Who do you like in the Pacific Classic?

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We read through the press kit for today’s 21st running of the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic (to save you the time and bother, no thanks necessary) and came up with the following. In post position order.

If Don Cavallo wins the Classic – It would be fitting for friends and fans of the late Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, winner of a record six Pacific Classics, since it was in Frankel’s barn where Don Cavallo started his career … It would be a first Pacific Classic win for owner Frank Stronach who has had entrants in five previous Classics either alone or in partnership.

If Jeranimo wins  – He would become the second Florida-bred to prevail, joining Go Between (2008) … Would provide a first PC win in only his second opportunity for 46-year-old jockey Martin Pedroza, striking a blow for blue-collar, persistent workers everywhere … Would give trainer Mike Pender a win with his first PC starter and advance the cause of West Coast academia since Pender is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara with a masters degree in psychology from Pepperdine.

If Stately Victor wins  – It would be a major Blue Grass State-ment. Kentucky-born Stately Victor would become the eighth horse bred in the Blue Grass State to win the PC, the first to do so after having won the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland the previous year as a 3-year-old.. .It would be a win at first PC outing for trainer Mike Maker, a Louisville, Ky.,  resident and a third consecutive PC win for Mike Smith, who took the last two aboard Richard’s Kid a (thank God) Maryland-bred.

If Tres Borrachos wins -- It would be a “full circle” moment for the event since trainer Marty Jones is the son of Gary Jones, who won the inaugural Pacific Classic with Best Pal. Marty was one of the stable workers … George Hicker,  known for his scoring prowess as a basketball player at Syracuse, would be credited with an assist for private purchase of the horse before a come-from-behind win in the San Diego Handicap paved way for the Pacific Classic start.

If Acclamation wins – Jockey Patrick Valenzuela would notch his second PC victory 20 years after the first, a longest-between-wins mark that would figure to stand for awhile … Would make Acclamation the sixth California-bred to win the race and give a first win and boost to the Central California Old English Rancho operation of E. W.  “Bud” Johnston which has employed Don Warren as trainer for 33 years.

If Setsuko wins – It would be the fourth PC score for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella,  moving him out of a tie for second with Hall of Famer Bob Baffert and within two of Bobby Frankel’s Classic record … Would get jockey Victor Espinoza into the win column, breaking an 0-for-10 and be only the second career win for Setsuko.

If Great Warrior wins – It will become the plot line of a Hollywood movie since only in the movies could a horse that has been scratched on the day of the race, as Great Warrior has, somehow get reinstated into a race and then miraculously prevail.

If Game On Dude wins – Chantal Sutherland will become only the second female jockey, after Julie Krone in 2003, to win the race and males around the racetrack will just have to deal with it until the meeting ends on September 7 …  It will be win No. 4 for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, moving him out of a tie for second with Hall of Famer Richard Mandella and within two of Bobby Frankel’s Classic record.

If Twirling Candy wins – There’ll be some celebrating in San Diego County by the local ownership connections, Jenny Craig and Marty Wygod, and all who remember the 2003 Classic won by Twirling Candy sire Candy Ride, with Krone up … It will be a first PC win, in his third try, for trainer John Sadler and a first PC win in his fourth try for jockey Joel Rosario.

If Quindici Man wins – It would be a win-at-first-try for both trainer Craig Lewis and jockey Martin Garcia and give Garcia wins in the signature events of the last two stops on the Southern California circuit. Garcia won the Hollywood Gold Cup aboard First Dude … Would verify Lewis’ belief that Quindici Man is a “true mile and one-quarter horse,” …Would trigger memories of the 2002 Classic, won by Quindici Man’s sire, Came Home.


…Ten different opinions on the Classic? Not really, but you do get more than one.

Jerry Bailey  (Retired Hall of Fame jockey turned TV commentator) – “Acclamation, maybe wire to wire.”

Julie Krone (Retired Hall of Fame jockey) – “Setsuko.  Don’t mess with Mother Nature.”

Ron McAnally (Hall of Fame trainer) – “Twirling Candy. I’ve got a couple of breedings to Candy Ride and I know (Twirling Candy) had a very good mile work the other day.”

Art Sherman (Trainer) – “Tres Borrachos. I’m looking for a long shot and I like the name (“Three Drunks” in Spanish).”

Ron Ellis (Trainer) – “Acclamation. We know he can get the mile and a quarter.”

Jack Carava (Trainer) – “Tres Borrachos. I’m pulling for Marty Jones.”

Eoin Harty (Trainer) – “Don Cavallo. I think (trainer) Roger Attfield is very cagey and he’s come out here with a horse that can win.”

Jamie Lloyd (Trainer) – “Setsuko. If Mandella is confident enough to run him, that’s good enough for me.”

Melody Conlon (Trainer) – “Game On Dude. I think he’ll get the distance and I have to root for Chantal Sutherland. Girl power.”

Mike Machowsky (Trainer) – “Tres Borrachos. And if I was going to bet an exacta it would be Tres Borrachos to Setsuko.”



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