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Mike Smith celebrates aboard Shared Belief after the 2014 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. 28,290 fans packed the seaside oval on Sunday afternoon under sunny skies and temperatures in the mid 70's. As expected, Shared Belief was sent off as the 6-5 favorite in the field of 10, undefeated in 5 lifetime starts including the CashCall Futurity (G1) and Los Alamitos Derby (G2). In to challenge him included 5-2 defending champion Game On Dude, winner of the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) but fourth in the Santa Anita Gold Cup (G1), and 6-1 third choice Majestic Harbor, winner of the Santa Anita Gold Cup.
Shared Belief draws off in the stretch
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 11 Shared Belief Smith 4.40 3.20 2.80 8 Toast of New York Espinoza 5.20 4.60 3 Imperative Desormeaux 8.40 Winning Time: 2:00.28 $1 Exacta 11-8 13.70 $2 Quinella 8-11 21.60 $1 Trifecta 11-8-3 231.10 $1 Superfecta 11-8-3-5 1,001.80Results Chart
Left: Shared Belief in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Mike Smith said, "I don't believe I caused any trouble in the stretch. When I came over, I had room. If I did cause any trouble, it surely wasn't intentionally. He just ran a terrific race. He's a special horse. I heard someone say this might be the coming out of a super star. I think now this horse deserves that accolade. I'll tell you what: he's as good a young horse as I've sat on in a while."
Right: Shared Belief in the post parade. Winning trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said, "I'm sure (about the inquiry) but the stewards are looking into it. I don't think he did anything wrong. Great performance (by Shared Belief). I've been impressed by his consistency all along."
Left: Second place finisher Toast of New York in the paddock. Jockey Victor Espinoza said, "His people told me I'd have to stay after him at the end; to encourage him. He's a one-paced horse and he needs some help late. Mike's horse (Shared Belief) did come over on us and I had to take a hold. Maybe it's different if I don't. But he ran good. He's a nice horse and this was a big effort for him."
Right: Third place finisher Imperative heads into the paddock. Jockey Kent Desormeaux said, "Career effort for this horse. I've been riding him and I've not see this kind of race from him before. This was a truly good effort."
Tom's Tribute wins the Del Mar Mile (G2)
Jockey Joe Talamo sent Obviously to an uncontested lead after a slow start, through quick fractions of 22.20, 45.32, and 1:09.42 over the firm course while as many as 4 lengths in front of 30-1 Handsome Mike and 31-1 Alpha Bullet. Obviously continued to lead to mid-stretch through 7/8 in 1:21.39, but tired in the final furlong. Tom's Tribute, who had settled in fourth most of the way, came through to take the lead at the 1/16 pole and outfinished Rock Me Baby to win by 1 length in 1:33.75. It was another 1/2 length back to Handsome Mike third, and 3/4 more to favorite Obviously fourth.
Left: Tom's Tribute in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Jim Cassidy said, "I like going back from 1 1/8 to a mile. I thought that was the one advantage I had. When I saw the first fractions I thought 'Oh, man, this is sweet.' Then it was just leaving it up to Mike (Smith), who is as good as anybody at reading a race. When they left the gate he knew exactly what was happening. I was worried about this race because this horse, Obviously, is no bum. I had the advantage on him that I was dropping back in distance and he hadn't run since the Shoemaker."
Right: Tom's Tribute returns after the race. Winning jockey Mike Smith said, "The key with this horse is to get him to relax. Then it doesn't matter where you are. You can be up close; you can be off it. He'll run for you. I saw the favorite (Obviously) stumble out of the gate. Then he started to rush up and I got out of his way. That other horse was out there already (Alpha Bullet) and I wasn't going to mind at all if they had a little speed battle."
Left: Second place finisher Rock Me Baby returns after the race. Jockey Corey Nakatani said, "That pace was a little quicker than I wanted. But it was what it was. My horse ran good. Good race for him."
Right: Third place finisher Handsome Mike in the paddock. Jockey Mario Gutierrez said, "He ran well. We got pushed out a little, but he ran well."
Fourth place finisher and beaten favorite Obviously in the post parade. Jockey Joe Talamo said, "That start cost us 5 or 6 lengths. He was ready for it, but he just turned his head at the last second. Just as they popped it he turned his head. I had to rush him then and it cost us."
Goldencents wins the Pat O'Brien (G2)
Jockey Rafael Bejarano sent Goldencents to the lead exiting the chute and he set fractions of 22.87 and 45.44 while stalked by Fed Biz and 34-1 Indexical. Entering the stretch Goldencents pulled away from the field, opening up a 4 length advantage througgh 3/4 in 1:08.87. Kept to task by Bejarano, he cruised to a 4 1/4 length win over Fed Biz in a new track record time of 1:20.99. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to 11-2 fourth choice Silentio third.
Left: Goldencents in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Doug O'Neill said, "That was the plan, to be aggressive with him. Rafael gave him a brilliant ride. There was some talk that Fed Biz would be on the lead but we took it to em. The first quarter went 22 4/5 and we were on the lead. He knows the horse well and this is a brilliant horse as shown by this performance."
Right: Goldencents returns after the race. Winning jockey Rafael Bejarano said, "He broke so good today and that was the big difference. Last time (Bing Crosby S. at Del Mar July 27) we had a bad break and we couldn't get to where we wanted to be. I've been waiting for a race like this and for him to be able to do his thing. I stayed busy on him to the end. I didn't want him to let up."
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Fed Biz in the paddock before the race. Trainer Bob Baffert said, "Nobody was going to beat the winner today. He had his own way on the lead. Fed Biz really isn't a 7/8) horse. I think he ran well. I'm going to stretch him out next time and he'll tell us if he's OK to go to the Breeders' Cup."
Right: Third place finisher Silentio in the post parade. Jockey Victor Espinoza said, "They went way too slow that first quarter. I needed some pace. It was a good effort for me horse, but he didn't have anything to run at."
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