The Doug O’Neill trained Pavel looks for his first victory in over a year in Saturday’s $1 million Pacific Classic (G1), seeking to improve on his runner up finish in last year’s edition of the marquee race of the Del Mar meeting.
A field of 10 will line up including four shipping into Southern California led by the 3-1 morning line favorite Seeking the Soul for trainer Dallas Stewart.
Pavel (7-2) is based in Southern California but made his last two starts in the Big Apple, a sixth in the loaded Met Mile (G1) and then a third in the Suburban (G2) in his last outing. His last win came last June in the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1).
Seeking the Soul and Quip (9-2) were separated by just a neck in this year’s Foster, which was downgraded to a Grade 2. The third-place finisher in that race Tom’s d’Etat came back to win the restricted Alydar at Saratoga in his last outing.
The Pacific Classic is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). Accelerate won last year’s Pacific Classic and went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
There are four supporting stakes on the Saturday Del Mar card. Among them is the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks (G1) 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 Pacific Classic G1 (Post time 6:30 PT)
#3 Pavel 7-2
#2 Quip 9-2
#5 Seeking the Soul 3-1
#7 Tenfold 8-1
The five-year-old came up short in two trips in New York, a sixth in the Met Mile (G1) and a third last out in the Suburban (G2) at 1 1/4 miles. In his last effort he stalked the early pace, came with a four wide run and could not make up any ground in the stretch over a racing strip that was playing to inside speed. The O’Neill trainee has not win since taking the ’18 Stephen Foster (G1) at Churchill Downs but has kept some tough company and made trips to Japan and Dubai. He ran second in this race last year behind Accelerate, who won by more than a dozen lengths. He looks headed in the right direction and this race did not come up as tough as in years past. O’Neill won this race in 2006 with Lava Man.
This colt is coming off a career top in his runner up finish in the Stephen Foster (G2) at Churchill Downs. He battled for the early lead and finished gamely to come up just a neck short, beaten by Seeking the Soul. The third-place finisher was Tom’s d’Etat, who came back to win the restricted Alydar at Saratoga on Aug. 2 with a 104 Beyer Speed Figure. The extra ground is a question mark but among the top three contenders here this guy may end up offering the most value for the top spot. His trainer Brisset was formerly a top assistant to Hall of Famer Bill Mott.
Seeking the Soul
The Dallas Stewart trainee got the best of Quip late in the Foster, bouncing back off a his third two back in the Alysheba (G2). That outing was his first since returning from Dubai where he was not a factor in an eighth-place finish in the Dubai World Cup (G1). He is capable of running big, a good second in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) last fall and a win in the Clark ‘Cap (G1) back in ’17. It looks as if there is enough early speed in here to set things up for him, but he may end up a light price.
WIN: #3 to win at 3-1 or better.
EX: 2,3 / 2,3,5,7
TRI: 2,3 / 2,3,5,7 / 2,3,5,6,7