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Pacific Classic 2012: Game On Dude Looks To Conquer The Del Mar Polytrack

Game On Dude
Game On Dude

It's 2012 Pacific Classic Day at Del Mar where Game On Dude leads a field of 11 in the $1 million Grade 1 Pacific Classic. (Post time: 5:18pm Pacific; TV: TVG). Today's Del Mar card kicks off at 1:05pm Pacific and features 11 races, including the G2-Pat O'Brien and the G2-Del Mar Mile Handicap.

Below are some Pacific Classic Day links to keep you occupied this morning:

2012 Pacific Classic Preview

At a first glance of the past performance, 9-Game On Dude appears as a possible overlay at morning line odds of 5/2. But a deeper look exposes the key question mark for the favorite: the Del Mar Polytrack.

Game On Dude has run well over synthetic surfaces in the past, specifically Hollywood Park, but his only try at Del Mar in last year's Pacific Classic was less than ideal. In fact, it was his worst race in America in the past year (we'll leave the Dubai World Cup out of the discussion). Looking back at last year's Pacific Classic, it's hard to find an excuse for his poor performance other than it just wasn't his day. Unfortunately for the horseplayer, we are left to wonder as to Game On Dude's ability to run big at Del Mar.

If last year's Pacific Classic was just a blip on the Game On Dude radar, then I think you can back him strongly in today's race. If you have your doubts, then there are plenty of options as to where you can spend your money.

For me, the two South American-bred horses, 2-Amani (CHI) (5/1) and 8-Suggestive Boy (ARG) (5/1), are the wildcards in this race. Let's take a closer look at each of them.

To say that Amani dominated her races in Chile would be quite the understatement; she destroyed her rivals again and again. The only blemish on her South American record was the G1-GC Mauricio Serrano Palma against males when she finished 2nd. That race could be a little telling since I think it's safe to assume that the males in Chile don't match the quality that she'll face in the Pacific Classic.

In her first start in the U.S., Amani ran a decent 3rd to Include Me Out and Star Billing in the G1-Clement L. Hirsch after breaking from the gate slowly and closing strongly in the stretch. That was her first race since December and it's not a stretch to think she could improve off that effort. Amani should enjoy the extra ground in the Pacific Classic and she appears to be taking to the Del Mar surface without any problems.

Since Del Mar is a Trakus facility we can dig a little deeper into Amani's North American debut. Below are her fractions and internal splits from the Hirsch on August 4th:

1/4: 24.55
1/2: 48.01
3/4: 1:11.50
Mile 1:36.20
Finish 1:42.26
Internal Splits
1/4: 24.55
1/2: 23.46
3/4: 23.49
Mile 24.70
Finish 6.06

In terms of ground loss, Amani covered 48 feet more than winner Include Me Out and 20 more than runner-up Star Billing. With the extra distance, a (potentially) better trip, and improvement in her second start off of a nine-month layoff, Amani could be poised to put forth a top effort against the boys.

Last night I searched YouTube for some (any) video of Amani racing in Chile and I was able to find her 25 length win in the G1-Alberto Solari Magnasco back on November 5th of 2011. The race is interesting, to say the least, in part due to the dust that is kicked up on the backstretch. Amani is the 1 breaking from the rail (there is a quad-entry).

Suggestive Boy is moving to the Polytrack for the first time following a pair of good performances over the lawn after shipping to North America from Argentina. He's never run on anything but turf in his eight lifetime starts, but his pedigree suggests that the surface change shouldn't be a huge issue. Sire Easing Along has fared well with runners on synthetic surfaces and his dam sire, Horse Chestnut (SaF), has also done well with progeny on the plastics. The dam never ran on synthetics but, given her pedigree, it's not a stretch to think she would have adapted to the plastic.

After struggling in his last two races on traditional dirt, 5-Dullahan (6/1) moves back to synthetics, a surface where he won two Grade 1 races: Blue Grass Stakes and Breeders Futurity at Keeneland. Dullahan has turned in three straight bullet works for trainer Dale Romans in Kentucky and could have a big shot at turning around his season if he can find his form on the Del Mar Polytrack.

I haven't decided which direction I'm going to go in the Pacific Classic. I'm tempted to take a shot with the filly and Dullahan but, realistically, if Game On Dude doesn't romp I think Richard's Kid will be there to clean everything up.

Below are the running results from today's Pacific Classic day card at Del Mar. Click on the winner's name to go to the Instant Chart from Brisnet (when available).

# Post Race Age/Sex Dist/Surf Winner $2 Win
1 1:05p Claiming $12.5k 3up 6.5 7-Trumpet Player Jay $15.20
2 1:37p OC $40k/N$X 3up, f&m 5.0 (T) 1-Magic School $12.20
3 2:09p Maiden Special Weight 2yo 6.0 3-Den's Legacy $3.00
4 2:40p Claiming $18k 3yo 8.0 4-Rock This Way $17.20
5 3:11p G2-Pat O'Brien 3up 7.0 3-Capital Account $7.60
6 3:41p Maiden Special Weight 2yo, f 6.0 3-Wink and Wish $17.20
7 4:10p G2-Del Mar Mile 3up 8.0 (T) 6-Obviously (IRE) $4.20
8 4:45p Maiden Special Weight 3up 6.0 10-Caminetto $4.60
9 5:18p G1-Pacific Classic 3up 10.0 5-Dullahan $12.60
10 5:48p OC $25k/N2X 3up 6.5
11 6:18p Maiden Special Weight 3up, f&m 9.0 (T)