Oh, mighty Go Between, son of Point Given, winner of the 2008 Pacific Classic and felled sadly by a heart that seemed infallible. Your spirit and memory will hang heavy over the race that defined you.
Go Between's loss and the absence of an injured Well Armed leaves this edition of the Pacific Classic missing two superstars. While we miss their presence, we handicap the race, hope that all starters finish sound, and plan out a handicap that we can use to cash some tickets. I guess that's what its all about.
Race 9 Del Mar Post Time 8:10 ET: The Pacific Classic Grade I; 1 1/4 Miles on Fake Dirt for 3 YO and Up.
A stratification layer of quality levels exists with six of the starters capable of crossing the line first and then a six horse group that contains some Grade II and III runners but more then likely not capable of dictating the outcome in this race.
Of the top layer of horses, the Turk likes Informed for real value and Rail Trip for an almost assured top 3 position.
There is lots to like with Informed. He is coming off an early August Grade II win at Del Mar at 1 1/16 and two races back he beat Rail Trip in a Grade II at Hollywood. A five year old with 6 career wins in 22 starts, there is a parallel that can be drawn with our fallen champion, Go Between. If this horse goes off at his ML 10-1 I will place a small win bet on him. I'm expecting a top four finish.
Rail Trip is a four year old gelding who started his career winning five straight before steeping sideways and then taking a huge leap forward with the Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup win. He's rested since that mid July effort and has been working an interesting program for Trainer Ellis at Del Mar since early August. I don't think you can expect him to be as sharp as he was, but he could surprise me and if he does I will have to reevaluate my view on his long term class. I don't see anyway he doesn't finish in the top 4 and I expect a top 2 finish. 8 of 8 lifetime in the money. Making his first start at Del Mar. Trainer Ellis does have a 25% win rate in 108 tries on 31-60 day layoffs.
The Turk is an unabashed Einstein fan. I'd love to place him in the win spot here, but I must also admit I'm not thrilled with the way his connections have thrown him all around the conditions book. Coming off his second dismal Arlington Millions and returning to fake dirt for the first time since his Grade I win at Santa Anita and a 103 BSF, his only effort on the fake stuff, so this will be his first time on the Del Mar version of fake dirt. You don't need to know much more, this horse is capable of winning on any surface and under just about any pace scenario. He was purchased by Stronach Stables and at 7 YO you have to wonder how many more races he will be allowed to wow us in. Clearly he's capable of winning today and he'll be in my top 4 and most likely top 3.
For the forth spot on my base superfecta ticket I am torn between Mast Track, Col. John and Misremembered. Mast Track has faltered lately but is still dangerous, Col. John is coming off a turf win and hasn't gone longer then 7f since the Breeders Cup Classic, and that leaves Misremembered, freshened since a mid July Grade II win at HOL.
A series of bets based on my base handicap will be made, not quite a box but not quite a wheel either. I'm hunting for a Tri and Superfecta and we'll see what we can do.
Have fun, Happy Labor Day, Turk Out!