The Todd Pletcher trained Dr Post ships west from Saratoga and takes on eight foes in Saturday’s $1 million Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar.
The race is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series with the winner earning a berth in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) which will be held at Del Mar this November.
Dr Post has won four of his nine career starts and is coming off a victory in the Monmouth Cup (G3) in his last start. Joel Rosario was aboard for the win and travels west to keep the mount. The colt breaks from the three post and is 4-1 on the morning line.
Pletcher has started just six runners at Del Mar dating back five years and all six came in the Breeders’ Cup.
It is an evenly matched group with the John Shirreffs trained Express Train the 3-1 morning line favorite. Six of the nine in the field are listed between 3-1 and 5-1 on the morning line.
Express Train is coming in off a sharp win in the San Diego Handicap (G2) over the Del Mar main track at 1 1/16 miles. Juan Hernandez has the call and will break from the six post.
2021 San Diego Handicap Replay
Trainer Richard Mandella, who has won the race for times including with the filly Beholder will send out a pair of contenders.
Tizamagician (5-1) is coming off a victory in the Cougar II (G3) at 1 ½ miles and Royal Ship (7-1) was third as the beaten favorite in the San Diego Handicap.
The $300,000 Del Mar Handicap (G2) is the following race. The winner stamps a ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).
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Let’s head out to Del Mar for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Del Mar Race 10 The Pacific Classic G1 6:30 PT
3 Dr Post 4-1
4 Royal Ship 7-2
5 Express Train 3-1
7 Independence Hall 5-1
The Pletcher trainee bounced back with a sharp win in the Monmouth Cup (G3) last out going 1 1/8 miles where he stalked the early pace and drew clear in the stretch to win by 1 ¼ lengths. He went into the Met Mile (G1) two back off a win in the Westchester (G3) where he earned a career top speed figure. I was expecting another big effort, we got 6-1 and he did not fire, regressing in a fifth-place finish. It was a tough group and two others have exited that race to win stakes including Knicks Go who won the Cornhusker (G3) and Whitney (G1) in his next two starts. He ships in from New York and Rosario follows. This guy ran second in the Belmont Stakes (G1) last year but don’t forget that race was run at 1 1/8 miles and not 1 1/2 miles. The colt is going to get some pace to run at here and should be rolling late.
This gelding was the beaten favorite in the San Diego ‘Cap (G2) where he tracked the early pace and finished evenly in a third-place finish behind two foes he faces again today. He won the California (G2) three back by a neck over Country Grammar who then got revenge on our second choice by winning the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) by a head. This guy can handle 1 ¼ miles and if he runs back to his numbers two and three back, he will be very tough in this spot.
The Shirreffs trained colt pressed the early pace and battled on gamely to prevail in the San Diego by a half length last out. This guy has run in the money in six straight graded stakes from seven furlongs to 1 ¼ miles including a solid second in the Big Cap (G1) at 1 ¼ miles back in March. This colt just seems to fire every time out and has earned consistent numbers over his last six starts, his Beyers ranging from 99 to 103. No doubt he will be in the hunt here but his price may not end up offering much bang for the buck for the top spot.
WIN: Dr Post to win at 7-2 or better.
EXACTA: 3 / 2,4,5,7 and 3,4 / 3,4,5