Dullahan (5-1) ran down Game on Dude (6-5) in the final half-furlong and won the $1 Million Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar race track today establishing a track record on the process.
This race was reminiscent of his victory at the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland back in April.
With jockey Joel Rosario aboard, Dullahan made a sweeping moving at the eight-pole and was the only horse at the top of the stretch with dead aim and any momentum to run down the leader Game on Dude with Chantal Sutherland aboard trying her best to defend the lead.
At the Blue Grass, Dullahan, then ridden by Kent Desormeaux, ran down the favorite and then race leader Hansen with half-a-furlong to go and drew away to win establishing a stakes record with 1:47.94 for the nine furlongs.
At the start of the race, the longest shot of the race, Riveting Reason at 75-1 with David Flores aboard, went for the lead from post 10 and crossed in front of Game on Dude who settled to run fourth right behind Akkadian and Suggestive Boy (ARG) and just in front of Rail Trip to his inside.
Dullahan was running right and, second betting choice, Richard's Kid (9-2) was second-to-last just in front of Where's Sterling who trailed the field.
They reached the back stretch and Game on Dude came alive and started to track down Riveting Reason and took the lead right before the three-quarter mile.
The trailers started to make the move as Game on Dude took the lead and started to kick away upfront trying to stretch his lead.
As they were taking the final turn, Joel Rosario decided to go four-wide and not stop the momentum he had going with Dullahan while Richard's Kid—who was advancing with Dullahan—encountered horses backing up and his jockey Victor Espinoza had to check up.
Dullahan continued his big sweeping move and Rosario was all out on him during the home stretch drive and caught Game on Dude with 100 meters to go and won the race in track record-setting time 1:59.54 for the 10 furlongs.
Richard's Kid restarted his drive on the stretch once the hole opened at the top of the stretch, but by then he was five lengths behind Dullahan who was in second place at that time, virtually closing his winning chances.
It was another superb performance by Dullahan on a Polytrack synthetic surface and he gets the winner's check of $600,000 with the victory.
He has now won three of 12 career starts for $1,702,091 lifetime and all three wins have come on synthetic surfaces where he is perfect winning two Grade I stakes races among them.
He had come from very subpar performances at the Belmont Stakes and Haskell Invitational, and many wondered if he had anything left and had any chance to win, especially being the only three-year-old in the race.
But trainer Dale Romans made a great choice by running on this race and Dullahan didn't disappoint. Des Moines lawyer Jerry Crawford is primary owner of the Iowa-based group that owns Dullahan and he was with the group was at the track ecstatic with the win.
The Pacific Classic is a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" race. The victory gives Dullahan an automatic spot in the Breeders' Cup Classic on November 3 at Santa Anita.
Game on Dude, trained by Bob Baffert, ran a terrific race in a surface that is not his best. He is being pointed to the Breeders' Cup Classic which will suit hims, running at Santa Anita—his home track.
Richard's Kid, who is now under Doug O'Neill, was running his race and was coming along with Dullahan until he found traffic at the final quarter-pole.
It will remain to be an unknown whether he had enough to run down Dullahan and Game on Dude, at least it looked like he was full of run at the end.
The big one missing this year was the race's defending champion, Eclipse Award-winning Acclamation, who is sidelined indefinitely with a left front ankle injury.
|Race Name: TVG Pacific Classic S. - Grade: 1|
|Age Restriction: Three Year Old and Upward|
|Value of Race: $1,000,000|
|Distance: One And One Fourth Miles On The All Weather Track|
|Track Condition: Fast|
|Fractions: 23.61, 46.98, 1:11.08, 1:35.25 Winning Time: 1:59.54 |
|9||Game On Dude||Chantal Sutherland||3.20||2.40|
|3||Richard's Kid||Victor Espinoza||3.00|
Also ran: 1 - Rail Trip , 8 - Suggestive Boy (ARG) , 2 - Amani (CHI) , 7 - Jaycito , 4 - Where's Sterling , 6 - Akkadian , 10 - Riveting Reason