Thursday, August 17th, 2017   ( 1 year ago )

Arrogate Seeks Redemption in $1 Million TVG Pacific Classic Saturday

Arrogate © Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

Juddmonte Farms’ Arrogate, responsible for the biggest upset in Del Mar annals when he finished an astounding fourth at odds of 1-20 in the San Diego Handicap a month ago, will be seeking redemption Saturday when he faces seven rivals in the Grade I $1 million TVG Pacific Classic, signature event of the summer meeting.

The four-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song, the leading money-winner in North American history at $17 million plus, was beaten fifteen and one-quarter lengths by Accelerate in a mystifying performance. The defeat ended a streak of seven straight victories which included brilliant wins in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational and the $10 million Dubai World Cup.

Opposing Arrogate, who will be ridden by regular rider Mike Smith, will be Royal Albert Hall, Corey Nakatani; Collected, Arrogate’s stablemate from the barn of trainer Bob Baffert who will be piloted by Martin Garcia; the aforementioned Accelerate, Victor Espinoza; Sorry Erik, Kent Desormeaux; Hard Aces, Santiago Gonzalez; Donworth, Mario Gutierrez, and Curlin Road, Flavien Prat.

All are in at 124 pounds, with the exception of three-year-old Sorry Erik who will carry 118 according to weight-for-age conditions in effect for the mile and one-quarter contest.

The TVG Pacific Classic headlines an outstanding 11-race program which also features the Grade II $250,000 Del Mar Handicap presented by The Japan Racing Association at a mile and three-eighths on the grass for older Thoroughbreds and the Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Oaks presented by The Jockey Club for three-year-old fillies at nine furlongs, also on the turf.

The TVG Pacific Classic and Del Mar Handicap are “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup qualifying races with the winners earning automatic berths in Breeders’ Cup races on November 4 at Del Mar. The TVG Pacific Classic winner will qualify for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, while the Del Mar Handicap victor will qualify for a spot in the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf.                

Thirteen grass runners are entered in the Del Mar Handicap – Liam The Charmer, Inordinate, Big John B, Editore, Itsinthepost, Monster Bea, Flamboyant, Ashleyluvssugar, He Will, Up with the Birds, Hunt, Mr. Roary and Prime Attraction. Expected to vie for favoritism are Ashleyluvssugar, the 2016 winner, and Hunt, who accounted for the Eddie Read Stakes this summer.

Fourteen fillies are entered in a wide-open Oaks – Kenda, Madam Dancealot, Blame It On Alphie, Pistol Packin Rose, Con Te Partiro, Meadowsweet, Vexatious, Kathy’s Song, Storm the Hill, Dream Dancing, Pacific Wind, Beau Recall, Tapped and Bernina Star.

The TVG Pacific Classic is scheduled as the eighth* race, while the Del Mar Handicap will fill the seventh race slot and the Del Mar Oaks is carded as the tenth race. Post time for the first race is 2 p.m.

*A previous version of this story mistakenly listed the TVG Pacific Classic as the ninth race