Pacific Classic 2018 field remains in flux before entry deadline


Pacific Classic 2018 field remains in flux before entry deadline

Photo: Courtesy of Del Mar

With fewer than 72 hours remaining before the deadline, 10 a.m. Tuesday, to confirm entries in next Saturday’s Grade 1 TVG Pacific Classic, there’s still a lot to be determined regarding the field for the 28th running of the signature event of Del Mar summer meeting.

If it’s poker, trainer John Sadler is sitting pretty with a pair of aces – probable favorite Accelerate, winner of the Santa Anita Handicap and Gold Cup at Santa Anita, and unbeaten San Diego Handicap winner Catalina Cruiser. But Sadler says he’s only going to use one in the game.

That leaves eight other trainers, of 13 other nominated horses, to decide whether they’re in, or out, when the pot is $1 million, with $400,000 to be distributed between the second and fifth-place finishers. It’s also a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Late Friday afternoon, the racing office listed Accelerate, Beach View, Mubtaahij, Pavel, Prime Attraction, The Lieutenant and Roman Rosso as “probables.” On the “possible” list are Ann Arbor Eddie and Catalina Cruiser. Considered “doubtful” are El Huerfano, Full of Luck, Multiplier, Two Thirty Five and Unique Bella.

“I’ve nominated three, but I might only run one,” Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said Saturday morning of his trio of Dr. Dorr, Mubtaahij and Roman Rosso. Dr. Dorr and Mubtaahij had bullet works last Tuesday and would be due for another before the entry deadline.

Then there’s the Baffert-described “Mystery horse,” Roman Rosso.

An Argentine-bred son of Roman Ruler who was a Group I winner in his native country and Uruguay, the 4-year-old chestnut colt shows workouts at Southern California tracks since June, the last three here. The earner of $547,576 from five wins in eight career starts, went six furlongs in 1:14 handily on August 3, best of six at the distance, and went seven furlongs in 1:26.00 under meet-leading rider Flavien Prat on Friday.

Prat has the mount for the Classic.

Accelerate is scheduled to work “six or seven” furlongs Sunday morning under assistant trainer Juan Leyva, Sadler said. “Back-up” Catalina Cruiser went five furlongs in a minute flat on Friday.

Trainer Leonard Powell sent out Cougar II Handicap winner Beach View for a final five-furlong work Saturday morning. With exercise rider Timothy Florent up, Beach View broke five lengths behind workmate Obscure Brew at the half-mile pole and made up the distance when they hit the wire. Beach View was timed in 1:01.80.

“A nice and even work with a good strong gallop-out,” Powell said. “His usual work. He just went a mile and a half (Cougar II) so fitness is not an issue.”

Powell will meet with the Levy Racing ownership Sunday and make a decision about the Classic then. Rafael Bejarano has the mount.

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