Post position drawing for TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar, August 19
Even though there’s a one-in-ten chance of winning $1,000,000 on August 22, the ten owners of horses entered into the Pacific Classic at Del Mar had to wait on August 19 for the drawing for post positions (assigned starting-gate numbers).
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Thoroughbred Club CEO Joe Harper said some stables were concerned about the position drawn, others were not. “Unless you have a fast starter, you don’t want to be close to the rail [because of traffic with other horses],” said Harper. “But with this one-and-a-quarter mile, the horses have plenty of room,” he said, pointing out they’ll have the whole stretch out of the gate to sort it out before hitting turn one.
Others owners are slightly superstitious. “If someone won out of [gate] number five last time, they may want that gate again,” Harper added.
By 10:30 a.m., about 75 horse owners, trainers, jockeys, and racing enthusiasts gathered at the track’s Plaza de Mexico for the draw. Track announcer Trevor Denman announced the results as the ten numbered balls where drawn.
Kent and Pat Newmark of Rancho Santa Fe are 1/20th fractional owners of the horse Bailoutbobby, through the Great Friends Stables. They were hoping for the #1 post position. Close — Bailoutbobby drew gate #2. The Newmarks were happy with the draw.
“We’re the longest of long shots out there, but three weeks ago he came in second by a neck,” said Kent. Great Friends Stables is a group of 20 “investors,” more like horse enthusiasts, who own and race horses.
After the draw, handicappers announced the morning line (opening odds), which placed a female, Beholder, as the favorite. “I thought there might be a male bias,” said Beholder’s trainer, Richard Mandella. If Beholder wins, she will be the first female horse to win the annual Classic.
“She’s a sweetheart in the stall but out on the track she doesn’t know she’s a girl. She just runs,” said Beholder’s Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens.
According to Charlie McCaul, “clerk of scale” for the track, for the Classic, owners pay $300 to be nominated for the big-money race, then $2500 to officially enter. If the horse actually goes into the race, the owners pony up the final entry fee of $12,500.
With one of the largest purses in West Coast horse race tracks, the $1,000,000 TVG Pacific Classic will go off at Del Mar on Saturday, August 22, as the 9th race. Post time is 6:00 p.m.