Accelerate out to cement west coast dominance in the Pacific Classic
Del Mar: $1 million TVG Pacific Classic (Grade 1) | 1m2f | dirt | 3yo+ (2.30am Sunday, BST)
Accelerate (John Sadler/Joel Rosario) bids to extend his dominance on the west coast this season when he lines up as favourite for the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic, the signature race of Del Mar’s summer season.
The five-year-old, who is a 9-1 shot for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, has already captured the two leading ten-furlong Grade 1s in California this year with wins in the Santa Anita Handicap and Gold Cup.
Among his rivals are the improving four-year-old Pavel, winner of the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs last time, and Roman Rosso, winner of the richest race in South America, the Gran Premio Latinoamericano in Uruguay, who makes his debut for Bob Baffert.
Prime Attraction has finished behind Accelerate twice this season and is expected to force the pace on his return to dirt having narrowly lost out in a Grade 2 on turf last time.
His trainer Jim Cassidy said: “I ran him on the turf [in the Eddie Read] because I didn’t think I had him tight enough to run him on the dirt at that time.
“We thought we’d give him a race on the turf, which would tighten him up for the next race. We always wanted to run him back on the dirt. He ran an unbelievable race and Kent [Desormeaux] rode him perfectly.”
Also on Saturday
Del Mar: Del Mar Oaks Presented By The Jockey Club (Grade 1) | 1m1f | turf | 3yo fillies only (1.30am Sunday, BST)
Paved and Fatale Bere clash for the fourth time this season, with Paved narrowly favoured to come out on top at the weekend.
Paved (Michael McCarthy/Drayden van Dyke) finished behind Fatale Bere (Leonard Powell/Kent Desormeaux) in the Grade 3 Providencia Stakes in April before turning the tables in the Grade 2 Honeymoon Stakes, when her rival’s saddle slipped.
Neither managed to land a blow behind the Aidan O’Brien-trained Athena in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational last time, and McCarthy is understandably hoping for better here.
He said: “They're two very good fillies. It seems like they’re both improving, and both show up and bring their A-game every time. They’re very talented fillies and we hope we wind up on the right end of the deal on Saturday.”
So Hi Society, trained last year by Archie Watson, makes her debut for trainer Jeff Mullins, having run for Chad Brown on her first start in the States.
Saratoga: Alabama Stakes (Grade 1) | 1m2f | dirt | 3yo fillies only (10.40pm BST)
Midnight Bisou (Steve Asmussen/Mike Smith), who chased home leading dirt filly Monomoy Girl in the CCA Oaks at this course last month, is the one to beat in this contest.
Trainer Steve Asmussen said: “The filly has consistently done extremely well and we're very excited about her chance."
Asmussen also runs She’s A Julie and added: “She's coming off a huge win and she's trained really well up here. It's a big step up for her but she's done all the work.”
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