From Del Mar
The single-day handle mark at Del Mar fell Saturday as California Chrome was the star of the show in pulling off a smashing performance in front of 24,155 in the 26th running of the TVG Pacific Classic.
Total handle for the day from all sources was $25,060,204, which eclipsed the previous standard of $24,667,351 established on Pacific Classic Day in 2007.
In addition to the overall betting mark falling, the track also saw a record tumble for most money bet in a Pick Four pool. The new standard was set at $1,443,421, surpassing the previous high of $1,310,045 set on August 22, 2015, also Pacific Classic Day.
The track further produced five winning Pick Six tickets, each worth $104,655. Two of those winning tickets were in the crowd at Del Mar. The total Pick Six pool was $770,683.
California Chrome was the star of the day, easily beating a stellar field under Victor Espinoza by five lengths in 2:00.13 for the mile and a quarter. He earned $600,000 from the $1-million purse and added to his richest-horse-in-North-American history mark, which now stands at $13,252,650.
Beholder finished second, Dortmund third.
Watch many of the country’s top horses compete at the classic distance of 1 1/4 miles in the 26th running of Del Mar’s signature event. The Pacific Classic will anchor a stakes triple header program that includes the 7-furlong Pat O’Brien Stakes and the Del Mar Handicap on turf, both Gr. II events for 3-year-olds and up. Del Mar’s richest and most prestigious race, the $1,000,000 Pacific Classic (Gr. I), takes place on Saturday, August 20.
3-time Eclipse Winner Beholder, the champion mare, takes on California Chrome – winner of the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness, plus this year’s Dubai World Cup – among other top thoroughbreds. More on the Pacific Classic below.
From Del Mar:
Saturday’s $1-million TVG Pacific Classic, already called by many the best edition of the Grade I headliner Del Mar has ever presented, will feature three superstars and nine runners all told in a mile and a quarter battle royale that will unfold as the highlight of an 11-race program at the shore oval.
Heading the sparkling lineup for the 26th running of Del Mar’s signature race is the 2014 Horse of the Year and North American earnings champion California Chrome, who’ll break from Post No. 1 with regular rider Victor Espinoza in the irons.
“Chrome,” currently riding a four-race win streak that includes the $10-million Dubai World Cup and sporting a bankroll that reads $12,652,650, will have to face two of the best horses in training in the champion mare Beholder – the smashing winner of this race last year – and the handicap ace Dortmund, who gave “Chrome” all he could handle before finishing a grudging second in the San Diego Handicap at Del Mar on July 23.
California Chrome has been installed the 8/5 morning line favorite with Dortmund, who breaks from Post No. 8 and has Rafael Bejarano aboard, second choice at 5/2. Beholder, who’ll be handled by her regular guy Gary Stevens coming out of Post No. 7, is listed right behind at 3-1.
The weight-for-age conditions of the TVG Pacific Classic dictate that all older male horses carry 124 pounds, while the female Beholder gets a weight break at 119 and the field’s lone 3-year-old, Dalmore, will go with 118.
The winning horse will earn a check for $600,000 for his or her victory. The other awards are $200,000 for second; $120,000 for third; $60,000 for fourth, and $20,000 for fifth.
The TVG Pacific Classic is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” race, meaning the winning horse is guaranteed admittance into the field of a specified Breeders’ Cup race. In the case of the TVG Pacific Classic, the winner will be assured a starting spot in the $6-million Breeders’ Cup Classic when it is run at Santa Anita on November 5.
The highly anticipated contest, which will be presented as the 9th on an 11-race program, is expected to go off at approximately 6:15 p.m. (Pacific). It will be televised on the TVG Network.
The complete field with riders in post position order with odds follows:
California Chrome 8/5; Hoppertunity, Flavien Prat, 8-1; War Story, Ricardo Mejias, 30-1; Hard Aces, Santiago Gonzalez, 15-1; Win the Space, Joe Talamo, 15-1; Imperative, Norberto Arroyo, Jr., 20-1; Beholder; Dortmund, and Dalmore, Kent Desormeaux, 20-1.
First post Saturday is at 2 p.m.
NOTE: There will be an all-stakes pick 4 Saturday with Alabama & Fourstardave at SAR, then DMR Handicap & Pac Classic. 50-cent minimum; DMR hosts