perfect, came from Dare and Go in 1996, an upset of Cigar that ranks among the greatest in racing history, and Gentlemen in 1997.

“It’s been a good race for me,” Mandella said.

Acclamation, winner of the Eddie Read Stakes on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course on July 23, went seven furlongs in 1 :28 4/5 seconds with jockey Patrick Valenzuela aboard.  Clockers noted that Acclamation handled the Polytrack well,  but the time was slower than trainer Don Warren and owner Bud Johnston would have preferred.

“Maybe, but I don’t know yet,” Warren said of a Pacific Classic start. “We’ll nominate him and work him again four or five days before the race.”


Trainer Doug O’Neill is preparing to run Achak, a $40,000 claim out of Saturday’s seventh race by Mark Verge’s Westside Rentals.com stable, in the Pacific Classic.

Achak, a 5-year-old Irish-bred gelding, was acquired from trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and partners from a half-length victory under Joe Talamo in the 1 1/16-mile race on Saturday.  Achak has nine wins in 31 career starts and earnings of $261,253.

“He just won here, he likes the track and he’s 6-for-11 on synthetic tracks,” O’Neill noted. “It’s very ambitious, but we talked before the race that if he won – beating the likes of Jaycito and a couple other nice horses in there – we would run in the Pacific Classic.

“Mark Verge likes to take chances with his horses as long as they are sound and doing good.  So as long as he continues to do well, we’re going to pitch him in the deep end and see if he can swim with the big boys.

“I don’t think distance will be a problem. The big question will be if he’s good enough.”


Mike Pender smiled and nodded at the whinny and burst of activity coming from the stall in barn MM that interrupted the interview.

“That’s Jeranimo,” Pender said. “Barring anything unforeseen it (Pacific Classic) is a go. He’s primed and ready for a top effort.”

The 5-year-old son of Congaree, second to Acclamation in the Eddie Read Stakes, has made his last seven starts on turf, but has notched three of his five career wins on synthetics, the most notable being the 2010 Strub Stakes at Santa Anita.

“He’s never run on Polytrack here, but will out-gallop any horse on the racetrack over the stuff,” Pender said. “He’s given every indication he’ll like it.”

Jeranimo has been on an every-seventh-day work pattern --  with the exception the morning after the Eddie Read -- with the most recent being 6 furlongs in 1:12.40 on Sunday.



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