Turnaround 'too quick' for Bal Harbour to try Pacific Classic

August 13, 2019 11:14am
Turnaround 'too quick' for Bal Harbour to try Pacific Classic
Photo: Ryan Denver/ EQUI-PHOTO

Bal Harbour has remained at the same class level this season, running exclusively in Grade 3 company, but along the way stretched in distance across four starts, beginning at seven furlongs and ranging up to 1 1/8 miles.

A last-out second to War Story in the July 20 Monmouth Cup (G3) registered a 101 Beyer Speed Figure and left connections considering going a bit longer in Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million
Pacific Classic at Del Mar.

Ultimately, Red Oak Stable and trainer Todd Pletcher declined to ship to California and join invaders such as Seeking the Soul and Quip in the “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Classic qualifier.

“We’re pleased with the horse’s progression that he continues getting better with the added distance,” said Rick Sacco, racing manager for Red Oak Stable. “This was just too quick of a turnaround to get on a plane and repeat the best performance of his life against some of the best older horses in the country outside of McKinzie and a few others.”

With entries due Tuesday for the Pacific Classic and no travel lined up for Bal Harbour, the 4-year-old son of First Samurai will instead point to a Parx Racing stakes on the Sept. 21 Pennsylvania Derby (G1) undercard. The Alphabet Soup Handicap, at 1 1/16 miles, seems to fit the bill.

Sacco still intends to give Bal Harbour a Grade 1 chance.

“Hopefully he continues on this path he’s on and trajectory with longer races,” Sacco said. “I’d say definitely down the road we’d like to give that a whirl, even though we’ve been running in Grade 3s.”

The Pacific Classic may give connections a better read on Bal Harbour’s class. A homebred, he was beaten just a head by War Story last time, and War Story is headed to Del Mar. It was another 12 lengths back in the Monmouth Cup to graded stakes winner Coal Front.

“It was just a real game effort, especially at that distance,” Sacco said. “He kept getting better, but we’re going to pass on (the Pacific Classic).

“…We’re just giving him a little more time.”

Bal Harbour has hit the board in 11 of his 16 starts, winning five of them. Prior to the Monmouth Cup, he ran second in the Philip H. Iselin (G3) at 1 1/16 miles and third in the Salvator Mile (G3), improving as the distances lengthened.

2019 Pacific Classic (G1)


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