By Emily Shields
The $500,000 TVG Pacific Classic (G1) heads five graded stakes races at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club on Saturday, August 22. Champion Maximum Security tops the 1 ¼-mile race, which drew a field of six.
A winner in nine of his 11 starts, Maximum Security is most famous for being disqualified in the 2019 Kentucky Derby due to interference at the top of the stretch. The son of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner New Year’s Day is a multiple Grade 1 winner who took the $20 million Saudi Cup earlier this season. After that he was transferred into the barn of Bob Baffert from Jason Servis, and came back off the layoff to win the Grade 2 San Diego by a nose here over Midcourt.
Midcourt drew the rail. The son of Midnight Lute has never been worse than second at Del Mar. A Grade 2 winner earlier this year, he is trained by John Shirreffs. He has been top three in nine of twelve starts for owner C R K Stable, and is out of dam Mayo On the Side, a graded stakes winner.
Defending champion Higher Power has not won since taking the 2019 Pacific Classic by more than five lengths. Since then, he has finished second or third in three Grade 1 races, including last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. John Sadler handles the five-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro, who has earned over $1.5 million for owner Hronis Racing. Flavian Prat will be aboard.
Shipping in from Argentina as a legitimate threat is dual Grade 1 winner Mirinaque. The four-year-old colt is unbeaten in three starts at the ten-furlong distance. He is Grade 1 placed on the grass but has done his best running on the dirt. Tiago Pereira will be aboard for his United States debut. Two other Argentinian-bred horses have won this race: Candy Ride and Gentlemen.
Dark Vader is worth a look at a price coming off a one-mile allowance win here on July 25. The Peter Eurton-trainee has had two bullet workouts since then. He was beaten on Grade 2 company two back by top older horse McKinzie, and was regarded so well he was on the 2018 Kentucky Derby trail.
Turf specialist and multiple Grade 2 winner Sharp Samurai rounds out the field of six. Catch every race of the 2020 Del Mar Summer Meeting live on TVG.
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