A field of 13 has been entered for Sunday’s Grade I $1 million TVG
Pacific Classic. Post positions will be drawn Wednesday evening for the
23rd running of the signature event of the Del Mar summer
meeting at a draw party starting at 6:30 at the Rancho Valencia Resort
& Spa in Rancho Santa Fe.
The field, in alphabetical order, includes:
Blueskiesnrainbows (Martin Pedroza), Byrama (Gary Stevens),
Delegation (Luis Contreras), Dullahan (Rafael Bejarano), Endorsement
(Julien Leparoux), Farraaj (Garrett Gomez), Game On Dude (Joel Rosario),
Holding Glory (Chantal Sutherland-Kruse), Jeranimo (Corey Nakatani),
Kettle Corn (Victor Espinoza), Liaison (Martin Garcia), Richard’s Kid
(Joe Talamo) and You Know I Know (Edwin Maldonado).
Dullahan is the defending race champion with career earnings of more
than $1.7 million. Game On Dude seeks to become only the second horse to
win California’s three biggest races – the Santa Anita Handicap,
Hollywood Gold Cup and Pacific Classic – in the same year.
Richard’s Kid is a two-time Classic winner (2009-2010) who could
become the first three-time winner and with the unlikely circumstance of
doing it for three different owners.
Farraaj Travels Over 5,000 Miles To Familiar Ground
Joanne Banks is the “traveling head girl” for the stable of English trainer Roger Varian. Emphasis on travel.
“Oh yes, I’ve been all around the world,” Banks said recently. “Hong
Kong, Singapore, Italy, Germany, Turkey. You name it I’ve been there.”
And now, Del Mar.
Last week, Banks and exercise rider Daria Wozny were dispatched,
along with 4-year-old gelding Farraaj, on an approximate 5,400-mile,
three-day journey from Newmarket, England to Del Mar to get the horse
in place for a run in Sunday’s $1 million TVG Pacific Classic.
They left Newmarket on Tuesday for Prestwick Airport in Edinborough,
Scotland and an overnight stay. They flew out the next morning, Wozny
with the horse on a cargo plane and Banks on an earlier commercial
flight, to Los Angeles where Farraaj stayed for a required 42 hours in
quarantine. Then, on Friday, a four-hour van ride brought them from L.A.
to Del Mar.
“But he took it all in his stride and now we’re just gently building
him into his training routine for (the Classic),” Banks said. “As trips
go it was good. Some can be long with a lot of waiting but on the whole
this was good and he took it in stride and ate well the whole time,
which is the main thing.
“Since we’ve come out of quarantine he’s acting like ‘Thank God the
journey’s over, now I know why I’m here. There’s been (live) racing on
since he got here and it hasn’t bothered him, which is also good.”
It is the second trip stateside for Farraaj, an Irish-bred son of
Dubai Destination. He finished third at Churchill Downs in the 2011
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Returned to England, Farraaj has two wins
in four starts over the past two years. Both came on the synthetic
surface at Lingfield, England – the Blue Square Bet Churchill Stakes
last November and the Blue Square Bet Winter Derby, a Group 3 event, in
March. Both were at the Pacific Classic distance of 1 ¼ miles.
Which explains, in large part, the reasons for his journey.
“Roger made his decision on that a month or so ago,” Banks said. “He
considered some other races, but he’s had his heart set on this track
for awhile now.
(Farraaj) loves the (synthetic) surface, which is what we train on
back at home,” Banks said. “Which is what we’ve come for mainly, the
surface, and it looks as though it will suit him also.”
Farraaj has been routinely exercising over the Polytrack since last
Saturday. Garrett Gomez, who will ride in the Pacific Classic, is going
to take him for a more vigorous one Thursday morning.
And world traveler Banks’ first impression of Del Mar?
“It’s a lovely place. You won’t find any prettier.”
The TVG Pacific Classic will be the 9th race on an 11-race card
Sunday at Del Mar with a special first post of 1 p.m. Post time for the
big race should be approximately 5:45 p.m. Also on the program that day
are the Grade II $250,000 Pat O’Brien Stakes at seven furlongs and the
Grade $200,000 Del Mar Mile on the turf course.
Nakatani Takes Call On Jeranimo For Pacific Classic
The long-running mystery concerning who would ride Eddie Read winner
Jeranimo in the Pacific Classic ended late Thursday morning when trainer
Mike Pender named Corey Nakatani aboard the 7-year old son of Congaree.
It will be the 15th Pacific Classic assignment for
Nakatani, 42. He won the 2006 Classic aboard Lava Man and had seconds
with Gentlemen in 1999 and Crowded House in 2010.