2022 Pacific Classic could be another classic


Flightline is undefeated in four starts (photo by Benoit)

The Pacific Classic in Del Mar has long been one of “those” races. You know, the one you circle on the calendar and always look forward to. Having featured some of the greatest Thoroughbred athletes since its inception in 1991, this mile and a quarter drive through Del Mar land is an established route to the Breeders’ Cup. Having guaranteed Grade 1 greatness for some time now, the former champions are a real who’s who in the sport.

Saturday September 3 will see another race at the Seaside Oval. Flightline enters the race as an overwhelming favorite and rightly so. Undefeated and faster than some Louisiana lightning bolts, this John Sadler-trained son of Tapit has the goods. Anyone familiar with the sport understands that there are no guarantees in this game, especially in a race like this. In 1996, the mighty Cigar came to Del Mar on a 15-game winning streak and left at 1-to-10 odds. That day, he was beaten by Dare and Go, a 39-to-1 shot. With all that in mind, let’s take a quick look at the talented six-horse field lining up for this 32n/a functioning.

  1. Extra Hope (30-1)- This six-year-old son of Shanghai Bobby will probably need a bit of his namesake to be there by the end of this one. Ridden by Tyler Baze, this Hope is trained by Richard Mandella, the conditioner who created Cigar’s surprise.
  2. Country Grammar (4-1)- Having won the Dubai World Cup in March, there’s no doubt that this son of Tonalist loves the distance. The jockey-trainer combination of Bob Baffert and John Velazquez is always dangerous and no one is better at preparing a horse for these types of events than Big Race Bob. Our choice for upsetting here.
  3. Royal ship (8-1)– Another dangerous runner who won the San Diego Stakes in Del Mar in July. Brazilian bred and ridden by Mike Smith, he too is trained by Richard Mandella. Certainly a horse that can be there at the end.
  4. Express train (12-1)- Not too long ago, this John Shirreffs trainee looked like the best older distance horse in California. His victory in the Santa Anita Handicap over this distance in March was impressive. Veteran Victor Espinoza rides and we really like it. That old Bing Crosby song mentions taking the train to Del Mar… Hmmmmm… worth playing in your exotics.
  5. Flight line (1-5)-Four wins in four starts by wide margins means he has never been challenged in the streak. If he gets loose in the lead, this one could be over quickly. Having never done two corners or run more than a mile, there are a few questions that need to be answered when facing a strong group. Must be in all your exotic bets for sure.
  6. Stilleto Boy (20-1)-The hard hitting horse always seems to be somewhere in the money at the end. His dad, Shackleford, was the one who always ran with great effort. Del Mar jockey Juan Hernandez rides and that means you should think about having him on a ticket somewhere.

Back off a horse and get paid!!!


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