Photo Credit: Benoit Photo
For the first time in eight years, the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic returns to dirt at Del Mar on Saturday, August 22 for its 25th running.
For those who revel in the fashion, festivities and spirit that embodies Opening Day, they will want to earmark this classic day of high caliber racing which features a three stakes race card, including the Pat O’Brien Stakes and Del Mar Handicap.
The competition stacks up high again this year with the two-time Eclipse Award-winning mare Beholder taking center stage to see if she can hold her own with the boys. After securing an easy victory against her own kind in the Clement L. Hirsh Stakes earlier in Del Mar’s summer meeting, the 5-year-old mare trained by Richard Mandella will go up against the likes of Bayern, winner of the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic trained by Bob Baffert, and Catch a Flight, the Argentine-bred 5-year-old who recently captured the San Diego Handicap during Del Mar’s second weekend.
Should Beholder be good enough to take down her male rivals, she’d become the first distaffer to earn Classic honors. Four other females have tried without any luck.
Other contenders for the $600,000 winner’s prize include Imperative, who was third in last year’s Pacific Classic, will be on board. He’ll be joined by one more ace in Hoppertunity, another Baffert-trained horse who lost in a nail biting finish to Hard Aces in the Santa Anita Gold Cup in June. Additional top runners in the race are Midnight Storm, who showed an impressive win as a longshot last year in the Del Mar Derby and Red Vine, a multiple winner and the 5-year-old son of 2003 Pacific Classic winner Candy Ride.
Pacific Classic weekend begins Friday, August 21, with a free live show by San Diego based rockers Pepper, as part of Del Mar’s Summer Concert Series. Then, Saturday morning, August 23, breakfast is served as the sun rises alongside the track at Daybreak at Del Mar, where guest can view the workouts and listen to insider commentary provided by Daybreak host Jeff Bloom. Additionally, families can enjoy a day of activities and racing together during Family Weekends, every Saturday and Sunday throughout the season where kids can enjoy free pony rides, face painting, and more for free.
Gates open at 11:30 a.m. on Pacific Classic Day with first post at 2 p.m. The Pacific Classic will be the 9th of 11 races on the afternoon.