Catalina Cruiser to bypass Pacific Classic, opening up options

August 12, 2019 11:31am
Trainer John Sadler said Monday he'll opt for a spot shorter than the Grade 1, $1 million Pacific Classic for Catalina Cruiser's next race.

The 5-year-old son of Union Rags originally went under consideration to stretch to 1 1/4 miles off a two-turn victory in Del Mar's San Diego Handicap (G2) figured to vie for both favoritism and the early lead Saturday over the same dirt.

"It's the distance, and this is a heavy track this year," Sadler said of bypassing the Pacific Classic. "We want to keep him where we're more comfortable."

First off the layoff, the Hronis Racing charge won Belmont Park's True North (G2) back in June at seven furlongs. He figures to remain around one turn the race of the year with his next start on Aug. 24.

Catalina Cruiser could stay home for Del Mar's Pat O'Brien (G2), a 7/8-mile race the chestnut took last season, or Sadler said return to New York is possible for the Forego (G1) at the same distance.

"We'll go through this week a little bit and see what we want to do," Sadler said.

Either race could propel Catalina Cruiser back to another try at the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, in which he went favored last season when defeated by City of Light.

Sadler should still be represented in the Pacific Classic by Campaign, recent winner of the Cougar II Handicap (G3), and Higher Power, a more recent addition to his barn that has run on dirt and turf in 2019.

The trainer said Grade 1 winner Gift Box, who owns a victory at 1 1/4 miles in the Santa Anita Handicap (G1), has "been a little off a little bit" and will be prepared for Santa Anita's fall meet. The Awesome Again (G1) could lead up to a try in the Breeders' Cup Classic for the son of Twirling Candy.

Entries will be taken Tuesday for the Pacific Classic, a "Win and You're In" race for the Breeders' Cup Classic that will feature shippers Seeking the Soul and Quip, who ran 1-2 most recently in Churchill Downs' Stephen Foster (G2).

As for his other barn stars, Sadler said Clement L. Hirsch (G1) winner Ollie's Candy will target the Zenyatta (G1) at Santa Anita, while Bing Crosby (G1) hero Cistron could appear in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1).

2019 Pacific Classic (G1)


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