Arabian Knight Holds Off “Rocket” in ‘Classic’ Duel

September 3, 2023

Flavien Prat looks over his shoulder to make sure he and Arabian Knight are in the clear (Benoit Photo)

Uncle Mo Colt Gives Trainer Baffert His Record Seventh Pacific Classic

Del Mar Press Release

DEL MAR, Calif.— Two of the top 3-year-old colts in America hooked up in the stretch in the $1 million FanDuel Racing Pacific Classic at Del Mar Saturday and Zedan Racing Stables’ Arabian Knight held off Pin Oak Stud’s Geaux Rocket Ride by a neck at the conclusion of the 33rd edition of the mile and a quarter Grade I headliner.

The winner, a son of Uncle Mo making only his fourth start, ran the distance in 2:03.19 under Flavien Prat for trainer Bob Baffert. The tally was Prat’s third in Del Mar’s premier race, while it was a record-setting seventh score for Hall of Fame trainer Baffert. He had been tied with the late Bobby Frankel with six victories in the race.

Arabian Knight went off as an ever-so-slight favorite over Geaux Rocket Ride and paid $6.20 to his backers. He earned a first prize of $600,000 to push his bankroll to $1,244,275.

Finishing third in the race was Reddam Racing’s Slow Down Andy, a length and a quarter behind “Rocket.”

The FanDuel Racing Pacific Classic was the centerpiece of a five-stakes day at the shore oval that was conducted in sunny and mild conditions. It was run on Day 26 of the track’s 31-day meet that ends on September 10.  

FLAVIEN PRAT (Arabian Knight, winner) – “He’s a nice horse and he showed it today. He was running easily for me all the way around. He’s lightly raced, and I think this race will only make him better. It’s an honor to win a big race like this.”

Prat elated with the win aboard Arabian Knight (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

MIKE SMITH (Geaux Rocket Ride, second) – “Two good horses here; they both gave their best. I thought about staying inside all the way, but then I was afraid I might get stuck down there by the winner. My horse really dug in. It was a great horse race.”

BOB BAFFERT (Arabian Knight, winner) – “Those two horses (Arabian Knight and Geaux Rocket Ride) are really good horses. The wire couldn’t come soon enough. I know it was crazy to come back here and run him at a mile and a quarter but if you/’re going to get beat, I’d rather get beat in a Grade I. I loved the way he digs and fought and he’s going to get better.

FRACTIONS: :23.35, :46.60, 1:11.42, 1:36.83  and a final time of 2:03.19

The victory was the third of the meet for rider Prat and the sixth for trainer Baffert.

The stakes win in the FanDuel Pacific Classic was the third in the race for Prat and his 89th overall at Del Mar, ninth most among all riders.

The stakes win in the FanDuel Pacific Classic was the record seventh in the race for trainer Baffert. He now has 162 stakes wins at Del Mar, far and away the most by any trainer.

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