Zipse: Seeking the Soul, Quip lead Pacific Classic shippers

August 12, 2019 07:35am

East will meet West in Saturday's Grade 1, $1 Million TVG Pacific Classic, as a strong contingent of runners based outside of California will contest Del Mar's signature summer season race.

Chief among the invaders are the 1-2 finishers of Churchill Downs' Stephen Foster (G2),
Seeking the Soul and Quip. The pair has not raced since providing a stirring finish under the lights on June 15.

Seeking the Soul was the winner that night and looms a major threat to secure the second Grade 1 victory of his career. A multiple graded stakes winner, the 6-year-son of Perfect Soul first accounted for the Clark Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs back in November of 2017.

Like the Pacific Classic, the Stephen Foster was a "Win and You're In" contest for this year's Breeders' Cup Classic, meaning the winner of more than $3.3 million in career earnings has already secured a birth in the big one on November 2.

Still, trainer Dallas Stewart is looking for the best possible path to the Breeders' Cup for his stable star, and sees the 1 1/4-mile Pacific Classic as an ideal prep.

Twenty seven starts into his career, Seeking the Soul has been around the block, but has never before raced on the West Coast. With the championships just up the coast a bit at Santa Anita, Stewart looks for this to be the best choice for the experienced horse. It is also expected to be his final prep before the $6 million Classic.

Having finished second behind only the retired City of Light in both the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Churchill and in January’s rich Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), Seeking the Soul is well proven for class, and in his last, he ran one of the best performances of his career.

Much more lightly raced than the horse that narrowly got the better of him that evening in Louisville is Quip.

A 4-year-old son of Distorted Humor, Quip has only a third of the lifetime experience of Seeking the Soul, but in the Foster, he gave him everything he wanted.

He's never before gone the 10-furlong trip of the Pacific Classic, but the winner of the 2018 Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and this spring's Oaklawn Handicap (G2) received a career-best figure for his performance in the Foster.

Saturday's Pacific Classic marks the Rodolphe Brisset trainee's 10th career start, and if he can build upon his recent form, the horse with good early speed may be able to turn the tables in the developing rivalry.

Also a participant in the Stephen Foster was Tenfold. A 4-year-old son of Curlin, he never really lifted a hoof that evening, but if he can rebound with a better effort this time around, there is reason to believe he can compete with this field.

Tenfold scored in the Jim Dandy (G2) last year at Saratoga. And in the start before the Foster, he earned a hard fought victory in the 10-furlong Pimlico Special (G3) for his Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.
A return to his best form gives the 4-year-old colt a real shot in here at attractive odds.

The other Eastern-based runner headed to the Pacific Classic is War Story, winner last out of the Monmouth Cup (G3) over Bal Harbour, who was pulled from Pacific Classic consideration on Sunday.

War Story, a veteran of 35 career starts, made the trip out to Del Mar for the Pacific Classic once before, finishing seventh in the 2016 edition won by the champion California Chrome.

Chances for these Eastern invaders in the Pacific Classic were helped Monday when trainer John Sadler said he doesn't plan to enter speedy Catalina Cruiser in the Pacific Classic.

Now, this year's Pacific Classic, an event traditionally dominated by hometown horses, might be a race for the taking for the shippers.

2019 Pacific Classic (G1)


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Meet Brian Zipse

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, American Pharoah and Justify. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. His new racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, created the popular racing show, HorseCenter and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as hosting HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.

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