DEL MAR, Calif.— The undercard for the $1 million G1 TVG Pacific Classic is stacking up to be “must-see” racing, with full fields possible and wide-open races. Four stakes races will highlight the undercard, three of them Graded.
The G2 Del Mar Handicap drew 22 nominations including last year’s winner, Astronaut. The son of Quality Road has only run twice since his upset win in the Handicap last year and has not run at all this year.
The top two finishers in the G2 Eddie Read, Master Piece and Hong Kong Harry, are nominated for the Handicap, which is run at a mile and three-eighths on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course. They’re joined by Tizamagician and Heywoods Beach, both of whom were also nominated for the TVG Pacific Classic.
22 horses have been nominated for the G2 Del Mar Mile, which is also contested on the turf. Count Again, winner of the G1 Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita on Memorial Day, heads the list. He’s joined by last year’s Pacific Classic winner, Tripoli, as well as the top 3-year-old at last year’s summer meet, None Above the Law.
Irideo, upset winner of the $100,000 Wickerr Stakes on opening weekend at Del Mar, has been nominated to the Mile along with The Chosen Vron, if he does not run in this weekend’s G2 Pat O’Brien. Hong Kong Harry and Astronaut also are nominated for the Mile
The G2 Del Mar Derby also will be contested on Pacific Classic Day. 16 3-year-old colts and geldings have been nominated for the mile and an eighth event on the grass. Balnikhov, winner of the $100,000 Oceanside Stakes on opening day at Del Mar, is joined by Cabo Spirit, another winner at Del Mar this summer. He took the G3 La Jolla earlier this month.
Mackinnon and Slow Down Andy are also nominated for the Derby. Both come from the Doug O’Neill barn and both are looking to rebound off their previous races. Mackinnon finished fourth in the Oceanside, while Slow Down Andy was runner-up to Big City Lights in the Real Good Deal Stakes at Del Mar.
Trainer Ron Ellis is also eyeing the Derby with War At Sea. The colt has won three straight including the $100,000 Cinema Stakes at Santa Anita in June.
Finally, the $125,000 Shared Belief attracted 11 nominations. There’s the Real Good Deal Stakes winner, Big City Lights. Also nominated are Armagnac with the Bob Baffert barn and one-time Kentucky Derby hopeful, Newgrange, now with trainer Phil D’Amato. Slow Down Andy also has been nominated should he not run in the Del Mar Derby, as has Taiba, who was also nominated for the Pacific Classic. The Shared Belief is run at one mile on the dirt.
DMTC Press Release
Photo: Racing at Del Mar (Benoit Photo)