DEL MAR, Calif.— We are still two weeks away from the deadline for nominations to this year’s G1 TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar but it’s already shaping up to be a must-see event. Of course, trainer John Sadler has made no secrets about running his superstar horse Hronis Racing, et al’s Flightline in the $1 million event on September 3.
Which then raises the question…will the undefeated son of Tapit scare off any potential contenders to the race? If trainer Richard Mandella is any indication, the answer is ‘no.’ Mandella has indicated he may point three of his big guns to the TVG Pacific Classic, a “Win & You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland this year.
Fox Hill Farms and Sienna Farm’s Royal Ship, winner of the G2 San Diego, the local prep for the TVG Pacific Classic, is one of those three possibles. The Brazilian-bred gelding has been keeping some lofty company of late. Eleven of his last 12 races have been graded stakes, dating back to the 2020 G2 Del Mar Mile.
MyRacehorse and Spendthrift Farm’s Tizamagician may also represent the Mandella barn in the Classic off of a runner-up finish to Heywoods Beach in the G3 Cougar II at Del Mar on July 24, a race Tizamagician won in 2021.
Rounding out the Mandella trio, Jay Em Ess Stable’s Extra Hope also may get a shot in the Classic. The son of Shanghai Bobby was third behind his stablemate in the Cougar II and has not visited the winners circle since capturing the 2020 G3 Native Diver at Del Mar.
Trainer Bob Baffert has said he will point his Dubai World Cup winner, Commonwealth Thoroughbreds, et al’s Country Grammer, to the TVG Pacific Classic. The son of Tonalist finished second to Royal Ship in the San Diego July 30.
And trainer John Shirreffs has hinted about running his Santa Anita Handicap winner, C R K Stable’s Express Train, in the Classic. The son of Union Rags last ran second to Stilleto Boy in the G2 Californian at Santa Anita in April.
More nominations for the TVG Pacific Classic are expected to trickle in by next weekend. Nominations close for the big race on Thursday, August 25.
Notes: Eclipse Award winner Ce Ce worked Saturday morning at Del Mar. The Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner went five furlongs in :59.60, fourth best out of 76 works at the distance. Trainer Mike McCarthy says he is pointing the mare to the G1 Ballerina at Saratoga August 28…Notable works on Sunday: Dirt – American Theorem (4f, :49.40); Neige Blanche (4f, 47.60); C Z Rocket (5f, 1:01.00); Edgeway (5f, :58.80), and Country Grammer (6f, 1:12.20). Turf – Balnikhov (5f, 1:05.40); Bellabel (5f, 1:03.40); Cairo Memories (5f, 1:01.40); Count Again (5f, 1:02.20), and Going To Vegas (5f, 1:02.80). A total of 206 horses worked on the dirt, 44 worked on the turf.
DMTC Press Release
Photo: Flightline, who looks to make his 5th career start in the G1 TVG Pacific Classic (Benoit Photo)