Accelerate Favored for Saturday’s Pacific Classic at Del Mar

(Courtesy of Del Mar Race Course)

From the Media Team at Del Mar:

Hronis Racing’s Accelerate drew Post 5 Tuesday afternoon and was installed the 8-5 favorite to beat seven rivals Saturday in the 28th running of the $1-million TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar.

Post positions for the mile and one-quarter headliner for 3-year-olds and up were drawn at The Brigantine restaurant overlooking the racetrack with connections of the eight runners looking on. Del Mar’s morning line maker, Russell Hudak, had no problem identifying Accelerate as his solid favorite, then next hung Reddam Racing’s Pavel as second choice at 7-2.

All runners will carry 124 pounds under the conditions of the race, which is part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge series, awarding the victorious horse automatic entry into the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs in November with all pre-entry and entry fees paid.

The chestnut 5-year-old Accelerate, who ran third in this race last year behind Collected and Arrogate, comes into the 10-furlong crucible off a series of sparkling stakes efforts that have helped him build his bankroll to more than $1.7 million. The son of Lookin At Lucky has three wins and a second in four 2018 starts and is seeking to become only the third horse to single-season sweep the “Big Three” California races for older horses – the Santa Anita Handicap, the Gold Cup and the TVG Pacific Classic.

Accelerate has been cleverly handled by trainer John Sadler throughout his 19-race career and the conditioner went with an old favorite when his horse’s regular rider – Victor Espinoza – was injured and unable to ride in the TVG Pacific Classic. Sadler made a call to eastern star Joel Rosario, who he helped get started when the native of the Dominican Republic rose to national prominence in Southern California between 2009 – 2011 before heading east.  Rosario had already once returned to Del Mar to win the TVG Pacific Classic when he drove Dullahan to a half-length tally in 2012.

The others in the lineup for the shore oval’s premier summer offering are the Bob Baffert-trained pair of Zaur Bifov’s Roman Rosso and Natalie Baffert’s Dr. Dorr, Mr.-Mrs. William Warren, Jr.’s The Lieutenant, D P Racing’s Prime Attraction, Levy Racing’s Beach View and Slam Dunk Racing and Baltas’ Two Thirty Five.

The complete line up with riders in post position order follows:

Post PositionHorse/JockeyMorning Line Odds
Drayden Van Dyke
Joe Talamo
Kent Desormeaux
Flavien Prat
Joel Rosario
Rafael Bejarano
Mario Gutierrez
Franklin Ceballos

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds

More From The Pressbox Staff