Accelerate is the 8-5 morning line favorite to win Saturday’s $1 million dollar TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar. This race is part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge series with the winner getting an entry into the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs in November.
Accelerate has three wins and a second place finish in four starts this year. Let’s look at the race and horse racing picks.
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2018 TVG Pacific Classic
1 The Lieutenant / Jockey - Drayden Van Dyke / Trainer - Mike McCarthy / Odds- 6-1
2 Dr. Dorr / Jockey - Joe Talamo / Trainer - Bob Baffert / Odds- 6-1
3 Prime Attraction / Jockey - Kent Desormeaux / Trainer - James Cassidy / Odds- 8-1
4 Roman Rosso / Jockey - Flavien Prat / Trainer - Bob Baffert / Odds- 5-1
5 Accelerate / Jockey - Joel Rosario / Trainer - John Sadler / Odds- 8-5
6 Beach View / Jockey - Rafael Bejarano / Trainer - Leonard Powell / Odds- 15-1
7 Pavel / Jockey - Mario Gutierrez / Trainer - Doug O’Neill / Odds- 7-2
8 Two Thirty-Five / Jockey - Franklin Ceballos / Trainer - Richard Baltas / Odds- 20-1
Accelerate is the clear favorite in this field. He has won three of four starts this year with his only loss by a neck to City of Light in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap in April. In his most recent start, he took the Gold Cup at Santa Anita by 4 ¼ lengths over Dr. Dorr. Joel Rosario replaces regular rider Victor Espinoza for Saturday’s Pacific Classic with Espinoza injured. Trainer John Sadler has finished second twice and third twice in the Pacific Classic.
Pavel won the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap and looked good last year in a win in the Grade 3 Smarty Jones Stake. He is thought of as the main challenger to Accelerate on Saturday. Trainer Doug O’Neill has not had much success in the Pacific Classic winning only once in 10 tries.
Roman Rosso is a horse that hasn’t faced many quality horses, so we really don’t know what to expect. His most recent win came in the Group 1 Longines Gran Premio Latinoamericano at Hipodromo Nacional de Maronas in Uruguay on March 11. He is trained by Bob Baffert and he does have leading rider Flavien Prat so he deserves respect.
Dr. Dorr is also trained by Baffert. He won the Santana Mile Stakes and then the Grade 2 Californian Stakes at Santa Anita Park, but he was no match for Accelerate in the Gold Cup. He also didn’t look good in the Suburban Stakes finishing ninth.
The Lieutenant is a half-brother to 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify. He has hit the board in his last four races. He does get Drayden Van Dyke in the irons who is second in wins at Del Mar this season.
Prime Attraction is usually better on the turf, but he does have a second place finish on the dirt in a Grade 2 race. His last race was a second in the Grade 2 Eddie Read Stakes on Del Mar’s grass course.
The last two horses, Beach View and Two Thirty-Five are longshots and unless the race totally falls apart they are probably without much of a chance.
TVG Pacific Classic Picks
Accelerate is the best favorite in this race with 8-5 morning line odds, but it is hard to take the horse at those odds considering the strength of this field. I am not sold on Pavel as the second choice in the betting. I do think Roman Rosso is an interesting choice. The horse is getting a lot of respect in the betting odds at 5-1 and I can’t discount the fact that the horse has the combination of Baffert and Prat. I think Roman Rosso is the way to go at odds of 5-1.
The TVG Pacific Classic takes place on Saturday, August 18 at Del Mar Racecourse with a start time of about 9:43 pm Eastern Time.
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