Published Sunday, August 24th, 2014   ( 7 years ago )

Stable Notes Day 29

By Hank Wesch


PLAYING THE ‘WHAT IF’ GAME FOR THE TVG PACIFIC CLASSIC

We read through the press kit for the 24th running of the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic and skimmed the record book (to  save you time and bother, no thanks necessary) and came up with the following tidbits, in post position order:

If Irish Surf wins: Jockey Elvis Trujillo would become the sixth rider in history to win with a first mount.  Patrick Valenzuela took the inaugural Classic with Best Pal, Garrett Gomez won with Skimming in 2000, Mike Smith with Came Home in 2002, Julie Krone with Candy Ride in 2003 and Richard Migliore aboard Student Council in 2007 … Krone and Migliore retired with perfect, 1-for-1 Pacific Classic records.

If Imperative wins: Would get jockey Kent Desormeaux back to the Pacific Classic winners’circle for the first time in 22 years that have encompassed nine mounts, the most recent in 2005 … Desormeaux was second aboard Twilight Agenda in 1991, won with Missionary Ridge in 1992 and had another second and three third-place finishes before relocating to the Midwest and East the last eight years.

If Ice Cream Truck wins:  Tiago Pereira would become the sixth rider to have a race debut win (See Elvis Trujillo, Irish Surf) … Ice Cream Truck would be the first Pacific Classic winner sired by a Pacific Classic winner. Pleasantly Perfect was victorious in 2004 … Would be the lowest-priced former claiming purchase ($20,000 this spring) to win. Lava Man was taken for $50,000 at Del Mar three years before his Classic triumph.  

If Game On Dude wins: He would become the fourth to repeat as champion joining Tinners Way (1994-95), Skimming (2000-2001) and Richard’s Kid (2009-2010) …Bob Baffert would move within one of Bobby Frankel (6) for the most victories by a trainer … Baffert is already second to Frankel for number of starters with 17 to Frankel’s 19.

If You Know I Know wins:  You Know I Know would become the fifth gelding to win, following Best Pal (1991), General Meeting (1999), Lava Man (2006) and Game On Dude (2013)

If Majestic Harbor wins: The Gold Cup at Santa Anita winner would become the fourth to follow up a Gold Cup victory with one in the Pacific Classic. Gentlemen (1997), Lava Man (2006) and Game On Dude (2013) took the Hollywood Gold Cup at Hollywood Park.

If Toast of New York wins: He would become the first international shipper to win the race and the fifth 3-year-old to defeat elders. Best Pal, General Challenge, Came Home and Dullahan were the others.

If Clubhouse Ride wins: It would be a crowning achievement and reward for persistence for a horse that has finished second to Game On Dude three times and Majestic Harbor once in major stakes the last 18 months while accumulating earnings of  over $1 million.

If Mystery Train wins: He would become the third Argentine-bred to win the Classic, following Gentlemen (1997) and Candy Ride (2003) and the first to do so in an initial U.S. start.

If Shared Belief wins: He would become the fifth 3-year-old to prevail (See Toast of New York) and the first to follow an Eclipse Award 2-year-old season with a Pacific Classic victory.

WHAT’S IN A NAME -- The Grade I $1 million TVG Pacific Classic was inaugurated in l991 as Del Mar’s signature event of the summer season, contested at the American championship distance of a mile and one-quarter. Three-year-old Best Pal won the first running for breeder and owner John and Betty Mabee of  Golden Eagle Farm. 


CAUSE OF FRAC DADDY INJURY IS UNDETERMINED

Late Saturday morning, Frac Daddy was scratched from the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic due to a tendon injury. Exactly how the injury occurred remained something of a mystery a day later.

“Honestly, we don’t really know what happened,” said Blake Heap, in charge of the preparations here for Kentucky-based trainer Ken McPeek. “We know he was fine two days ago. Then (Friday night) the guys who live here heard some banging and thrashing and when they got near (the stall) they saw the webbing was moving.

“The horse was back in the corner of the stall when they got there, but we think he got his leg up over the webbing.”

A tendon in the left front leg that had been the desired “cold and tight,” earlier was warm and swollen. A preliminary scan of the injury was done here. Results are pending. Frac Daddy, a son of Scat Daddy owned by the Magic City Thoroughbred Partners of Carter Stewart of Billings, Mont., and minority partner Ken Schlenker, will be shippe  to Kentucky on Monday for further tests and determination of treatment. McPeek said such an injury could be career threatening and, if so, Frac Daddy would stand at stud in Kentucky.


STRONG ‘BELIEF’ FROM ‘EXPERTS,” BUT ‘SURF’S UP FOR SOME 

A sampling of TVG Pacific Classic selections from an eclectic group of “experts” randomly chosen based mainly on availability and willingness to participate. (In a similar poll in 2013, 10 out of 20 correctly selected Game On Dude.

Doug O’Neill, trainer – Irish Surf. “Dan Hendricks shocks the world.”
Gary Stevens, Hall of Fame jockey – Shared Belief.  “But I also like Majestic Harbor a lot.”
Jeff Bloom, owner – Shared Belief.
Richard Mandella, Hall of Fame trainer – Shared Belief. “A fresh face and a really good horse.”
Peter Eurton, trainer – Game On Dude. “I’m rooting for the old guy, but  my daughter’s pick is the South American horse (Mystery Train).
Madeline Auerbach, CHRB member – Clubhouse Ride. “If I’m picking with my heart, I’d love to see him win.”
Harris Auerbach, horse owner – Shared Belief.
Art Sherman, trainer – Shared Belief. “He was in my barn for the Los Alamitos Derby. He’s a nice horse and Jerry (Hollendorfer) and I have been friends for years.”
Steve Andersen, Daily Racing Form – Majestic Harbor. “He’s in excellent form.”
Matt Dinerman,  Press Box Steward, -- Shared Belief. “He’s the real deal.”
Phil D’Amato, trainer – Irish Surf.
Eric Sondheimer, Los Angeles Times – Shared Belief. “The 3-year-olds are better than a lot of people think and Mike Smith knows what he’s doing.”
Jim Cassidy, trainer – Shared Belief. “I’d like to see Mike Smith win something.”
Jeff Reichert, clocker – Majestic Harbor.
Toby Turrell, clocker – Shared Belief.
Brad Free, Daily Racing Form – Game On Dude. “In pace-pressing/front-running fashion.
Jeff Nahill, syndicated and UT San Diego handicapper – Majestic Harbor. “I see a pace meltdown up front and he gets the benefit.”
Art Wilson, Los Angeles Daily News/ Daily News Group – Majestic Harbor. “He’s got a good post and it looks like he can get a good trip.”
Michael Hepworth, turf writer – Shared Belief.
Ed Zieralski, UT San Diego -- Irish Surf.
Jay Privman, Daily Racing Form – Mystery Train.


NOT FAVORED? NO PROBLEM FOR TOM’S TRIBUTE AND BIG MACHER

Tom’s Tribute won the Grade I, $300,000 Eddie Read Stakes on the opening weekend of  the meeting. He’s the second choice on the morning line as Obviously goes for a third straight win in Sunday’s $250,000 Grade II Del Mar Mile.

Big Macher won the Grade I $300,000 Bing Crosby Handicap, defeating Goldencents, on the second weekend of the meeting. He’s the morning-line third choice as Fed Biz goes for a repeat in Sunday’s Grade II $250,000 Pat O’Brien Stakes.

But the odds are only numbers to trainers Jim Cassidy of Tom’s Tribute and Richard Baltas of Big Macher.

“It’s Obviously according to all the geniuses, but everything is fine with my horse, so we’ll see,” Cassidy said.

“Fed Biz (2-1) should be the favorite,” said Baltas. “It (situation) is perfect. I love being the underdog.”

Baltas listed several possibilities for Big Macher following the Bing Crosby, including shipping to New York. But ultimately decided upon the Pat O’Brien.

“The fact that he was training great over the track, he has won at the (7 furlong) distance and that we didn’t have to ship were all factors,” Baltas said. “Hopefully,  we made the right decision.”

WHAT’S IN A NAME -- The Del Mar Mile, inaugurated in l987, annually attracts stars of one of the most competitive divisions in racing, older Thoroughbreds matching strides at  one mile on the infield Jimmy Durante Turf Course.

WHAT’S IN A NAME -- The Pat O’Brien Stakes honors the memory of the great film actor who, along with friend and fellow show business star Bing Crosby, founded Del Mar in the late thirties.  Today marks the 29th running of the race which was inaugurated in 1986.


DEL MAR HANDICAP TOP THREE EXIT IN GOOD SHAPE

Big John B, Bench Light and Bright Thought, the top three finishers in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Del Mar Handicap, all came out of the race fine, their trainers reported.

Phil D’Amato, who conditions both Big John B and Bright Thought, said following the Handicap -- a “Win And You’re In” Qualifier for the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf on November 1 at Santa Anita – that the Breeders’ Cup would now be the target for Big John B.

A $50,000 claim by trainer Michael Stidham for owner Michael House last spring at Keeneland, Big John B. scored his second straight win since being transferred to D’Amato for racing on the West Coast.

“Every race he improves and his confidence is through the roof now,” D’Amato said.

D’Amato was also pleased with Bright Thought.

“He ran a really good race all things considered,” D’Amato said. “He had to make three or four moves and didn’t get beat that much for second.”

Trainer Mike Pender noted that Bench Light “ran into a roadblock from the half mile to quarter pole which nearly cost him second.

“As a Cal-bred, we’ve got plenty of options with him from here,” Pender said via text.


TRAKUS FACTS

Big John B covered the shortest trip in Saturday’s Del Mar Handicap. Bench Light, second beaten 5 ¼ lengths, covered 41 feet more than the winner, while fourth home Starspangled Heat went 54 feet more. Those two distances equated to roughly 4 ¾ and 6 ¼ lengths, respectively.


CLOSERS – Ship And Win eligible horses on Sunday’s card are: Mystery Train (10th, no bonus, stakes) and Toast of New York (10th, no bonus, stakes) … Selected works from 186 timed Sunday: Lakerville (3f, :38.00),Fashion Plate (5f, :59.40),  Iotapa (5f, 1:00.80), Rovenna (5f, 1:02.60), Skyway (5f, 1:00.40), Parranda (6f, 1:12.00), Private Zone (5f (t) 1:00.80), Soi Phet (5f (t) 1:01.80)


DEL MAR STATISTICS

 Jockey Standings

(Current Through Saturday, August 23, 2014 Inclusive)

Jockey

Mts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

Money Won

Rafael Bejarano

141

25

28

26

18%

$1,674,472

Kent Desormeaux

118

23

19

17

19%

$1,535,180

Elvis Trujillo

148

22

17

24

15%

$1,231,440

Mike Smith

85

20

8

10

24%

$1,604,104

Tyler Baze

159

16

22

20

10%

$1,192,382

Joseph Talamo

157

16

21

18

10%

$1,326,082

Drayden Van Dyke

136

16

20

19

12%

$955,898

Fernando Perez

120

15

10

5

13%

$713,232

Victor Espinoza

99

13

10

10

13%

$940,866

Martin Garcia

96

12

9

14

13%

$849,770

 

Trainer Standings

(Current Through Saturday, August 23, 2014 Inclusive)

Trainer

Sts

1st

2nd

3rd

Win%

Money Won

Jerry Hollendorfer

62

13

14

7

21%

$901,738

Peter Miller

95

12

9

16

13%

$685,102

John W. Sadler

85

11

10

16

13%

$920,288

Doug F. O'Neill

99

10

13

16

10%

$762,016

Robert B. Hess, Jr.

41

9

6

4

22%

$353,500

Philip D'Amato

47

8

4

11

17%

$622,600

Mike Puype

46

7

5

8

15%

$368,082

Vann Belvoir

35

7

2

3

20%

$187,350

Ronald W. Ellis

22

7

1

4

32%

$283,190

Mark Glatt

46

6

9

8

13%

$474,462

  

Winning Favorites Report

(Current Through Saturday, August 23, 2014 Inclusive)

Winning favorites -- 71 out of 247 -- 28.74%

Winning favorites on Polytrack -- 56 out of 194 -- 28.87%

Winning favorites on turf -- 15 out of 53 -- 28.30%

Winning odds-on favorites -- 6 out of 14 -- 42.86%

In-the-Money favorites -- 149 out of 247 -- 60.32%

In-the-Money odds-on favorites -- 10 out of 14 -- 71.43%


Sunday, August 24, 2014 Contact: Dan Smith 858-792-4226/Hank Wesch 858-755-1141 ext. 3793