Pletcher-trained Dr Post likely for TVG Pacific Classic

August 12, 2021

Prat’s heart’ is out West; Rideforthecause favored in CTT & TOC; Seven upcoming graded stakes; Del Mar by the numbers

DEL MAR, Calif.—Dr Post, a 4-year-old son of Quality Road trained by Todd Pletcher is a strong candidate to ship in from the East Coast to run in the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic a week from Saturday.

Owned by the St. Elias Stable of Vincent Viola, whose sports-related endeavors include ownership of the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers, Dr Post has four wins in nine career starts and earnings of $700,635.

A $400,000 purchase at the Keeneland September sale in 2018, Dr Post ran once as a 2-year-old before going through a five-race campaign in 2020 that featured a victory in the $75,000 Unbridled Stakes at Gulfstream Park, runner-up to Tiz the Law in the Belmont Stakes – run as the first leg of the Triple Crown series – third to Authentic in the Haskell and fourth in the Jim Dandy.

His 2021 campaign has been comprised of wins in two Grade III events – the Westchester Stakes at Belmont Park in May and Monmouth Cup in July – around a fifth in the Metropolitan Mile Handicap in June at Belmont Park. The TVG Pacific Classic will be the first race west of New Jersey for Dr Post, who has been training at Saratoga, and also his first at the 1 ¼-mile distance.

Del Mar vice president, racing and racing secretary David Jerkens said that the first likely confirmation of an out-of-state shipper for the signature event of the summer meeting – trainer Dallas Stewart has shown interest in sending 5-year-old Chess Chief in from Saratoga – was good, but not surprising, news.

“He’s been under consideration all along,” Jerkens said.

Again, Prat has business in the East—but his heart’s out West

Leading jockey Flavien Prat has five scheduled mounts on today’s eight-race program and seven on Friday’s eight-race card here.

He’ll be at Arlington Park in Chicago on Saturday to ride some major stakes races for trainer Chad Brown on what used to be known as Arlington Million Day. Prat has the call on 6-5 morning line favorite Domestic Spending for Brown in the $600,000 Mister D. Stakes, the former Million which was reduced in purse and renamed for Arlington patriarch Richard Duchossois. He’ll also ride Lemista (5-1) in the longstanding, $400,000 Beverly D. which is named for Duchossois’ wife.

For Del Mar/Southern California circuit fans who see Prat’s soirees as reconnaissance for an eventual move east – relax. He’ll be back Sunday, be in demand for the seven stakes on the August 20-22 cards at Del Mar and says he doesn’t have the itch to make a major move.

“You never say never,” Prat said this morning while making his stable area rounds. “But as of right now, I’m really happy here. There’s a risk if I would do that and there’s no reason to move now. I’m glad to have these opportunities knowing I can take a plane and be away one day but back (to ride) the next.”

Rideforthecause favored in Saturday’s CTT and TOC Stakes

Mike McCarthy-trained Rideforthecause, a 5-year-old daughter of Candy Ride owned by Alpha Delta Stables was tabbed as a narrow favorite in a field of eight for Saturday’s $80,000 CTT and TOC overnight stakes, a 1 3/8-mile turf marathon for older fillies and mares.

Rideforthecause (5-2), Neige Blanche (3-1) and Tapwater (3-1) battled through 1 ½ miles in the Grade III Santa Barbara Stakes at Santa Anita on May 8 with Neige Blanch prevailing by a nose over Rideforthecause. In the 1 ¼-mile Possibly Perfect a month later, it was Rideforthecause winning with Neige Blanche three-quarters of a length back in third.

Here’s the full field for the CTT & TOC from the rail out with riders and morning line odds:

1. Neige Blanche (Juan Hernandez, 3-1)
2. Crystalle (Abel Cedillo, 15-1)
3. Catch the Eye (Geovanni Franco, 30-1)
4. Tapwater (Umberto Rispoli, 3-1)
5. Rideforthecause (Mario Gutierrez, 5-2)
6. Ippodamia’s Girl (Joe Bravo, 4-1)
7. Red Lark (Mike Smith, 6-1)
8. Global Brand (Drayden Van Dyke, 12-1).

Seven upcoming graded stakes close Thursday at Midnight

Seven major stakes – including the Grade I, $1 million TVG Pacific Classic – close for nominations tonight at midnight.

The stakes and their running dates are:

Grade III, $100,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap (runs Friday, Aug. 20)

Grade III, $100,000 Green Flash Handicap (runs Saturday, Aug. 21)

Grade III, $100,000 Torrey Pines Stakes (runs Saturday, Aug. 21)

Grade II, $300,000 Del Mar Handicap by The Japan Racing Association (runs Saturday, Aug. 21)

Grade II, $300,000 Del Mar Mile (runs Saturday, Aug. 21)

Grade I, $300,000 Del Mar Oaks (runs Saturday, Aug. 21)

Grade I, $1,000,000 TVG Pacific Classic (runs Saturday, Aug. 21)

The 31st running of the TVG Pacific Classic is for 3-year-olds and up at the classic distance of a mile and one quarter. It is designated as a “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race giving its winner a guaranteed all-fees-paid admission to the $6-million Breeders’ Cup Classic, which will be run at Del Mar on Saturday, November 6.

Del Mar Racing by the numbers four weeks into the meet

Del Mar vice president, racing and racing secretary David Jerkens puts together a weekly totaling of facts and figures to get a feel for how racing is faring at Del Mar.

Here are his numbers through the first four weeks of action at the seaside oval:

2021: (14 Days)

Total Races: 135

Total Starters: 1167

Field Size: 8.64

2020: (13 Days)

Total Races: 137

Total Starters: 1138

Field Size: 8.31

Turf Racing:

Total Races: 57

Total Starters: 533

Field Size: 9.35

Last year 61 turf races were run at this point of the meet with a field size of 8.90. 17 turf sprints have been run thus far which equals last year’s total after week 4.

Ship & Win:

Thru Sunday August 8th (Day 14)

124 Ship & Win Horses have started; 5 of those have had two starts.

42 horses who qualified for Santa Anita’s program have started at Del Mar. 5 of those have two starts.

25 Ship & Win horses have won their respective races, including La Jolla winner Zoffarelli on Sunday.

Field size in stakes races has shown an increase from 7.06 to 7.69 thus far this meet. We have run the exact number (30) of maiden allowance races & maiden claiming races (19) through four weeks as last year.

1109 total horses have started at the meet.

Leading Meet:


Flavien Prat 21 for 73

Juan Hernandez 17 for 95

Abel Cedillo (leads all jockeys in mounts) 14 for 97

Umberto Rispoli 13 for 85

Joe Bravo 9 for 55


Peter Miller 11 for 64

Bob Baffert 8 for 31

Mark Glatt 8 for 36

Doug O’Neill (leads all trainers in starts) 5 for 67

Richard Baltas 5 for 47

Phil D’Amato 5 for 47

Pete Eurton 5 for 20

CLOSERS – Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit worked six furlongs in 1:11.80 this morning for trainer Bob Baffert, best of three officially timed at the distance. The exercise was done in tandem with stablemate Azul Coast, who was given a bullet :59.60 for five furlongs, co-best of 29 at the distance … Notable turf works this morning: Mucho Unusual (3f, :37.00); Master Piece (4f, :47.20); Nasty (5f, 1:01.40) … TVG Pacific Classic possibility Classier worked five furlongs for Baffert on Monday in :59.80; other Classic probables tentatively scheduled to work soon are Tripoli for John Sadler (Friday), Express Train for John Sherriffs (Sunday), Tizamagician (Saturday or Sunday) and Royal Ship (Monday) for trainer Richard Mandella … Happy birthday, No. 64, to trainer Peter Eurton, who has Direct Line (4-1) in today’s first race with potential to get the celebrating started. 

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Press Release

Photo: Dr Post wins the Grade 3 Monmouth Cup at Monmouth Park July 17, 2021 Photo by Eric Kalet

Another great piece by Jonathan!

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