Pacific Classic: Expert Picks, Looking Back

September 2, 2023

2023 FanDuel Racing Pacific Classic Trophy (Benoit Photo)

Del Mar Pacific Classic Media Survey 2023
• Looking Back On Past Pacific Classics

Del Mar Stable Notes by Jim Charvat

DEL MAR, Calif.—The experts have spoken. Here’s our annual random survey of media members and their choices for this year’s G1 FanDuel Racing Pacific Classic.

Art WilsonSo. Cal. News Group: ARABIAN KNIGHT – “Finished 3rd in Haskell off a six-month layoff. Baffert will have him ready.”

Arabian Knight in a Santa Anita gallop on July 29 (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Dan SmithDel Mar Thoroughbred Club – ARABIAN KNIGHT – “Talented 3-year-old. Should get ideal trip from outside. Also has Flavien Prat.

Jon LindoThoroughbred L.A. Radio Show: GEAUX ROCKET RIDE – “3-year-old seems to be developing at the right time.”

Brad FreeDaily Racing Form: GEAUX ROCKET RIDE – “Big win in Haskell; 3-year-olds hold the advantage in Pacific Classic”

Eddie WilsonSo. Cal News Group: SKINNER – “Not ready to give up on him yet. Bred to love distance and he’ll be grinding it out late.”

Next-out Haskell champ Geaux Rocket Ride wins the Affirmed June 4 at Santa Anita (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Kurt HooverFanDuel TV: SLOW DOWN ANDY – “Big improvement in last, should get a good trip. Has run well every start at Del Mar.”

Ken DavisEquibase: DEFUNDED – “Should be able to track just off the pace.”

Bob Ike, Bob Ike Picks.com: ARABIAN KNIGHT – “Looks like speed of the speed and training very well.”

Steve AndersenDaily Racing Form: GEAUX ROCKET RIDE

Frank ScatoniDMTC: SLOW DOWN ANDY – “Better than looked in prep (G2 San Diego)”

Looking Back On Past Pacific Classics

The stage is set for the G1 FanDuel Racing Pacific Classic. What better time to look back at some of the memorable Pacific Classic races.

1993, 30 Years Ago – BERTRANDO, with Gary Stevens aboard, takes them wire-to-wire in the third running and sets a track record of 1:59.20, giving trainer Bobby Frankel the second of his six Pacific Classic victories. Bertrando is the second Cal-bred to win the race.

1998, 25 Years Ago – FREE HOUSE, with jockey Chris McCarron up, beats the defending champion, Gentlemen, by four lengths for trainer Paco Gonzalez. Free House is the first gray to ever win the race.

2003, 20 Years Ago – CANDY RIDE, with Julie Krone in the irons, beats a four-horse field, the smallest ever for the race, while setting a track record of 1:59.11. Krone becomes the first female rider to win the race. Del Mar legend Ron McAnally trained the horse for owners Sidney and Jenny Craig.

2008, 15 Years Ago – GO BETWEEN, with Garrett Gomez in the saddle, goes off as the favorite and nails Well Armed on the wire for trainer Bill Mott. It was the second running on the new synthetic surface, and he set a new track record of 2:01.18.

2013, 10 Years Ago – GAME ON DUDE wins by 8 ½ lengths with Martin Garcia at the controls. At the time it was the largest margin of victory in the race’s 23-year history, and it was the fourth of trainer Bob Baffert’s six victories in the race.

2018, 5 Years Ago – ACCELERATE, with Joel Rosario up, wins by 12 ½ lengths to set a new record for margin of victory in the race. It was the first of trainer John Sadler’s four Classic victories, all for Hronis Racing.

Jonathan Stettin is a New York Legend. He's been a Horseplayer, earning his living at the track, since he was 19 years old. @jonathanstettin

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