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Martin Garcia aboard Game On Dude in the winner's circle after the 2013 Pacific Classic
The highlight race of the Del Mar meeting is the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic (G1), featuring the best older horses of the west coast going 1 1/4 miles over the Polytrack, and is a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Classic. 29,319 fans packed the seaside oval on Sunday afternoon under sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 70's. As expected, Game on Dude was sent off as the 8-5 favorite in the field of 12, coming to Del Mar off a 5 race winning streak, including the Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) last out. In to challenge him included 7-2 second choice and last year's winner Dullahan, a close third in the Arlington Handicap (G3) last out, and 6-1 third choice Kettle Corn, winner of the San Diego Handicap (G2).
Game On Dude draws off in the stretch
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 11 Game On Dude Garcia 5.40 3.80 3.20 7 Kettle Corn Espinoza 5.60 4.40 5 You Know I Know Maldonado 9.00 Winning Time: 2:00.69 $1 Exacta 11-7 13.70 $2 Quinella 7-11 15.20 $1 Trifecta 11-7-5 331.60 $1 Superfecta 11-7-5-6 2,260.40Results Chart
Left: Game On Dude circles after the race. Winning trainer Bob Baffert said, "He has been working well and you could tell he's a different horse this year here. He was just doing everything so smoothly. I loved the way he was in the paddock today. He wasn't too keen he was real relaxed. I ran the race in my mind and there was so much other speed. But at the end of the day, I told Martin: ‘You have the fastest horse so don't be afraid to get bold with him.' He just made a huge statement. It was just great day for horse racing in Southern California."
Right: Game On Dude in the paddock. Winning jockey Martin Garcia, who replaced the injured Joel Rosario who was to replace regular rider Mike Smith, said, "I feel amazing. I still can't believe that I won. This means a lot to me, especially on a horse like that. It was fun out there. He broke really good and got clear. When the other horses went outside, I stayed inside. I didn't have to ask him for anything special coming home. He's a professional. He's knows where he's supposed to go." Co-owner Joe Torre added, "I was nervous. I told Bernie (Schiappa, co-owner) what ever he has, it's catching. I had been pretty calm, and I'd watched Dude run a few times now. But for some reason today I was jumpy as all get out. I can't tell you how exciting it was to watch him. The stretch run, that was goose-bump stuff there."
Left: Second place finisher Kettle Corn returns aftee the race. John Sadler, who trains both Kettle Corn and You Know I Know, said, "We were kind of promised some pace, but it didn't happen. When a really good horse like that gets his own pace, he's tough to beat."
Right: Third place finisher You Know I Know in the paddock. The 41-1 longshot was 10th early under jockey Edwin Maldonado, then rallied late to get third beaten 8 1/2 lengths. The John Sadler trainee improved his record to 5 wins, 1 second, and 4 thirds in 18 starts, earning $329,830 for owners Anthony Chacon and Paul Mangini Jr.
Obviously wins the Del Mar Mile (G2)
Jockey Joe Talamo sent Obviously to the lead immediately and he set fractions of 23.35, 46.96, and 1:09.72 over the firm going, while as many as 1 1/2 lengths in front of 12-1 longest shoy El Commodore and Silentio. Entering the stretch, Obviously opened up a 2 length lead through 7/8 in 1:21.15. He Be Fire N Ice, fifth early, put in a strong rally between horses but Obviously held him off by 1/2 a length in 1:32.64. It was a neck back to Silentio third.
Left: Obviously in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Joe Talamo said, "He came away from there a little slow, but that's not unusual for him. What made it look so noticeable was that (El Commodore) just busted out of there. But I took him wide and let him roll. I look now and see that he went the half in 46 4/5 and I can't believe it. That's as slow as he's ever gone. But he ran hard all the way. I got after him late, but I usually do. He's the kind of horse that if he gets out there on his own, he starts waiting on horses. When they come to him, he'll dig in and fight. But you've got to stay after him."
Right: Obviously returns after the race. Winning trainer Mike Mitchell said, "He didn't open up like he usually does. He didn't have that (winning) margin that he usually has. But he fired and he dug in when (He Be Fire N Ice) came at him. It was a real good horse race. I don't tell Joe how to ride him, it's totally up to him, and I think he found out something today."
Left: Second place finisher He Be Fire N Ice in the paddock. Jockey Victor Espinoza said, "That wire just came too soon. I couldn't get it to be a little farther along. I saved all the ground I could and then made my run. I thought that was the best way. But that winner runs in 1:32 3/5. What are you going to do with a horse like that?"
Right: Third place finisher Silentio in the post parade. Jockey Rafael Bejarano said, "I thought that (El Commodore) was going to put more pressure on the winner. But after the beginning, he didn't. I needed some help that way and I didn't get it."
Fed Biz wins the Pat O'Brien (G2)
Goldencents battled for the lead down the backstretch with 14-1 No Silent and 28-1 Majestic City through fractions of 22.41 and 44.33. Entering the land, Goldencents opened up a 1 1/2 length advantage over 10-1 Gonna Fly Now, getting 3/4 in 1:08.71. However, Fed Biz, 9th early, came 4 wide into the lane and closed well to pass the favorite inside the 1/16 pole to win by 1 length in a new track record time of 1:21.12. It was another 3/4 length back to Gonna Fly Now third.
Left: Fed Biz in the winner's circle. Trainer Bob Baffert said, "It was fun watching Fed Biz put it together. We've always been so high on him. He was very explosive in the stretch. That was a breakthrough race. He's a miler, but he loves this surface. He's been working with Paynter and just breezing over it. I told Martin to be patient and hopefully the speed will come back to you. We got a great run today."
Right: Fed Biz returns after the race. Jockey Martin Garcia said, "I just waited for the stretch, then I let him do his own thing. He knew when to go and he knew what to do." Owner Kaleem Shah added, "Bob has always thought very highly of the horse. It was nice to see him come through."
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Goldencents in the paddock before the race. Jockey Pat Valenzuela said, "We got away a little slow and we couldn't get lucky. And then the winner sets a track record."
Right: Third place finisher Gonna Fly Now in the post parade. The 10-1 fourth choice raced 8th early under jockey Joe Talamo, then rallied to get third beaten 1 3/4 lengths. The John Sadler trainee improved his record to 2 wins, 2 seconds, and 2 thirds in 7 starts, earning $137,000 for owner Cicero Farms.
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