The deadline for regular nominations to the 29th running of the Grade I TVG Pacific Classic passed Thursday night with 18 on the list compiled by the Del Mar racing office.
The list includes five that would need to be shipped in from eastern tracks in the days before the Saturday, August 17 race. The latest nominee – joining fellow out-of-staters Seeking the Soul, Quip, Tenfold and War Story – is Todd Pletcher-trained Bal Harbour.
A four-year-old gelded son of First Samurai, owned by the late John J. Brunetti, Sr.'s Red Oak Stable, Bal Harbour comes in off a second place finish in the Monmouth Cup on July 20, beaten a head by fellow Pacific Classic nominee War Story.
Bal Harbour has five wins in 16 career starts and earnings of $388,755.
The TVG Pacific Classic's $1 million purse, with $600,000 to the winner, is the largest for a Thoroughbred race on the West Coast other than Breeders' Cup events. The 1 ¼-mile main track test is a “Win and You're In” qualifier for the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic in November at Santa Anita.
In addition to previously mentioned horses, the nominee list consists of, in alphabetical order: Blended Citizen, California Street, Campaign, Catalina Cruiser, Draft Pick, Fawree, For the Top, Gray Magician, Higher Power, Julius, Major Cabbie, Mongolian Groom and Pavel.
Several of the locally-based prospects will be put through final workouts for the race over the weekend.
Trainer John Sadler, who notched his first Pacific Classic victory with Accelerate last year, plans to work his three candidates – Catalina Cruiser, Campaign and Higher Power – Saturday morning. Two will go at the 6:30 a.m. training session and the third at 7:45.
Catalina Cruiser won the TVG Pacific Classic stepping stone San Diego Handicap. Campaign took the Cougar II Handicap and Higher Power was the runner-up in the Wickerr, all in the first six days of the meeting. Sadler has indicated that Campaign, owned by Woodford Racing, is targeted for the Classic. Decisions regarding Catalina Cruiser and Higher Power, both owned by Hronis Racing, will be made sometime after the works.
Doug O'Neill said Pavel, who has two works over the track since finishing second in the Suburban at Belmont Park on July 6, will put in his final exercise either Saturday or Sunday.
The fee for early nominations was $300. Supplemental nominations at a cost of $10,000 will be accepted up until the time of entries Tuesday morning.
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