G1 Pacific Classic Shaping Up 

August 26, 2023

Pacific Classic Trophy (Benoit Photo)

• Tamara Raises Hopes Of A Second Coming Of Beholder
• Carmathon Raises Money For Racehorse Aftercare

Del Mar Stable Notes By Jim Charvat/Edited

DEL MAR, Calif.—Full fields have been commonplace during the summer meet so it’s only fitting that Del Mar’s marquee race would have a full field or close to it.

Nominations closed Thursday for the 33rd running of the G1 FanDuel Racing Pacific Classic at Del Mar September 2. Fifteen horses have been nominated for the mile and a quarter event, a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Of the nominees, three are 3-year-olds facing older horses for the first time; six have won a race at Del Mar; four have won Grade I’s, and one is a former winner of the Pacific Classic.

Trainer Bob Baffert has nominated three of his horses to the race. Doug O’Neill and John Sadler have two each. All but one nominees are based here at the seaside oval.

The trio of 3-year-olds are Zedan Racing Stables’ Arabian Knight; Pin Oak Stud’s Geaux Rocket Ride and C R K Stable’s Skinner.

Arabian Knight is trained by Baffert. The colt raised eyebrows earlier this year with a dominating victory in the G3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park in January. But then he went on the shelf, missing the Triple Crown. He came back in the G1 Haskell at Monmouth Park last month and finished third.

Geaux Rocket Ride won the Haskell in what many considered his breakout race. The son of Candy Ride is trained by Richard Mandella. He has won three of his four starts, the only blemish a runner-up finish to Practical Move in the G2 San Felipe in March.

Skinner getting in a pre- Ky. Derby work. (JennyPhoto/Past The Wire)

Skinner is trained by John Shirreffs. The son of Curlin has only won once in six starts but he finished third in both the San Felipe and the G1 Santa Anita Derby and then was runner-up to Reincarnate in the $125,000 Los Alamitos Derby.

There was only one potential shipper on the nominations list, and he ran Friday night in the Charles Town Classic so Giddyup Stables and Tom Lambro’s Call Me Fast, a Dialed In colt out of the Michael Puhich barn, will not be making the trip.

Otherwise, everyone else is familiar with the surroundings. Azul Coast and Defunded are the other two Baffert trainees. They are both owned by Pegram, Watson or Weitman and both have won at Del Mar: Azul Coast took the 2021 Native Diver, while Defunded won the 2022 version.

Also familiar with the Del Mar winner’s circle are Buckendorf, Lambert or Rodriguez et al’s Order and Law, winner of the G3 Cougar II last month; Peacock Family Holdings’ Senor Buscador, who won the G2 San Diego; Reddam Racings’ Slow Down Andy, winner of last year’s Del Mar Derby, and Hronis Racing’s Tripoli, the 2021 Pacific Classic winner.

The Grade I winners nominated for this year’s Pacific Classic are Tripoli, Defunded, who won the Hollywood Gold Cup two races back, Geaux Rocket Ride, and the Santa Anita Handicap winner, Steve Moger’s Stilleto Boy from the Ed Moger, Jr. barn.

Kangaroo Court (outside) and American Admiral (inside) workout at Santa Anita. (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

The other nominees are R3 Racing’s Katonah, winner of the Pleasanton Mile. O’Neill says that colt was battling foot issues earlier this month, but they appear to have cleared up; Don Alberto Stable’s Piroli from the Michael McCarthy barn, runner-up to Defunded in the Hollywood Gold Cup, and Donnie Crevier’s American Admiral, an impressive looking son of American Pharoah trained by Tim Yakteen.

Bee Zee, Babington or Hudson et al’s Missed the Cut was nominated for the Classic, but Sadler says he will go instead in the G2 Del Mar Handicap.

Entries for the Pacific Classic will be drawn Tuesday afternoon at the Brigantine Restaurant in Del Mar.

Tamara Raises Hopes Of A Second Coming Of Beholder

Few things capture the racing world’s fancy more than watching the prodigy of a Hall of Fame racehorse. There’s something about the possibility the offspring will grow up to be just like their famous father or mother that teases the imagination.

When the offspring goes out and wins their debut, it always creates a buzz and if that “baby” is the spitting image of their world class parent, it just feeds the speculation. As Yogi Berra once said: ‘It’s déjà vu all over again.’

Last Saturday a horse named Tamara (pronounced Tah-mare-ah), a 2-year-old brown bay filly by Bolt d’Oro, won her debut at Del Mar by 2 ¼ lengths. Bolt d’Oro was a very good horse in his own right but that’s not the connection that has the racing world talking this week. It’s her mother, Hall of Fame inductee Beholder.

Take Tamara and put her mom’s rider, Mike Smith, on her back wearing the bright orange silks of Spendthrift Farm and one is instantly transported back to the days Beholder ruled the racing world.

That was 2012 to 2016 during which time she won four Eclipse Awards and three Breeders’ Cups. She would win 18 of her 26 starts and collect over $6 million in earnings. Pretty hard act to follow for a precocious 2-year-old filly.

“She’s grown up in the last few months into a beautiful filly,” her trainer Richard Mandella says. “She was a little backwards-looking three months ago, but now she’s grown into herself nicely.”

Mandella also trained Beholder. He says Tamara came out of the race in good order and they’re going to look at the G1 Del Mar Debutante September 9 on closing weekend.

“We don’t know if she’d be back in time for that,” Mandella says, “but if I had to guess today, I’d say she would. We’ll see how she gets back to the track.”

Beholder ran second to Executiveprivilege in the 2012 Del Mar Debutante. Missed by a nose.

CARMAthon Raising Money For Racehorse Aftercare

CARMA, the non-profit organization that aids in finding homes for former racehorses, is holding its annual ‘Carmathon’ all day today.

The group is hoping to raise at least $150,000 to fund CARMA’s grant program, which offers help to over 20 Thoroughbred aftercare charities around the state. It’s the fourth year of the virtual fundraiser. Last year’s event raised over $300,000. It will be broadcast live on Fan Duel Racing.

If you wish to make a donation, just go to their website (carma4horses.org) and follow the links.

COOLING OUT  

Eddie’s New Dream came back from her win in the $150,000 Solana Beach Friday in good order. She will be pointed to “Whatever the next Cal Bred mare stake is,” owner and breeder J. Paul Reddam says. “Dirt, turf, long, short. I don’t think it really matters. She does it all.” The California Distaff, down the hill at Santa Anita on October 14, would be the next race that fits the bill… 

Jockey Antonio Fresu has been on a bit of tear this week. He posted a riding triple on Thursday and came back Friday and won two more, increasing his total for the meet to 18 and vaulting into third place in the jockey standings. He’s two wins behind Umberto Rispoli in second and nine behind the leader, Juan Hernandez… 

Notable works on Saturday: Dirt – American Admiral (4f, :48.40); Maltese Falcon (4f, :48.80); Piroli (4f, :47.60); Arabian Knight (5f, :59.60); Offlee Naughty (1:01.20); Skinner (5f, 1:00.60); Stilleto Boy (5f, 1:00.60), and Slow Down Andy (6f, 1:13.60). A total of 259 horses put in official works. 

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