Trainer Mike Pender didn’t confirm or deny being lobbied by agents for
bigger “name” jockeys than Martin Pedroza for the mount on Jeranimo in the
Pacific Classic. But it wouldn’t have mattered if they did.
“Martin Pedroza was our first preference,” Pender said Friday. “He’s such an
experienced, professional rider. He’s having a heck of a meet and I
think, at 46 years of age, he’s riding better than he ever has. I know a lot of
people don’t recognize that, but he’s going to get his chance to show it on Sunday.
“Martin has worked this horse many times, since the horse was two years old.
So it seems fitting on Jeranimo’s biggest day, Martin Pedroza should ride him.”
Seven different riders have been aboard Jeranimo in a career of 20 starts
which has produced five wins and $570,400 in earnings. The Pacific Classic will
be the first time Pedroza, sixth in the meet’s rider standings with 16 wins,
has ridden Jeranimo in competition. They’ll break from the No. 2 post in a
field of 10.
“I feel like the post position was more important for our competition than
it was for us,” Pender said. “I didn’t care what post position we drew. We have
a horse here that can relax with dirt hitting him in the face and I couldn’t be
more pleased. I think the draw that everyone got makes it a fair race.”
Jeranimo, a winner of three of 13 starts on synthetics, was second to
Pacific Classic rival Acclamation in the Grade I Eddie Read Stakes over the
Jimmy Durante Turf Course on July 23 in his Del Mar debut.
“He’s been training super, the little machine that he is,” Pender said.
“He’s ready to do whatever we want every morning and every time we ask him the
question he’s got the answer.
“Our horse can sit anywhere. He can sit ten off ‘em, five off ‘em. The rider
can just put him anywhere; he is very rateable. And the best thing about him is
that he loves the rail. He loves to eat dirt, it gets him more competitive.”
CLASSIC DAY SPECIFICS
The TVG Pacific Classic is the ninth of 11 races on a Sunday program
which also includes the Grade I Pat O’Brien and Grade II Del Mar Handicap.
The Del Mar Handicap is scheduled as the third race and the Pat
O’Brien the fifth race on a card with a special 1 p.m. first post.
The 21st running of the Pacific Classic has an approximate
5:15 p.m. post time. It will be televised live as a part of the Breeders’ Cup
Challenge presented by Emirates Airline series on ESPN3.com from 5:00-5:30 p.m.
PDT. TVG will provide live 90-minute coverage (from 4:30-6:00 p.m.) and on
affiliates FSN West, Altitude and MSG. Sports bags will be given away to those
with paid admissions while supplies last.