A convincing winner of the Santa Anita H. (G1) and Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1), Accelerate can reinforce his stranglehold upon Southern California’s older horse division and earn an expenses-paid trip to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) in Saturday’s 28th running of the $1 million Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar. Oddsmaker Russ Hudak has installed the chestnut as the 8-5 morning line favorite among eight rivals and the 1 ¼-mile race serves as “Win and You’re In” for the November 3 Classic at Churchill Downs.
Accelerate won his first three starts at Del Mar before finishing third in last year’s Pacific Classic. He’s captured three-of-four starts at age five and his BRIS Speed ratings are outstanding, with the Kentucky-bred son of Lookin at Lucky posting 106-108-111 numbers in his last three outings. He’s well-drawn in post 5 for another stalk-and-pounce trip but won’t have regular rider Victor Espinoza in the saddle due to injury.
Joel Rosario, who captured the 2012 Pacific Classic aboard Dullahan, picks up the assignment for owner Hronis Racing and trainer John Sadler.
Bob Baffert will send a pair postward, Dr. Dorr and Roman Rosso, in pursuit of a record-tying sixth Pacific Classic victory. He trails Bobby Frankel by one after winning with Collected last year and Grade 2 scorer Dr. Dorr is a known commodity for the Hall of Fame conditioner, finishing second most recently in the July 21 San Diego (G2) at Del Mar.
However, South American import Roman Rosso represents a new face in the mix and will make his North American debut for a new barn with a three-race Group 1-winning streak in tow. The Argentinean-bred son of Roman Ruler concluded 2017 with a pair of convincing tallies in his homeland and exits a win in the March 11 Latinoamericano (G1) in Uruguay.
Roman Rosso is listed as the 5-1 third choice with Flavien Prat. Joe Talamo rides the 6-1 Dr. Dorr.
Pavel snapped a six-race losing streak in decisive fashion last out, rolling to a 3 ¾-length decision in the June 16 Stephen Foster (G1) at Churchill Downs, and has been pegged as the 7-2 second choice with regular pilot Mario Gutierrez. Doug O’Neill, who captured the 2006 Pacific Classic with Lava Man, will seek his second win in Del Mar’s signature race.
The Lieutenant, a half-brother to Triple Crown winner Justify, enters on the upswing for Michael McCarthy. The 5-year-old son of Street Sense earned his first graded triumph in the All American (G3) at Golden Gate Fields two back and exits a second to Diversify in the July 7 Suburban (G2) at Belmont Park. Drayden Van Dyke regains the mount on the early 6-1 co-fourth choice.
Prime Attraction, a Grade 3 victor on the main track, will go turf-to-dirt for Jim Cassidy following a close third in the July 22 Eddie Read (G2) at Del Mar. Kent Desormeaux will be up. Beach View steps up after recording his initial stakes win, a 4 ¾-length romp in the 1 ½-mile Cougar II (G3) earlier in the meet, and Rafael Bejarano sticks with the Leonard Powell trainee. Two Thirty Five, who needs to find form off a fourth in the San Diego, completes the field.