Higher Power Seeks to Defend in Pacific Classic
Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire
By Emily Shields for TVG
There are five graded stakes races at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club on Saturday, August 22, with the $500,000 TVG Pacific Classic (G1) topping the program as the tenth of eleven races. The 1 ¼ mile race drew a field of six headed by Champion Maximum Security and defending winner Higher Power.
Higher Power has not won since taking the 2019 Pacific Classic by more than five lengths in an impressive performance. Since then, he has finished second or third in three Grade 1 races, including last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic for trainer John Sadler. The five-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro has finished in the top three in three out of his four trips at the distance and has earned over $1.5 million for owner Hronis Racing. Flavian Prat will be aboard once again.
Fresh off a nose victory In the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap, Maximum Security will be the deserving favorite. That was his first start for trainer Bob Baffert after being transferred from the barn of Jason Servis earlier this year following his win in the $20 million Saudi Cup. The brilliant son of New Year’s Day has won nine of his eleven starts, which would have been ten had he not been disqualified from winning the 2019 Kentucky Derby. The three-time Grade 1 winner will have Abel Cedillo back on board; that rider was up in the San Diego victory over Midcourt and Higher Power.
Midcourt drew the rail, and has never been worse than second at Del Mar. A Grade 2 winner earlier this year, the son of Midnight Lute is trained by John Shirreffs. He has been top three in nine of twelve starts for owner C R K Stable, but has yet to win at this distance. His dam Mayo On the Side was a graded stakes winner.
Shipping in from Argentina is dual Grade 1 winner Mirinaque. The four-year-old colt is unbeaten in three starts at the distance, and while he is Grade 1 placed on the grass, he has done his best running on the dirt. Tiago Pereira will be aboard for his United States debut, and Mirinaque hopes to become the third Argentinian-bred winner of this race following Candy Ride and Gentlemen. He has had five local workouts to prepare for this.
Dark Vader is coming off a one-mile allowance win here on July 25th. The Peter Eurton-trainee has since fired two bullet workouts over the course, and hails from the barn that sent out last year’s longshot second place finisher Draft Pick. He was beaten on Grade 2 company two back by top older horse McKinzie, and was regarded so well he was on the 2018 Kentucky Derby trail.
Turf specialist Sharp Samurai rounds out the field. Catch every race of the 2020 Del Mar Summer Meeting live on TVG.
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