Cindy's Horse Racing Website Index
Latest Articles

 Seabiscuit Handicap
 Bob Hope Stakes
 Getty Grable Stakes
 Breeders Cup Wrapup
 Breeders Cup Saturday

2022 Pacific Classic Day


Flavien Prat aboard Flightline after winning the 2022 Pacific Classic
Date: 09/03/2022

The highlight race of the Del Mar summer meeting is the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic (G1), featuring the best older horses of the west coast going 1 1/4 miles, and is a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Classic at Keeneland on November 5. Conditions were unusually warm for early September at the seaside oval, with the 12,077 fans in attendance enjoying sunny skies and temperatures in the high 80's. A field of 6 went to post on Saturday, with undefeated Flightline sent off as the 3-10 favorite off wins in the Malibu Stakes (G1) and Metropolitan Handicap (G1). In to challenge him included 7-2 second choice Country Grammer, second in the San Diego Handicap (G2) after winning the Dubai World Cup (G1), and 10-1 third choice Royal Ship, winner of the San Diego Handicap after finishing third in the Hollywood Gold Cup (G1).


Flightline draws away down the stretch in the Pacific Classic
Flightline and 49-1 longest shot Extra Hope dueled for the lead first time by and around the clubhouse turn through opening fractions of 23.42, and 46.06 while stalked by Country Grammer and 12-1 Express Train. Approaching the far turn Flightline gained a clear lead through 3/4 in 1:09.97. Asked by jockey Flavien Prat, Flightline left the field in his wake, opening up a 10 length lead at the top of the lane through 1 mile in 1:34.47, and drawing off the length of the stretch to win by 19 1/4 lengths over Country Grammer in 1:59.28, just 17/100 second off the track and stakes record set by Candy Ride in 2003. It was another 7 lengths back to late-running Royal Ship third.

Pgm  Horse                Jockey        Win  Place  Show
 5   Flightline         Prat           2.60   2.10  2.10
 2   Country Grammer    Velazquez             2.60  2.20
 3   Royal Ship         Smith                       2.60

Winning Time:  1:59.28

$1 Exacta 5-2                 2.80
$2 Quinella 2-5               4.40
$1 Trifecta 5-2-3             6.90
$1 Superfecta 5-2-3-4        14.10
Results Chart

Left: Flightline in the winner's circle. Winning trainer John Sadler said, "I thought (we had it) fairly early on. This horse has a high cruising speed. Once he was flowing, I knew we were in good shape. We had a lot of confidence going in. The distance was the question today and he answered the question."

Right: Flightline gets hosed off after the race. Winning jockey Flavien Prat said, "I let him stay out in the middle of the track through the stretch the first time because I wanted to have him relaxed and comfortable. I didn't want to get him on the rail and be bottled."

Left: Flightline in the paddock before the race. Prat added, "When we went into the final turn, he was traveling so well I asked him to pick it up a little bit. As soon as I looked back and saw how far in front he was, I wrapped up on him. Obviously, this is the best horse I ever rode."

Right: Flightline returns after the race. Sadler added, "Did I think he could do that win like that? Kinda yeah. You don't want to say it in front of the race, but now that he's done it... The thing about him is that he's fast and he can carry it. Some horses are fast, but they can't go on. This horse can. He's an exceptional horse."


Left: Second place finisher Country Grammer returns after the race. Trainer Bob Baffert said, "I told Johnny, don't chase (Flightline) he's a really great horse; if you chase you won't get anything. I wanted to run at least second to him. We got beat by an incredible horse; it was nice to see the crowd clapping for him and it was fun watching the performance even as a competing trainer; it's something you don't see every day. I knew my horse was going to show up, he was doing well and he didn't chase the horse and he just got beat by a brilliant horse today."

Right: Third place finisher Royal Ship in the paddock. Jockey Mike Smith said, "What can you say about the winner. I just know he was gone. I was trying my best for second. That's all you can do in a race like this." Trainer Richard Mandella added, "In races they have to actually leave the gate and get to the wire first, so anything can happen. When you've got horses like we've got, you have to try."


Shortly after the start of the Pacific Classic with Flightline on the outside and Country Grammer just inside him. John Velazquez aboard second place finisher Country Grammer said, "Wow. What can you say. We were in another race and I was riding my horse trying to win it."



Slow Down Andy wins the Del Mar Derby (G1)
Immediately before the Pacific Classic was the $300,000 Caesars Sportsbook Del Mar Derby (G2) for 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles on the firm Jimmy Durante turf course. Oceanside Stakes winner and American Turf (G2) runner-up Balnikhov was sent off as the 9-5 favorite in the field of 9. In to challenge him included 7-2 second choice Mackinnon, 4th in the Oceanside after just missing in the El Camino Real Derby, and 4-1 third choice Cabo Spirit, winner of the La Jolla Handicap (G3).

Jockey Mario Gutierrez sent 13-2 fifth choice Slow Down Andy to the lead exiting the chute through fractions of 24.13, 48.77, and 1:12.98 while pressed by 68-1 Spycatcher and stalked by 79-1 longest shot Barsabas and 8-1 War at Sea. Entering the stretch Slow Down Andy continued to lead through 1 mile in 1:36.89. Spycatcher closed the gap 3 wide late but Slow Down Andy held him off to win by 1/2 a length in 1:48.27. It was another 1/2 length back to War at Sea third, and a neck more to late-running favorite Balnikhov fourth.

Results Chart

Left: Slow Down Andy in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Doug O'Neill said, "We had no idea he'd go that slow early so it worked out perfect. After I saw the very first fraction I thought we had a good chance and then the half mile in almost :49, I thought we had a real good chance. We've always had faith in him; he was our Kentucky Derby dream not too long ago so why not the Del Mar Derby?"

Right: Slow Down Andy returns after the race. Winning jockey Mario Gutierrez said, "We wanted to be on the lead, but there was some cheap speed and, if they were going to pressure us, we'd let them go. We kind of played it by the break. We didn't have a strategic plan. He broke good and I didn't feel any pressure, so I just let him go and waited for the end. In the stretch, he responded so well that he gave me the good impression that he still had something underneath me."

Left: Slow Down Andy in the paddock. Gutierrez added, "This horse is a little tricky. When he runs with his mind focused on the race you can see what happens. Hopefully, he's maturing. Of course, this was his first time on the grass and you can ask this question about whether they like it, but we just don't know until they run."

Right: Second place finisher Spycatcher in the post parade. The Mark Glatt trainee improved his record to 0 wins, 2 seconds, and 0 thirds in 4 starts, earning $84,940 for owner Muir Hut Stables.

Left: Third place finisher War at Sea in the paddock. The Ron Ellis trainee improved his record to 3 wins, 0 seconds, and 4 thirds in 9 starts, earning $206,780 for owner Doubledown Stables.

Right: Fourth place finisher and beaten favorite Balnikhov in the paddock. The Phil D'Amato trainee has a record of 4 wins, 3 seconds, and 2 thirds in 13 starts, earning $256,905 for owners Little Red Feather Racing, Madaket Stables, and Old Bones Racing Stable.



Hong Kong Harry wins the Del Mar Mile (G2)
The $300,000 Del Mar Mile (G2) featured 9 older horses going 1 mile on the turf. American Stakes (G3) winner and Eddie Read (G2) runner-up Hong Kong Harry was sent off as the 6-5 favorite over 3-1 second choice Cathkin Peak, third in the Eddie Read, and 4-1 third choice Goliad off an allowance win.

25-1 Air Force Red and Goliad dueled for the early lead through opening fractions of 22.44 and 45.00 while stalked by 14-1 Tarantino and 62-1 longest shot Figuretti. On the far turn Goliad opened up a 4 length lead through 3/4 in 1:08.29 before tiring badly, allowing Air Force Red to inherit the lead through 7f in 1:21.23. In deep stretch, Air Force Red also tired as Hong Kong Harry, 6th early under Flavien Prat after bumping at the start, came out for room and rallied to win by 2 1/4 lengths over 19-2 Irideo in 1:33.15. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to Cathkin Peak third.

Results Chart

Left: Hong Kong Harry in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Phil D'Amato said, "When Goliad kicked away at the 3/8's pole, I didn't know if it was going to be a super freaky effort or not. Flavien was sitting in the right spot. Around the quarter pole my horse was picking up steam, angling out and ready to kick in. Once he did, I thought it was just a matter of time and he did it stylishly."

Right: Hong Kong Harry heads back to the barn after the race. Winning jockey Flavien Prat said, "We had a good trip. The pace was strong. I got lucky when I was able to drop myself inside around the turn and he made a good run when I asked him to do it. The leader was really far in front. Obviously, that's the way he ran last time, so I didn't know if he was going to come back to me. I rode this horse for his first race in the country and really liked him a lot. It seems like he's improving a lot and is getting even better."


Left: Second place finisher Irideo in the paddock. The Marcelo Polanco trainee improved his record to 5 wins, 3 seconds, and 0 thirds in 11 starts, earning $173,544 for owner-breeder Pozo de Luna Inc.

Right: Third place finisher Cathkin Peak returns after the race. The Phil D'Amato trainee improved his record to 3 wins, 2 seconds, and 3 thirds in 11 starts, earning $314,372 for owners CYBT, Sterling Stables, and Michael Nentwig.



Gold Phoenix wins the Del Mar Handicap (G2)
Closing out the stakes quintet was the $200,000 Del Mar Handicap (G2) Presented by the Japan Racing Association featuring a field of 11 older horses going 1 3/8 miles on the turf, and is a "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Turf. Eddie Read Stakes (G2) winner Master Piece was sent off as the 2-1 favorite. In to challenge him included 7-2 second choice Gold Phoenix, third in the Charles Whittingham (G2), and 11-2 third choice Masteroffoxhounds, fifth in the Eddie Read after finishing third in the Shoemaker Mile (G1).

Jockey Mike Smith sent 13-2 fourth choice Tizamagician to the lead first time by through easy fractions of 25.69, 50.00, and 1:13.99 while pressed by Masteroffoxhounds and stalked by 76-1 longest shot Order and Law. On the far turn Masteroffoxhounds gained a short lead through 1 mile in 1:38.16. Masteroffoxhounds led to midstretch through 10f in 2:02.83 before tiring, as Gold Phoenix, 10th early under Flavien Prat, came out 6 wide and outfinished favorite Master Piece to win by a head in 2:14.51. It was another 1/2 length back to 12-1 Dicey Mo Chara third.

Results Chart

Left: Gold Phoenix in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Phil D'Amato said, "Flavien told me in the paddock he was going to get him to the outside because he thought that's where he would come running best And sure enough he got the job done. This was the race we had on the radar the whole time. We thought we were going to break his allowance before then but he was training so good it was time to put him where we thought he belonged."

Right: Gold Phoenix heads back to the barn.


Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Master Piece returns after the race. The Mike McCarthy trainee improved his record to 6 wins, 3 seconds, and 1 third in 19 starts, earning $414,412 for owners Fernando Diaz-Valdes, Baalbek Corp., and Don Alberto Stable.

Right: Third place finisher Dicey Mo Chara in the post parade. The Leonard Powell trainee improved his record to 3 wins, 3 seconds, and 3 thirds in 14 starts, earning $255,277 for owners Red Baron's Barn and Rancho Temescal.


Gold Phoenix rallies on the outside in the stretch. Winning jockey Flavien Prat said, "I just let him relax early in the race. When we were ready to run, I followed the gray horse (Master Piece) around the turn. He was the right horse to follow. I knew he was going to give me a good kick. He just got up. It was a good race."



Go Joe Won wins the Shared Belief Stakes
Kicking off the Saturday stakes action was the $125,000 Shared Belief Stakes for 3-year-olds going 1 mile on the main track. Affirmed (G2) runner-up and Los Alamitos Derby winner High Connection was sent off as the 9-10 favorite in the field of 5 over 2-1 second choice Armagnac, 4th in the La Jolla Handicap (G3) after finishing 7th in the Preakness (G1), and 7-2 third choice Newgrange, unraced since 6th in the Rebel Stakes (G2) in February.

Jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. sent 21-1 longest shot Go Joe Won to the lead first time by through fractions of 21.89, 45.14, and 1:10.82 while pressed by High Connection and stalked by Newgrange. In the stretch Go Joe Won continued to lead through 7f in 1:24.00. Favorite High Connection rallied but was floated out by Go Joe Won who brushed him, with Go Joe Won prevailing by a nose in 1:37.69. It was a long 10 1/4 lengths back to Newgrange third. There was a stewards' inquiry into the stretch run but ruled that both horses contributed to the incident and let the result stand.

Results Chart

Left: Go Joe Won in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Paula Caprestro said, "We didn't know who was going to win the break and who was going to get the lead. If they had to go kamikaze, we'd sit off, but if we got the lead we'd just make them come get us. I thought he was going to run hard. I thought they were going to have to run hard to beat us. He tends to wait on other horses. It's sort of a game for him. He just waits on horses and then races them."

Right: Go Joe Won returns after the race. Winning jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. said, "He broke out of there running, that was the whole idea. That other horse (High Connection) came on to me and it was a battle right from the gate. Every time I would take a hold of my horse, he kept wanting to fight. He was just game. He just would not let that other horse go by, even on the gallop out. We were brushing the whole way. He's the bigger horse and as you can see, he was laying on me from the quarter pole. And once he laid into me, it made my horse come out a little. The pressure was coming from the outside and he had the whole length of the stretch to get by me. And he never did."


Second place finisher and beaten favorite High Connection circles during the inquiry. The Bob Baffert trainee improved his record to 2 wins and 3 seconds in 5 starts, earning $174,000 for owner HRH Prince Sultan Bin Mishal Al Saud.

Back to Horse-Races.Net main page

Search Horse-Races.Net:


©1994-2022,  Cindy Pierson Dulay   Privacy Policy   About Us   Search   Site Map   Add a Link   Advertisee   Suggest to a friend   RSS Feed   Follow on Twitter