Racing! Pacific Classic looking to be competitive


Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter as we hit some different topics.

We’re down to only one $1-million race for older horses in Southern California, and it comes up Saturday with the Pacific Classic at Del Mar.

There is no super horse in the race such as past years when the race was won by horses such as Accelerate, California Chrome, Beholder and Shared Belief.

But, there is a good mix of shippers to go along with the locals. The draw was Tuesday afternoon, and the favorite is 3-1. So, no one that knocked morning-line maker Russ Hudak off the theory this is a pretty balanced race.

Here’s the draw:

1. War Story (8-1), trainer Jorge Navarro, jockey Tiago Pereira

2. Quip (9-2), Rodolphe Brisset, Florent Geroux

3. Pavel (7-2), Doug O’Neill, Mario Gutierrez

4. For The Top (12-1), Bob Baffert, Martin Garcia

5. Seeking The Soul (3-1), Dallas Stewart, John Velazquez

6. Higher Power (8-1), John Sadler, Flavien Prat

7. Tenfold (8-1), Steve Asmussen, Mike Smith

8. Campaign (6-1), John Sadler, Rafael Bejarano

9. Mongolian Groom (20-1), Enebish Ganbat, Abel Cedillo

10. Draft Pick (20-1), Peter Eurton, Joe Talamo

Seeking The Soul, the favorite at 3-1, is coming off a victory in the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs, a race in which Quip was second. Dallas Stewart was happy with drawing in the middle of the field (five).

“My horse is doing good,” Stewart said. “He’s training good and I expect a big race from him Saturday.”

Pavel is the second favorite at 7-2 and finished second in the race last year.

Quip is the third favorite at 9-2. In the 1 1/8-mile Stephen Foster, Quip was passed in the stretch by Seeking The Soul, but managing ownership partner Elliott Walden is not concerned.

“Go back and look at his gallop out,” Walden said from WinStar Farm in Kentucky. “I’ve got no worries about him making 1¼ miles.”


Quip has the same ownership group as Triple Crown winner Justify.

The Pacific Classic is the highlight of the best day of the meeting in which there are five graded stakes races.

Sad Del Mar news

Del Mar suffered its fourth training fatality on Monday when Bri Bri, an unraced 3-year-old filly broke her pelvis in a four-furlong workout. She was trained by Jim Cassidy, who also lost a horse during the Santa Anita meet. Del Mar had two fatalities in a freak accident July 17 when there was a head-on collision after a horse got loose. Trainer Bob Baffert lost a horse on July 29. There have been no racing fatalities. Tod Leonard of the San Diego Union-Tribune filed this story. Just click here.

Riding crop under attack

The Jockey Club this week offered a recommendation of eliminating the use of the riding crop except to avoid dangerous situations. However, the recommendation is more symbolic than real because The Jockey Club doesn’t have any authority in this area. It lies with each state regulatory board.

The move comes amid a national call for reform in the sport. You can find people on both sides of the argument as to the harm it does to a horse. Advocates for the riding crop, or whip, say the newest ones are just a noise maker to get a horse’s attention. Detractors point to the thinness of a horse’s skin and say it’s painful.


Pretty much everyone agrees that the optics of a jockey hitting a horse are not good. This was an item the California Horse Racing Board was taking up though talk about it has gone quiet. The guess here is that a modified version of using the whip, such as not being able to raise it over your shoulder, would be the end compromise.

California allows use of the riding crop three times before waiting for the horse to respond. New York has a 10-strike rule. Kentucky has no rule about the use of the whip.

Del Mar preview

All the good racing is being saved for the weekend, mostly Saturday, so Wednesday’s seven-race card is a bit on the pedestrian side. There are two turf races, three for maidens and four of the races are strictly for claimers. First post is 2 p.m.

The featured race is a five-furlong allowance on the turf for fillies and mares. It carries with it the high purse of the day of $67,000. Just Grazed Me, the favorite at 5-2, has a pretty good track record with three wins, three seconds and one third in seven races. She’s got one black type low-level stakes win. She is trained by Phil D’Amato and ridden by Geovanni Franco.

The second choice, at 7-2, is Gypsy Blu for Mark Glatt and Abel Cedillo. She is five-for-11 lifetime. Both of these horses ran in the Daisycutter Stakes with Just Grazed Me finishing third and Gypsy Blu was eighth. Both are Cal-breds. Post will be around 4:30 p.m.

Here are the field sizes, in order: 8, 7, 7, 9 (1 also eligible), 7, 8 (2 ae), 11.

Bob Ike’s Dmr pick of the day

SIXTH RACE: Exacta Box 5-8

I like two horses in this second-level allowance/optional claimer turf sprint, both coming off good efforts over the layout. Just Grazed Me (5-2) is the deserving favorite off a fine third-place comeback effort in the Daisycutter Handicap despite getting floated out late. Storming Lady (5-1) somehow won her third straight last out despite hopping in the air at start to surrender about four lengths out of the gate. She steps up but is razor sharp.


Sunday’s result: Give Me The Lute seemed loaded all the way around the course but could never find a place to run from the 1/4-pole to the wire and settled for a very unlucky fourth in Race 6.

Bob Ike is a Partner/VP of (here’s a video) and the proprietor of (full-card picks, 3 Best Plays and betting strategy).

Final thought

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Any thoughts, you can reach me at You can also feed my ego by following me on Twitter @jcherwa

Now, the star of the show, Wednesday’s entries.

Del Mar Entries for Wednesday, August 14.

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Del Mar, California. $2 Win, Place and Show; $1 Exacta, $2 Quinella, 50-cent Trifecta, $2 Rolling Double, 50-cent rolling Pick 3; 10-cent Superfecta; 50-cent Pick 4 last 4 races; 50-cent Players Pick 5 first 5 races; $2 Pick 6 last 6 races; $1 Place Pick All; $1 Super High Five last race. Trifecta needs 4 betting interests; Superfecta needs 6. 21st day of a 36-day meet.


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $28,000. Maiden Claiming. 2 year olds. Claiming Prices $40,000-$35,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Yha YhaJ.C. Diaz, Jr.113Russell G. Childs20-140,000
2Little CentsAbel Cedillo120Bill McLean3-140,000
3Way CoolBrayan Pena120Mike Harrington15-140,000
4Shootin MoneyEswan Flores120Philip A. Oviedo10-140,000
5Istain ManRuben Fuentes120Luis Mendez5-240,000
6DeckologyMario Gutierrez120George Papaprodromou2-140,000
7HeraclitusMartin Pedroza120Simon Callaghan4-140,000
8Four O'FiveJorge Velez113Richard Baltas20-140,000


6 Furlongs. Purse: $21,000. Maiden Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $20,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1ChirpMartin Pedroza120Leonard Powell3-120,000
2Sweet BluegrassJ.C. Diaz, Jr.113Daniel Dunham10-120,000
3ShesaidshesperfectAgapito Delgadillo120Tim McCanna4-120,000
4Taylor GalsAssael Espinoza120Vann Belvoir5-120,000
5Destiny's StormMario Gutierrez120Dallas E. Keen10-120,000
6VidaliaDiego Sanchez120Karen Headley8-120,000
7AdultingJorge Velez113Jeff Bonde9-520,000


1 Mile. Purse: $40,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $32,000-$28,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1BellerinDrayden Van Dyke120Jeff Mullins5-132,000
2Fire When ReadyRafael Bejarano120Robert B. Hess, Jr.8-132,000
3Start a RunninEswan Flores120Hector O. Palma10-132,000
4Dukes UpKent Desormeaux120Mark Glatt3-132,000
5Sheer FlatteryTiago Pereira120William Spawr4-132,000
6Bitter Ring HomeEdwin Maldonado120Neil D. Drysdale5-132,000
7Rocko's WheelRuben Fuentes120Philip D'Amato5-232,000


1 1/16 Mile Turf. Purse: $36,000. Starter Allowance. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Smiling RoseMario Gutierrez118George Papaprodromou8-1
2Roses and CandyDiego Sanchez122Ronald L. McAnally20-1
3Breezy BeeRafael Bejarano124J. Keith Desormeaux4-1
4Magnificent Q TAssael Espinoza122James M. Cassidy12-1
5Heathers GreyAaron Gryder118Michael W. McCarthy4-1
6Red Bunting Joseph Talamo118Ronald W. Ellis8-1
7Kittyhawk LassAlonso Quinonez120Mike Puype12-1
8Flying to the LineFlavien Prat120Peter Miller7-2
9Equal MeasureKent Desormeaux120Robert B. Hess, Jr.3-1


6 Furlongs. Purse: $32,000. Maiden Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $50,000. State bred.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Calder ValeEdgar Payeras120Ricardo Zamora12-150,000
2Anniversary SaleAbel Cedillo120Jonathan Wong7-250,000
3Tim's BuddyGeovanni Franco120Bill McLean20-150,000
4Etterbay UcklayJoseph Talamo120Ronald W. Ellis5-250,000
5Afternoon HeatJorge Velez113Jerry Hollendorfer2-150,000
6Atomic CandyFlavien Prat120Peter Miller3-150,000
7Brazilian SummerIgnacio Puglisi120Matthew Chew15-150,000


5 Furlongs Turf. Purse: $67,000. Allowance Optional Claiming. Fillies and Mares. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Price $62,500.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1Querida Dubai Rafael Bejarano120Brian J. Koriner10-1
2TraviezaDrayden Van Dyke120Doug F. O'Neill4-1
3Gypsy BluAbel Cedillo120Mark Glatt7-2
4LittlefirefighterFlavien Prat120Richard E. Mandella12-1
5Just Grazed MeGeovanni Franco120Philip D'Amato5-2
6Uno Trouble MakerTiago Pereira122William Spawr6-1
7Holly HundyKent Desormeaux120Vladimir Cerin8-1
8Storming LadyVictor Espinoza122Alfredo Marquez5-1
Also Eligible
9Sold ItMario Gutierrez118Doug F. O'Neill10-1
10Kentan RoadJorge Velez115John W. Sadler5-162,500


5½ Furlongs. Purse: $21,000. Claiming. 3 year olds and up. Claiming Prices $8,000-$7,000.

PPHorseJockeyWtTrainerM-LClaim $
1An Ocala TenJorge Velez113Peter Miller5-27,000
2Mister MojoRafael Bejarano122Ed Moger, Jr.4-18,000
3NovaAgapito Delgadillo120Rafael DeLeon15-18,000
4Boy HowdyMartin Pedroza120Jack Carava3-18,000
5Aberdeen IslandJ.C. Diaz, Jr.113Marcia Stortz20-18,000
6Johann's CommandEdgar Payeras120Richard Rosales20-18,000
7Papa TurfAbel Cedillo120Jeffrey Metz4-18,000
8Royal SeekerFerrin Peterson115Marcelo Polanco12-18,000
9WestmontGeovanni Franco120Anthony K. Saavedra6-18,000
10Market SentimentAssael Espinoza120Steve Knapp20-18,000