Post position is neither irrelevant nor crucial in a 1 ¼-mile race with more
than a quarter-mile run to the first turn like Sunday’s Grade I, $1
million TVG Pacific Classic.
But the smiles and gestures from the table occupied by the connections of
Twirling Candy were a tipoff to their pleasure and relief when the 5-2 morning
line favorite drew No. 10 at Wednesday evening’s post position draw at the
Rancho Valencia Resort.
“We were very happy,” trainer John Sadler said Thursday morning. “If you go
back and look he was No. 1 in The Californian and the Hollywood Gold Cup and
toward the inside (No. 5) in the Big Cap. So he hasn’t had a good draw in quite
“We wanted to get an outside post so he can pick wherever he wants to be and
not get in trouble. You have a long run to the first turn and you can get a
good position from the outside post.”
Bracketing Twirling Candy and jockey Joel Rosario are Game On Dude and
Chantal Sutherland, second choice in the morning line at 3-1 in post position
No. 9, and 20-1 Quindici Man with Martin Garcia, a come-from-behind type, at
No. 11. The scratch from the Classic on Thursday morning of Bourbon Bay,
who drew the No. 8 post, will mean the outside three will each move one space
inside from their draw number. Bourbon Bay was automatically scratched when he
was entered in Sunday’s $200,000 Del Mar Handicap.
Game On Dude has outfinished Twirling Candy when the two raced in relatively
close proximity through the early stages of both the Santa Anita Handicap and
Hollywood Gold Cup.
Game On Dude rallied from third at the half-mile mark for a nose victory in
the Big ‘Cap, while Twirling Candy faded to fifth after being bumped in midstretch.
Game On Dude came back after being headed in the stretch by Twirling Candy and
missed by a nose to stablemate First Dude in the Gold Cup . Twirling Candy was
third, beaten only a neck.
“It’s a good draw for us because Game On Dude will go on, Quindici Man will
drop back and we should be able to move (in) and get a trip,” Sadler said.
The lineup, from the rail out is:
Don Cavallo (Luis Contreras, 8-1), Jeranimo (Martin Pedroza, 12-1), Stately
Victor (Mike Smith, 20-1), Tres Borrachos (Rafael Bejarano, 6-1), Acclamation
(Patrick Valenzuela, 5-1), Setsuko (Victor Espinoza, 8-1), Great Warrior (Omar
Berrio, 50-1), Bourbon Bay (Joe Talamo, 20-1, scratched), Game On Dude
(Chantal Sutherland, 3-1), Twirling Candy (Joel Rosario, 5-2), and Quindici Man
(Martin Garcia, 20-1).