John Sadler-trained Accelerate, the likely morning line favorite for Saturday's$1 million TVG Pacific Classic and race-nominated The Lieutenant and Unique Bella logged final works Sunday for the signature event of the Del Mar summer season.
With assistant trainer Juan Leyva up, the 5-year-old son of Lookin At Lucky was timed in 1:26.00 for seven furlongs after covering the first six in 1:14.00 by the track's crew of clockers.
“Very good work, no problems under some pretty severe conditions,” Sadler said. “The track's very heavy and there's a lot of humidity, but he handled it well like a good horse.”
Sadler also has San Diego Handicap winner Catalina Cruiser nominated and fit for the race, but has expressed the desire to keep them separate. Both are owned by Hronis Racing LLC.
Accelerate, the reigning Santa Anita Handicap and Gold Cup at Santa Anita champion, has been designated as the Pacific Classic representative.
“That's the plan as of now,” Sadler said.
Mike McCarthy-trained The Lieutenant, most recently second to Diversify in last month's Grade II Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park, went five furlongs in company with stablemate Paved, a nominee to the Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Oaks on Pacific Classic Day.
Drayden Van Dyke, who has the call on both, was aboard Paved. Exercise rider Norman Rodriguez was up on The Lieutenant. Track clockers had The Lieutenant going five furlongs in 1:01.60. McCarthy had the pair going the final quarter in :24.60.
“Very pleased with both,” McCarthy said. “The Lieutenant was well in hand and Paved was well within herself. It was a nice maintenance work and I'm pleased with the way both of them are coming up to their races next weekend.”
Unique Bella cruised four furlongs in :51.40 under exercise rider Freddie Rodriguez. “A nice work,” said Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, but not one that will have any influence on the decision whether to test the champion filly against males for the first time.
Hollendorfer, among other trainers, is expected to delay a decision until close to the entry deadline of 10 a.m. Tuesday. With the field set, post positions will be drawn at a party starting at 3:30 that afternoon at The Brigantine restaurant overlooking the track.
The racing office lists “probables” Accelerate, Beach View, Mubtaahij, Pavel, Prime Attraction, The Lieutenant and Roman Rosso. “Possibles” are: Ann Arbor Eddie, Catalina Cruiser and Dr. Dorr. Nominees considered “doubtful” are: El Huerfano, Full of Luck, Multiplier, Two Thirty Five and Unique Bella.
The Pacific Classic is a “Win and You're In” qualifier for the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic in November at Churchill Downs.
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