Revisit the Pacific Classic at Del Mar in Photos!

August 25, 2016 06:35am
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Photo: Melanie Martines

Visiting beautiful San Diego is one of my most favorite things to do, and when you combine that thought with the sport of horse racing you are left captivated by the beauty and excitement of Del Mar. Where the surf meets the turf will transport you to one of the most beautiful tracks that I have every seen. It's ambiance will leave you breathless as you take in the beauty around you. For the avid race fan nothing is more compelling than a day at the race track, and last Saturday was a day that many are still talking about. 


This was Pacific Classic weekend! The most exciting day of Summer racing, but wait ...This day was extra special because this year's Pacific Classic was probably the most anticipated race of the year with such an accomplished field it was sure to spark conversation with many racing fans on who they thought could win the race. Champion Mare Beholder was back to defend her title from last year's spectacular victory, and California Chrome was back to show everyone why he's considered one the greatest horses in training. It was the battle of the sexes, and I was there to capture all the thrills and excitement for you!

Enjoy my moments at Del Mar ...

The beautiful colors of the jockey silks in the Paddock Area represented Spendthrift Farm, owners of last year's Pacific Classic winner Beholder

 And they're off!

The Backdrop is so beautiful I couldn't help but get a photo of a horses running on the backstretch. 

Race 5 was a 6F Maiden Special Weight 63K with some interesting 2-year-olds. Zapperkat made a huge run between horses in the stretch, and easily took the field winning impressively for Trainer Bob Baffert

Racing fans enjoying the day!

Race 6 was the first stakes action of the day, the 60th Running of the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks. Here is #1 Lady Valeur in the post parade. 

#2 Decked Out

I've been a fan of #3 Mokat since I first saw her in Kentucky. She's a big filly. 

#4 Mines and Magic

#6 Lynne's Legacy

#7 Harmonize


#8 Cheekaboo

#10 Stays in Vegas

#11 Tin Type Gal

Big run by the late runners as they sprint for home with Stays in Vegas trying to hang on for the lead. 

#7 Harmonize in (orange saddle cloth) was flying late in a desperate run for a blanket finish in the Del Mar Oaks. It was a very close race for the late runners with the order of finish 7-2-10-3 in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks.


Fun in the sun for racing fans!

Race 8 was the 77th Running of the Del Mar Handicap. Here is #1 Belisarius, a very pretty horse.

A horse I love seeing on the track is 8-year-old Quick Casablanca. I love his look. 

#3 Wanstead Gardens

#4 Metaboss

#5 Power Foot

#7 Flamboyant. Another good looking horse. I loved watching him train in Dubai.

#8 Ashleyluvssugar

Who doesn't love 7-year-old Finnegans Wake? 

#10 El Huerfano

#11 Patentar

#12 Texas Ryano


Winner of the Del Mar Handicap, Ashleyluvssugar for Peter Eurton's barn.

The paddock area was starting to get crowded right after Race 8 as the fans were hoping to get a glimpse of their favorite horse in the Pacific Classic. Patricia and Leslie are Beholder's biggest fans and they both wore the colors of Spendthrift to support Beholder. 

The Paddock Area right before the race.

#1 The Champ, California Chrome

#2 Hoppertunity, I'd recognized those eyes anywhere!

#3 War Story

#4 Hard Aces

#5 Win the Space

#6 Imperative

The only female in the field, #7  Beholder. 

Big D, #8 Dortmund.

#9 Dalmore.

California Chrome headed onto the track for the post parade. 

Race fans before the Pacific Classic.

California Chrome popped out of the gate and went straight to the lead. In the home stretch, Dortmund and Beholder trying to catch California Chrome. 

Jockey Victor Espinoza, all smiles as a picture is worth a thousand words.



California Chrome steals the Pacific Classic!

 Happy Fans! I see you!

 After the race.

In the winner's circle. 

California Chrome at the stables on Sunday Morning. 

California Chrome's Groom Raul Rodriguez gets new wraps put on the champ as he gets ready to return back to his home at Los Alamitos. 

Getting Chrome ready for his van ride home.

Chrome looking comfortable as the team gets him ready for the ride home.

 Just around the corner...Wouldn't you love to jump into this conversation?

After California Chrome left, a fellow photographer and myself went searching for Beholder and we found her outside enjoying the sun. She looked great and ran a hell of a race, second to California Chrome. She held her own, that's Girl Power!

After the excitement with California Chrome there was one graded stakes race on Sunday, the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile Handicap. Midnight Storm took the lead right out of the gate,  set a solid pace upfront and was able to hold off Om in deep stretch for his third straight win for Little Red Feather Racing.  

On Sunday Hall of Fame Jockey Chris McCarron was named the 2016 Laffit Pincay, Jr. Award winner. McCarron, 61, becomes the 13th recipient. The award is given to those who have served the sport with "integrity, extraordinary dedication, determination and distinction."  

How time flies, and can't believe another Pacific Classic is behind us. The best Is Yet To Come, and California Chrome takes away Del Mar's richest and most prestigious race of the summer, the $1,000,000 TVG Pacific Classic. As a challenge winner with the Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" he earns a spot in the Breeders' Cup Classic which will be held at Santa Anita Park on November 5, 2016. 

It was an incredible weekend at Del Mar and what a thrill it was to see such unbelievable horses run. It's always an amazing sight to see through my camera lens. Hope you enjoyed my photos, and I'll be seeing you all soon!


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Meet Melanie Martines

Melanie is an avid horse racing fan. She first fell in love with the sport in 2009 when she was first introduced to an article about the Pamplemousse. Her first Derby love was I Want Revenge after his spectacular win in the Wood Memorial, and would tell you that her favorite Thoroughbreds are Zenyatta, Mine That Bird and she's been following Mucho Macho Man since he was 2 years old.  

Her passion has led her to become quite knowledgeable of the sport, and has read many books on pedigree/conformation/dosage, handicapping and about great horses in racing history. She learned how to handicap a race from old-timers in the sport, and has a few favorite angles when picking a winner. 

Having a creative side to her, she is also a professional Photographer. She discovered that she was able to combine her passion for photography and horse racing and loves traveling to the California race tracks as much as she can. After returning from the Breeders' Cup races at Keeneland Race Track and experiencing the sports' first "grand-slam", the next planned adventure on her list will be Dubai for the World Cup on the last Saturday in March of 2016.
Her dream job would be behind the camera at a race track photographing everything that goes on throughout the day.
Originally from Hawaii, Melanie lives in Henderson, NV with her daughter Kaela who currently attends college. She is a graduate of UNLV and when she is not at the race track she is the Executive Assistant to the CEO of a Digital Marketing company in Las Vegas.

Visit her Sports Photography Portfolio At: 

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