Flightline taking the Pacific Classic at Del Mar. Photo by Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire
DMTC News/From the Wire
DEL MAR, Calif.—It was a Breeders’ Cup to remember for many of the connections who participated in racing’s biggest event after spending all or part of their summer at Del Mar this year. In addition to the 23 horses who raced or trained here in 2022, eight jockeys and 13 trainers were based at the seaside oval this summer before descending on Lexington last week. Here were some of the more notable performances…
Flightline – John Sadler – winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic: It’s safe to say Pacific Classic winner Flightline lived up his billing. After sitting close to a suicide pace set by Life Is Good, the undefeated son of Tapit pounced at the top of the lane, grabbed the lead and left the field in his wake, just like he had done in every race he’s ever run. In the end he won by 8 ¼ lengths, a Breeders’ Cup record for margin of victory in the Classic.
Blue Stripe – Marcelo Polanco – Hector Berrios – runner-up in the Distaff: The betting public seriously misjudged Blue Stripe’s chances in the Distaff, allowing the Argentinean-bred mare to go off at 24-1. Anyone who witnessed her win in the G1 Clement Hirsch at Del Mar knew she was better than that and she proved she belonged in the same class with Malathaat and Clairiere as she battled the pair to arguably the most thrilling finish of this year’s Cup, losing the head bob and settling for second.
Slow Down Andy – Doug O’Neill – Mario Gutierrez – third in the Dirt Mile: The Del Mar Derby winner laid close to the pace throughout, tipping out to the middle of the track to make his stretch run. But the winner, Cody’s Wish, and Cyberknife were already engaged in a fierce stretch long duel and ‘Andy’ was unable to reel them in.
Cave Rock – Bob Baffert – Juan Hernandez – runner-up in the Juvenile: There isn’t a horseman out there who wouldn’t take a second-place finish in any Breeders’ Cup race. But Cave Rock, winner of the Del Mar Futurity, was the heaviest bet favorite of Future All-Stars Friday and when he got run down by Forte in the Juvenile, even his trainer Bob Baffert expressed a pinch of disappointment. But Cave Rock will be back next year to compete in the Triple Crown and a chance for redemption.
C Z Rocket – Peter Miller – runner-up in the Sprint: Here was a horse who was running in allowance races at Del Mar this summer. But he’s always been a fierce competitor (just ask Whitmore) so when he posted a runner-up finish in the G2 Santa Anita Sprint Championship last month, Miller decided to give C Z a shot at a third Breeders’ Cup. He didn’t disappoint, actually taking the lead at the sixteenth pole only to get run down in the shadow of the wire by a high flying Elite Power. If nothing else, C Z can boast he outdueled last year’s sprint champion Jackie’s Warrior.
Other notable Breeders’ Cup performances by horses or connections that raced or trained at Del Mar this summer:
Taiba – Bob Baffert – Mike Smith – third in the Classic;
Ce Ce – Michael McCarthy – Victor Espinoza – fourth in the Filly & Mare Sprint;
G1 Del Mar Debutante winner And Tell Me Nolies – Peter Miller – Hector Berrios – eighth in the Juvenile Fillies;
Track record setter Speed Boat Beach – Bob Baffert – ninth in the Juvenile Turf Sprint;
Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Comanche Country – Philip D’Amato – Umberto Rispoli – seventh in the Juvenile Fillies Turf;
G3 Rancho Bernardo winner Edgeway – John Sadler – Juan Hernandez – eighth in the Filly & Mare Sprint;
G1 Bing Crosby winner American Theorem – Joe Bravo – George Papaprodoumou – eighth in the Sprint;
G3 Del Mar Juvenile Turf winner Packs A Wahlop – Jeff Mullins – Mike Smith – eighth in the Juvenile Turf;
Going to Vegas – Philip D’Amato – Umberto Rispoli – 12th in the Filly & Mare Turf;
Slammed – 12th in the Filly & Mare Sprint;
Gold Phoenix – Philip D’Amato – 10th in the Turf.
COOLING OUT: The horses remained in their stalls Tuesday and Wednesday after training was canceled at Del Mar due to the Pacific storm that pelted the region. The main track was sealed Monday afternoon after the first day of training for the fall meet. The training track is closed for the fall. Training is expected to resume Thursday…In addition to Opening Day this Friday, Del Mar also will be celebrating Veterans Day. Any uniformed service veteran will receive free entry to the track at all admission gates. Del Mar also will be honoring all its employee veterans on the racetrack after the fifth race.