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Breeders' Cup 2017

Toast of New York Settles In at Del Mar

Toast of New York prepares for Belmont Derby (7-3-14).
Photo: Susie Raisher, NYRA

If Michael Buckley’s 3-year-old colt Toast of New York wins Sunday’s $1 million TVG Pacific Classic it would be, monetarily, the second biggest of a career of only seven races.

In March, Toast of New York, trained for Buckley by Jamie Osborne, was 2 ½-lengths clear at the wire in the 1 3/16th mile, $2 million United Arab Emirates Derby at Meydan in Dubai.

“Traveling lad” Jimmy McCarthy was with the Kentucky-bred son of Thewayyouare on the trip from Osborne’s home base in Wolverhampton, England to the Middle East. McCarthy’s with him again on the West Coast venture.

“We didn’t expect him to do what he did and win as well as he did,” said McCarthy, 44, a native of West Cork in Ireland. “It was a little bit of a shot in the dark. He’d won two reasonably nondescript races (in England) but won them very well. We knew he was good. We didn’t know how good. We were, I wouldn’t say shocked, but grateful that he did what he did.”

The victory provided the encouragement for the Belmont Derby on turf at Belmont Park on July 5 (6th of 10) and, after a return to England for further training, the journey here. Toast of New York’s two wins prior to the UAE Derby were on the Polytrack at Wolverhampton, the same brand as Del Mar’s surface. Meydan is Tapeta, another all-weather brand.

“They’re a little different,” McCarthy said. “The heat affects Tapeta a little bit, the hotter it is the slower (the track is); the colder it is the quicker it gets. I wouldn’t think this would be affected as much. The (Polytrack) here is probably a little bit drier than we have at home, but then it doesn’t have the same (weather conditions). “

McCarthy has had a glance at the Pacific Classic probables. “Obviously, Bob Baffert’s horse (Game On Dude) is going to take a lot of beating. But if he (Toast of New York) is there with a chance coming around the final bend, what will be will be.” 

European jockey Jamie Spencer was named to ride Toast of New York, but commitments there  prevented travel. Osborne sent out notification on Twitter and in a short time had secured the services of Victor Espinoza.             


Argentine import Mystery Train went five furlongs in 1:00.20 Wednesday morning at Del Mar under Fernando Perez, who will be aboard for the Pacific Classic.

“Just breezing,” trainer Darrell Vienna said. “It couldn’t have been better.”              


Undefeated 3-year-old Shared Belief, the 2013 Eclipse  Award winner in the Juvenile category, completed preparations for the Pacific Classic with a half-mile work in :49.60 seconds Tuesday at Golden Gate Fields in Albany.

“I think we’ve done all the things we need to do to be ready,” trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said.

Shared Belief’s  journey from Golden Gate Fields to Del Mar by van commenced at 5 a.m. Wednesday. His arrival was expected sometime in the mid to late afternoon depending on traffic.

The gelded son of Candy Ride, with a 5-for-5 career record and earnings of $772,200, will be ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith and is the likely favorite when track oddsmaker Russ Hudak’s morning line is revealed at the post position draw ceremonies on Wednesday night.


Godolphin Racing LLC’s Footbridge, under consideration for the TVG Pacific Classic since a runner-up effort in the San Diego Handicap on July 26, was not entered on Wednesday.

“I’ll keep my powder dry and fight another day,” trainer Eoin Harty said. “The race came up extremely tough. There are five or six that I’m not ready to take on at this time.”



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