The Hronis Racing owned Accelerate is seeking to sweep the three major Grade 1 races in Southern California for older horses when he is sent off as the favorite in Saturday’s $1 million Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar.
The John Sadler trainee won the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) and Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) this year and is looking to become just the third horse to sweep the three majors in the same year, following Game On Dude, who won all three in 2013 and Lava Man, who accomplished the feat in 2006.
Joel Rosario gets the mount and will break from the five post, taking on seven rivals in the 1 ¼ mile test.
The Pacific Classic is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) which will be contested at Churchill Downs this fall.
Pavel (7-2) has already stamped his ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Classic by virtue of his victory in the Stephen Foster (G1) at Churchill Downs on June 16. Mario Gutierrez has the return call for trainer Doug O’Neill and will break from the seven post.
The Lieutenant (6-1) breaks from the rail and is coming off a second to Diversify in the Suburban (G2) while Hall of Famer Bob Baffert sends out Dr. Dorr (6-1) and Argentinian import Roman Rosso (5-1) who makes his U.S. debut.
Completing the field are Prime Attraction (8-1) who was third in the Eddie Read (G2) on turf in his last start, Beach View (15-1) who won the Cougar II and Two Thirty Five (20-1) who was fourth in the San Diego.
The supporting stakes on the card are the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks (G1) for three-year-olds going 1 1/8-miles on turf and the $250,000 Del Mar Handicap (G2) which is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).
Let’s head out to Del Mar for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Del Mar Race 10 The TVG Pacific Classic (G1) Post time 6:43 PT
5 Accelerate 8-5
1 The Lieutenant 6-1
2 Dr. Dorr 6-1
3 Prime Attraction 8-1
Accelerate is going to be the chalk in here but it is his race to win or lose. He comes in off a career top speed fig winning the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) by 4 ¼ lengths over Dr. Dorr. He won the San Pasqual (G2) and Santa Anita Handicap (G1) in his first two starts this year before getting beaten a neck two back in the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) by City of Light. The Sadler trainee ran third in this race last year which was then a career top number and he has three wins over the surface including last year’s San Diego. The five-ear-old owns a solid pace profile throughout and I do not see hi regressing her today.
The Lieutenant stalked the early pace and finished up well for a runner up finish in the Suburban (G2) at Belmont Park behind Diversify who took the filed gate to wire and then returned four weeks later to win the Whitney (G1) at Saratoga in an equally impressive win. Two back the McCarthy trainee earned his first triple digit Beyer winning the All American (G3) over the Tapeta at Golden Gate Fields. The runner up My Friend Emma returned to win the Albany at Golden Gate Fields in his next outing. He comes in here in the sharpest form of his career and will need another move forward to pull off the upset. His win over the main track was last September where he beat Alw-1 optional claimers.
Dr. Dorr was no match for the impressive Catalina Cruiser last out in the San Diego but did bounce back after failing to fire two back in a ninth-place finish in the Suburban. He won the Californian (G2) back in April with a career top speed fig and then was second to our top pick in the Gold Cup earning a solid number. Baffert has won this race five times including last year with Collected but this guy may end up landing for a minor share. The gelding is 0 for 3 over the main track here.
WIN: Accelerate to win at 7-5 or better.
EXACTA: 1,5 / 1,2,3,5
TRIFECTA: 1,5 / 1,2,3,5 / 1,2,3,5,7