Seeking the Soul enters Saturday’s $1 million Pacific Classic (G1) in career-best form, posting a rallying win in the June 15 Stephen Foster (G2) at Churchill Downs, and has been tabbed as the 3-1 morning line favorite among 10 runners in Del Mar’s centerpiece event.
The 1 ¼-mile race is a “Win & You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Classic but that’s not a concern for Seeking the Soul after stamping his ticket in the Foster. The six-year-old breaks from post 5 with regular rider John Velazquez.
Winner of the 2017 Clark H. (G1), Seeking the Soul has posted all three of his stakes tallies at Churchill Downs. The Charles Fipke homebred son of Perfect Soul did run well earlier this season when second in the Pegasus World Cup (G1) at Gulfstream Park and the majority of his stakes attempts have come under the Twin Spires. Runner-up in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile runner-up, Seeking the Soul has earned more than $3.5 million under the direction of Dallas Stewart and brings a late-running style to the Pacific Classic.
Grade 1 winner Pavel comes next on the morning line at 7-2. Third most recently in the Suburban (G2) at Belmont Park, the five-year-old gray will try to snap a seven-race losing streak for trainer Doug O’Neill. He did finish a non-threatening second to champion Accelerate in last year’s Pacific Classic and the son of Creative Cause registered a career-best 110 BRIS Speed rating last out. Mario Gutierrez rides.
Quip, the 9-2 third choice, also garnered a career-best Speed rating (104) last time when second in the Stephen Foster. He ships west for Rodolphe Brisset on the upswing, capturing the Oaklawn H. (G2) two back, and Florent Geroux will accompany the four-year-old colt. The French rider knows Del Mar, winning the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic aboard Gun Runner, and Quip appears well-drawn in post 2 for an early/pressing trip.
John Sadler opted not to enter Catalina Cruiser, who likely would’ve been the morning-line favorite following a repeat win in the July 20 San Diego (G2) over the track, due to distance concerns but the three-time leading Del Mar trainer will be represented by the pair of Campaign and Higher Power.
Campaign raced sparingly the past two seasons but has come on age 4, recording his first stakes in the Tokyo City (G3) at Santa Anita three back and a nice score in the Cougar II (G3) at Del Mar most recently. Rafael Bejarano will guide the early 6-1 fourth choice. Higher Power is one of trio of runners at 8-1 on the morning line and the multiple stakes-placed colt will go turf-to-dirt with leading rider Flavien Prat after a runner-up in the Wickerr four weeks ago.
Pimlico Special (G3) victor Tenfold, ninth in the Stephen Foster, and last-out Monmouth Cup (G3) winner War Story also are pegged at 8-1 by odds maker Russ Hudak. Completing the field are Mongolian Groom and Draft Pick, second and third respectively in the San Diego; and Cougar third-placer For the Top.