News and STORIES

TVG Pacific Classic Highlights a Stakes Laden Saturday at Del Mar

Author: Chris Adams
Published: Wednesday August 18, 2021

Nine Graded Stakes races have been carded for Saturday at various tracks around North America. Del Mar alone accounts for six of them.

Saturday’s Del Mar Graded Stakes

Del Mar Handicap (Grade 2)

The Del Mar Handicap will take place over the turf at a distance of 11 furlongs and is featured as part of the Breeder’s Cup “Win and You’re In” series. Probables for the race include two last out winners. United last won the Grade 2 Eddie Read while Acclimate comes out of a victory in the Grade 3 San Juan Capistrano Stakes. Other prominent runners are Arklow for Brad Cox and a pair from the Phil D’Amato barn in Count Again and Red King.

Given that the race is a handicap event, horses will be assigned to carry different weights based in an effort to level the playing field. Handicappers will need to not the weight carried when determining selections for the race.

Del Mar Oaks (Grade 1)

Like the handicap, the Del Mar Oaks will be conducted at 11 furlongs over the turf course. However, this race is only for 3 year old fillies. Probables include the 1st, 2nd, and 4th place finishers from the Grade 2 San Clemente in Madone, Going Global, and Karakatsie respectively.

Moraz will return in this spot as well. She’s been off since May when she finished 11th in the Kentucky Oaks. Chad Brown will also be shipping a runner to this spot in Fluffy Socks who was last seen running 2nd in the Grade 3 Lake George.

Del Mar Mile (Grade 2)

The list of probables for the turf mile event is a short one. At the top of the markets will inevitably be Mo Forza, winner of the Grade 2 City of Hope Mile and Smooth Like Strait who ran 2nd in the Grade 2 Eddie Read. Other entrants include Wicker Stakes winner Neptune’s Storm and Hit the Road who finished 5th last out in the Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile. Count Again is crossed entered here as well so may choose to run this race instead of the Handicap. 

Torrey Pines (Grade 3)

The one mile dirt race known as the Torrey Pines Stakes has 7 listed probables. Among them are 5 winners from various conditions. Sea Dreamer broke her maiden last out at Del Mar. Private Mission and Lady Mystify both come off allowance optional claiming victories on the California circuit. I’m So Anna enters off a win in the restricted Fleet Treat stakes where she beat fellow competitor Closing Remarks

The most impressive performance last out comes from a Distorted Humor filly named Soothsay. The Richard Mandella trainee was last seen at Indiana Grand where she took down the Grade 3 Indiana Oaks.

TVG Pacific Classic (Grade 1)

In the second “Win and You’re In” on Saturday’s card, the older males will be running on the Del Mar main track. It is the very same track that many of these horses will hope to return to at year’s end to run in the Breeder’s Cup Classic.

Winner of the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap, Express Train, was installed as a tepid 3-1 favorite. Breaking to his inside will be the third place finisher from that race in Royal Ship. Tripoli, who finished between them in the San Diego, was placed at 5-1 after drawing the rail.

Other horses at 5-1 or better on the morning line are Grade 3 Cougar 2 winner Tizamagician, Grade 3 Monmouth Cup winner Dr. Post, and Grade 2 Californian third place finisher Independence Hall.

Saturday’s Saratoga Graded Stakes

Lake Placid (Grade 2)

Winner of the Grade 3 Lake George, Technical Analysis is pointed for this turf route race. She will be joined by fellow last out stakes winner in Por Que No who last won the Boiling Springs. Bill Mott will likely send out Lovestruck in this spot after her disappointing 8th last out in the Wild Applause. Plum Ali finished fourth in the Saratoga Oaks and will come back in this spot for Christophe Clement who has been very successful on turf at Saratoga over the last couple years. 

Spanish Loveaffair for Mark Casse is the only horse exiting a Grade 1 try. However, in that Grade 1, the Belmont Oaks, she was well beaten finishing 8th.

Alabama (Grade 1)

The top 3 year old fillies return here for what is looking like a really fun race to watch. The top 3 horses from the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks return to do battle here. Maracuja pulled a huge upset in that race over Malathaat who was undefeated until that point. Finishing behind them was Clairiere who is also slated to return here.

Joining them will be 2 other graded stakes winners in Crazy Beautiful (Grade 3 Delaware Oaks) and Army Wife (Grade 3 Iowa Oaks). Rounding out the field will be Will’s Secret who finished 6th in the Indiana Oaks and Played Hard who last won an allowance at Saratoga.

Saturday’s Monmouth Graded Stakes

Philip H. Iselin (Grade 3)

The lone graded stakes from Monmouth this weekend is the Philip H. Iselin for older horses running a route of ground over the main track. The race is top heavy with some recognizable names that will likely take a lion’s share of the money.

Bill Mott will send out Tacitus who last raced in Saudi Arabia where he finished 7th. This group should be a cut below though. Code of Honor was last seen in Florida at the Pegasus World Cup. The Shug McGaughey trainee finished 5th in the Grade 1 event.

Phat Man will also likely go here after finishing 1st in the Battery Park listed stakes. After the top 3 the field of 11 includes a number of honest restricted stakes runners and high end allowance horses. 

Handicapping the Races

As of the writing of this article all entries, with the exception of the TVG Pacific Classic are listed as probables and subject to scratch or withdrawal from consideration. For handicapping tips once fields have been drawn, check out Daily Horse Picks premium handicapping content.