The Pacific Classic Should Live Up to Its Name

The Pacific Classic (Grade 1) (BC)- $750.000 Purse
DMR- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and One Quarter on the Dirt
August 22, 2020

One of the biggest races of the summer takes place at DMR on Saturday, in the annual running of the Pacific Classic. Within the game, the race runs for the 17th time, and has been won by great horses such as Icicle and Barbarino in the past, and more recently we have seen Ginger Haggis and Combat Wombat pick up wins. Last year, Mb Stables picked up his second win in the race with Apples To Oranges and he should have another very good chance to win here this year. The race will feature another head to head duel between Tactical and Splash Mountain, something that by itself is worth the price of admission, but now each of them will take on some of the young blood such as the reigning KYD winner, Royal Assembly. There is plenty more in this field to be excited about as many would be the headliners in other top graded races. Altogether, we have a field of twelve going to post, so let’s take a look at the runners!

#1- County Medical (Crocker Ggs, ridden by A Beschizza)- We begin with one of the four three year olds in the field, and it should be mentioned that they will enjoy a four pound weight allowance against their elders in the race. County Medical had a lot of success running north of the border recently, placing third in the Queens Plate, before moving to FE and dominating the Prince of Wales Stakes with a wire to wire effort. His last three races are promising that he has healed his struggles from earlier in the year. Off of the Prince of Wales, you have to think big.

#2- Having A Blast (Mb Stables, ridden by R M Hernandez)- The veteran five year old will make the 26th start of his career, and like County Medical, you have to aim high after picking up a big win. For Having A Blast, that came on the Fourth of July by winning the Suburban Handicap, and he too has also won two of three. Last year, he ran fourth in the Suburban and was dropped into an open allowance in August, so the trainer clearly is about as high as he’s been on him right now.

#3- Charleys Latte (Estero Farms, ridden by M Tunon)- He will have some work to do in order to win here, but he showed his ability in the Wood Memorial, winning that prep race. However, in both the KYD and the BEL, he was not able to get a piece of the purse, although placing fifth in the BEL is respectable. The unfortunate race was the one after, where he did not seem to fire in the Haskel, running sixth. Perhaps the race was a little too short for him, but with the increased competition level here, it’s hard to see this being much different.

#4- Tactical (Mb Stables, ridden by J K Court)- Seen by many as the best horse in the game right now, regardless of the division. His 2020 has justified those thoughts with four wins in five starts, and they have all come against the best. Things started off for him well this year, winning the Pegasus World Cup, and then following that up with a GP Mile win. The bullring at CT was not to his liking, but no worries, because he has since won the Grade 1 Gold Cup at SA, and then the Whitney early this month at SAR. He can’t let up against the quality of opposition he faces here, but everyone knows who the horse to beat here is.

#5- Achilles (Diablo Diablo, ridden by J L Ortiz)- This is the only horse right now that can say they have won a race that featured Tactical, taking the CT Classic back in April. That was a part of a strong spring for him that also saw a win in the Grade 1 SA Handicap. In the Pegasus, he was fifth, but within a length of Tactical. Since April, Achilles has not hit the board in either of his starts, including the Grade 3 MTH Cup in his last start. He does seem to step up when he faces the best, so that is asked of him here.

#6- Instagooglefacetweet (Threshold, ridden by T Gaffalione)- Picked up a big win in the unofficial BC race, the Grade 2 Marathon, at SA, and then was a strong second in the Caribbean Classic a month later. There has not been much to hit the like button over since then, although he was a distant third in the CT Classic. Most recently, he was significantly dropped down in class, to an open allowance at the esteemed BTP race track, and he would rout the field just like he was supposed too. Now, it’s back to Grade 1 company. Is he ready for this level again?

#7- Geronimo (Nakamura Stables, ridden by V R Carrasco)- Became a well known horse in the KYD this year by setting the blistering factions in that race before bowing out as his stablemate brought home the victory. He’d be better in the PRK, placing eighth, ahead of Royal Assembly, and fared well in the mud for his last outing, the Grade 3 Dwyer. In that race, he used a tactic of coming off the pace. Overall, has two wins in 13 starts, so tough to pick in a race like this.

#8- Wolfmoon Bay (Night Rider Stables, ridden by E J Zayas)- The nine year old gelding will make the 47th start of his career, and he has never been as good as he is right now. He comes into the Pacific Classic on a two race winning streak, winning a stake for the first time, and then topping that with a graded stake for the first time. Only way to improve on that is to take a Grade 1. The Grade 2 Brooklyn was also the first time he earned a triple digit SRF. We’ll see if he can keep on rolling here.

#9- Royal Assembly (Nakamura Stables, ridden by S Ryan)- Three months ago, Royal Assembly etched his name into the record books as a KYD champion. While he would not run well in the PRK, he would show that he was not a one hit wonder in the BEL, running second in the race, missing by a head. However, he comes into this race off of a flat performance in the Haskell, making us wonder which Royal Assembly is going to show up here. Consistency never had been a problem with him until recently, and he is working well coming into the race. He gets a new rider in S Ryan, so we’ll see if that matters as he takes on older horses for the first time.

#10- Charlemagnes Command (Serenity Stables, ridden by M J Sanchez)- The gelding by Command Attention has won three of sixteen during his career, with just one being in Serenity silks. That came in May, in the Grade 3 PIM Special. He had a strong follow up to that race, however, placing second in the Grade 2 Foster Handicap, where he was narrowly beaten by Chrystal Believer. He has been close lately, so that is something that should continue again, but winning the race is a tough ask.

#11- Crack Dab (Gdp Inc, ridden by J Stein)- At the beginning of the month, he brought a four race winning streak into the Grade 1 Whitney, three of which were in overnights. He continued his good form in that race, with an eye opening second place performance, beaten only by Tactical, though topping others he will see here again. The question to be answered now is how good is this horse really? He does well to answer the bell wherever he has been entered, and the Whitney was the first time he faced top flight opposition. In the Pacific Classic, he is challenged again, but he has certainly earned it.

#12- Splash Mountain (John Henry, ridden by J R Velazquez)- The 2018 BC Classic champion is still looking for his first win of 2020, but part of the reason for that is because he keeps running into Tactical. However, that is not the only horse that has been beating him and he has failed to hit the board in both the CT Classic and the Metropolitan Handicap. Though he was better in the Whitney, running third. Has only one win since the 2019 Whitney, so the time has come for him to do so again if he has it in him.

Prediction: 4-9-1-5

— NS

Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES

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