(Arabian Knight wins the G1 Pacific Classic at the Del Mar Turf Club on Saturday / Benoit Photo & Courtesy of the Del Mar Turf Club)
From the Del Mar Turf Club Media Team:
Two of the top 3-year-old colts in America hooked up in the stretch in the $1-million FanDuel Racing Pacific Classic at Del Mar Saturday and Zedan Racing Stables’ Arabian Knight held off Pin Oak Stud’s Geaux Rocket Ride by a neck at the conclusion of the 33rd edition of the mile and a quarter Grade I headliner.
The winner, a son of Uncle Mo making only his fourth start, ran the distance in 2:03.19 under Flavien Prat for trainer Bob Baffert. The tally was Part’s third in Del Mar’s premier race, while it was a record-setting seventh score for Hall of Fame trainer Baffert. He had been tied with the late Bobby Frankel with six victories in the race.
Arabian Knight went off as an ever-so-slight favorite over Geaux Rocket Ride and paid $6.20 to his backers. He earned a first prize of $600,000 to push his bankroll to $1,244,275.
Finishing third in the race was Reddam Racing’s Slow Down Andy, a length and a quarter behind “Rocket.”
The FanDuel Racing Pacific Classic was the centerpiece of a five-stakes day at the shore oval that was conducted in sunny and mild conditions. It was run on Day 26 of the track’s 31-day meet that ends on September 10.
Del Mar Mile (Race 7) – Baffert and Lanni’s Du Jour caught a good trip under Flavien Prat and was a winner by two and a quarter lengths in the grass mile. He ran the distance in 1:33.82. His win price was $10.20. Total purse was $302,500 and win share was $180,000.
Torrey Pines Stakes (Race 8) – Favored Ceiling Crusher, owned by the partnership of Cady, Kasparoff, Leatherman and Wonderland Stable, made every pole a winner as rider Edwin Maldonado “walked the dog” in the dirt mile. Final time was 1:37.41. His win price was $6.80. Total purse was $151,500and win share was $90,000.
Green Flash Handicap (Race 9) — Favored Motorious took the overland but got home in plenty of time under Geovanni Franco to capture the Green Flash Handicap by a length and three quarters. He is owned by Anthony Fanticola and paid $7.20 to his backers as the favorite in the 12-horse field. The total purse for the feature was $153,500 and the winner’s share was $90,000. He ran the five furlongs on turf in :56.07.
Del Mar Handicap (Race 11) – Favored Gold Phoenix proved a length and a quarter best Saturday in the Del Mar Handicap, covering the 11 furlongs on turf in 2:15.34. The 5-year-old gelding was handled by leading rider Juan Hernandez and races out of the barn of Phil D’Amato, who was winning the race for a record seventh time. Gold Phoenix paid $7.00 and is owned by Little Red Feather Stables, Sterling Stables and Marsha Naify. The winner earned $180,000 from the gross purse of $303,000.
FLAVIEN PRAT (Arabian Knight, winner) – “He’s a nice horse and he showed it today. He was running easily for me all the way around. He’s lightly raced and I think this race will only make him better. It’s an honor to win a big race like this.”
MIKE SMITH (Geaux Rocket Ride, second) – “Two good horses here; they both gave their best. I thought about staying inside all the way, but then I was afraid I might get stuck down there by the winner. My horse really dug in. It was a great horse race.”
BOB BAFFERT (Arabian Knight, winner) – “Those two horses (Arabian Knight and Geaux Rocket Ride) are really good horses. The wire couldn’t come soon enough. I know it was crazy to come back here and run him at a mile and a quarter but if you/’re going to get beat, I’d rather get beat in a Grade I. I loved the way he digs and fought and he’s going to get better.”
FRACTIONS: :23.35 :46.60 1:11.42 1:36.83 2:03.19
The victory was the third of the meet for rider Prat and the sixth for trainer Baffert.
The stakes win in the FanDuel Pacific Classic was the third in the race for Prat and his 89th overall at Del Mar, ninth most among all riders.
The stakes win in the FanDuel Pacific Classic was the record seventh in the race for trainer Baffert. He now has 162 stakes wins at Del Mar, far and away the most by any trainer.
The winning owner is Zedan Racing Stables