Pacific Classic: Will Prat Have ‘Higher Power’ In His Corner Again?

by | 08.14.2019 | 9:32pm
Seeking the Soul

Seeking the Soul drew the No. 5 spot in a field of 10 and was established as the  3-1 morning line favorite at the post position draw party Tuesday for Saturday's $1-million TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar, Calif.

The 29th running of the signature event of the summer season will go as the 10th race on an 11-race program on a day that includes four other graded stakes and a beach blanket giveaway for Diamond Club members. Post time for the Grade 1 Pacific Classic is 6:35 p.m. PT.

The Pacific Classic is a Win and You're In Breeders' Cup Challenge Series race for the Classic division for the championships that will be held at Santa Anita Nov. 1-2.

Seeking the Soul, a 6-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Perfect Soul, has earnings of more than $3.3 million in a 27-race career that includes a trip to Dubai for the $12 million World Cup this year. Owned by Charles E. Fipke and trained by Dallas Stewart, Seeking the Soul enters the TVG Pacific Classic off a win in the Stephen Foster Handicap in June at Churchill Downs.

If all 10 start it would be the sixth double-digit Classic field since 2010 topped by the 12-horse assembly of 2012. A look by post positions from the rail.

War Story (8-1, Tiago Pereira) – Trainer Jorge Navarro and the 7-year-old Northern Afleet gelding journeyed from New Jersey on Tuesday to receive an unfriendly draw. “I don't like it, but what are you going to do?” Navarro said. Then, smiling, “Hope he breaks well and a couple of the speed horses don't?”

Quip (Florent Geroux, 9-2) – Runner-up to Seeking the Soul in the Stephen Foster, the 4-year-old Distorted Humor colt, trained by Rodolphe Brisset for Winstar Farm and China Horse Club, could secure a spot in the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic that was narrowly missed in June. Both the Stephen Foster and TVG Pacific Classic are “Win and You're In” qualifiers for the BC Classic.

Pavel (Mario Gutierrez, 7-2) – Well-beaten second to Accelerate in the 2018 Classic, the lifetime earner of more than $2 million, trained by Doug O'Neill for J. Paul Reddam, makes his third start since returning from a fourth-place finish in the Dubai World Cup. “Three's a great spot for him, he's doing well and if he runs his race he'll be tough to deal with,” said Team O'Neill representative Steve Rothblum.

For the Top (Martin Garcia, 12-1) – Recent Argentine import trained by five-time Classic winner Bob Baffert for RRR Racing of Sheikh Rashid Bin Humaid Al Nuamai prepped with a third in the 1 ½-mile Cougar II Handicap on July 24. Richard's Kid followed up a Cougar with a win in the 2010 Classic, the third of Baffert's five. “I'm a longshot, but I'd like to see the horse run well and we're keeping him on the dirt,” Baffert said.

Seeking the Soul (John Velazquez, 3-1) – Stewart expressed pleasure with both the post and the pre-race situation. “My horse is doing good, he's training good and I expect a big race from him Saturday.”

Higher Power (Flavien Prat, 8-1) – One of two entrants for trainer John Sadler, who won in 2018 with Accelerate, the 4-year-old son of Medaglia d'Oro, owned by Hronis Racing, was second in the Wickerr Handicap on July 21 and gets the services of meet-leading jockey Flavien Prat. “The way this year has been going, it's like the 'Higher Power' has been on our shoulder the whole time,” said Derek Lawson, Prat's agent. Prat won the Kentucky Derby with Country House via the disqualification of Maximum Security and then rode One Bad Boy to victory in the Queen's Plate, first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown.

Tenfold (Mike Smith, 8-1) – One of four horses shipped in for the race, the 4-year-old son of Curlin trained by Steve Asmussen for Winchell Thoroughbreds won the Pimlico Special in June. A victory by Mike Smith would be his fifth in the Classic, breaking a tie with Garrett Gomez for the most by a jockey. “I like the post and even though I've never been on the horse before, sometimes the first time I ride them is the time I get the most out of them,” Smith said. “I'm going to try, anyway.”

Campaign (Rafael Bejarano,  6-1) – The 4-year-old son of Curlin, trained by John Sadler for Woodford Racing, punched his Classic ticket with a victory in the Cougar II. He gives Bejarano a chance for a first win in the race after going 0-for-9 to this point.

Mongolian Groom (Abel Cedillo, 20-1) – It will be the sixth straight graded stakes in eight 2019 starts for the 4-year-old gelded son of Hightail. A $12,000 purchase at the Ocala sale in the spring of 2017, Mongolian Groom is set to top $250,000 in earnings for trainer Enebish Ganbat and Mongolian Stable. Jockey Abel Cedillo is in his first full summer at Del Mar and is fresh from winning the Grade III Longacres Mile on Sunday aboard Law Abidin' Citizen for trainer Mark Glatt.

Draft Pick (Joe Talamo, 20-1) – The 4-year-old son of Candy Ride stayed close to Catalina Cruiser through most of the San Diego Handicap before settling for third. A first TVG Pacific Classic starter for trainer Peter Eurton and eighth mount for Joe Talamo, who has yet to hit the board. “I'm not saddened by the post. Being outside in a mile and a quarter race, with a long run to the turn, is not that bad.” Eurton said. “It could have been worse. It could have been the one and I hate the one. He's got tactical speed and it'll be up to Joe once the gate opens.”

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