Defending champion Dullahan is back in Southern California looking for a repeat to his winning performance in 2012, and an end to a losing streak dating back to the same day. The Dale Romans trainee will face a field of 12 contenders in Sunday's Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar (Post time: 8:10 p.m. Eastern; TV: TVG), a field that includes the 2012 runner-up Game On Dude, a gelding currently sitting on a five race win streak.
Over the course of his 17 race career, Dullahan has proven himself to be an excellent runner on synthetics surfaces (his trip to Meydan aside), but much less successful on dirt or turf. He's won three of his five races on synthetics and is undefeated in synthetic races in America. When running on turf or dirt, Dullahan sports a record of 12-0-2-4.
With the exception of his lackluster performance in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic, Game On Dude has been riding a phenomenal run of good form. The Bob Baffert trainee has won eight of his last 10 races with a half length loss to Dullahan in the 2012 Pacific Classic the only blemish outside of his Breeders' Cup effort. Joel Rosario will take the irons from Mike Smith.
I was happy to see the connections of filly Byrama (GB) take a shot in this race; she's definitely a filly that loves a route of ground and the mile and a quarter journey of the Pacific Classic should be an excellent fit for her. As Tribe has pointed out (repeatedly), this filly needs to leave the sprint in the rearview mirror and concentrate on races that suit the stamina running through her pedigree. Byrama was third in the G1-Hirsch earlier this month but had a simply brutal trip in the later stages of the race. She won the G1-Vanity at Hollywood in mid-June and could be sitting on a big effort at good odds on Sunday.
Darley sends over Farraaj (IRE) from Europe for his second race in North American after scoring a pair of stakes win on the standard track at Lingfield in England over the last year. Farraaj finished third in the 2011 Breeders' Cup Turf all the way back in November of 2011. He's run only four times since that effort in Louisville.
Below are the entries, post positions and morning line odds for Sunday's Pacific Classic:
|1||Endorsement||J. Leparoux||H. Palma||20/1|
|3||Holding Glory (BRZ)||C. Sutherland-Kruse||A. Avila||20/1|
|4||Farraaj (IRE)||G. Gomez||R. Varian||12/1|
|5||You Know I Know||E. Maldanado||J. Sadler||20/1|
|6||Richard's Kid||J. Talamo||D. O'Neill||8/1|
|7||Kettle Corn||V. Espinoza||J. Sadler||6/1|
|8||Byrama (GB)||G. Stevens||S. Callaghan||20/1|
|9||Dullahan||R. Bejarano||D. Romans||7/2|
|10||Delegation||L. Contreras||M. Casse||8/1|
|11||Game On Dude||M. Garcia||B. Baffert||5/2|
|12||Jeranimo||C. Nakatani||M. Pender||10/1|
|13||Blueskiesnrainbows||M. Pedroza||J. Hollendorfer||20/1|