Generally an allowance-class horse earlier in his career when based in the Midwest, Higher Power has officially blossom on the West Coast following a scintillating performance by the four-year-old in Saturday’s $1 million Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar for owner Kosta Hronis and trainer John Sadler.
While not as authoritative in victory in the Pacific Classic as the connections’ champion Accelerate was 12 months ago, Higher Power was dominant all the same as he seized control from pace-setting Quip on the far turn and coasted home under Flavien Prat.
Higher Power rated in second through early fractions of :23.68, :47.69, and 1:12.65, and gave his rider plenty of confidence throughout the 1 1/4 miles.
“I was cruising down the backside,” Prat said. “He dragged me the whole way.”
Higher Power finished up in 2:02.45 over a fast track, and paid $21.20 as a 9-1 chance in the field of 10. Draft Pick and Mongolian Groom, 13-1 and 18-1 longshots, rallied for second and third, respectively.
The order of finish was rounded out by Tenfold, Campaign, War Story, 2-1 favorite Seeking the Soul, Pavel, Quip, and For the Top.
Campaigned earlier in his career by breeder Pin Oak Stud, Higher Power was privately acquired by Hronis earlier this spring. His first start for the stable was in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) on May 27, in which he finished fifth to Vino Rosso while stablemate Gift Box finished second.
The latter was not under consideration for the Pacific Classic having met a setback, but Higher Power ran and worked his way into the picture. Following the Gold Cup, the Kentucky-bred son of Medaglia d’Oro won a one-mile allowance on turf and followed up with a close second in the $90,000 Wickerr at Del Mar, also over a mile on the grass.
“He had a super work last week,” said Sadler in reference to a six-furlong move over Del Mar’s main track on August 10. “Flavien loved him.”
Higher Power now has an even bigger race on his agenda for November as the Pacific Classic was a “Win & You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge prep for the Classic (G1) at Santa Anita, a race won by Accelerate last year.
Produced by multiple stakes winner Alternate, by Seattle Slew, Higher Power is a half-brother to multiple Grade 2 winner Alternation and the stakes-winning Interrupted. Alternate is herself a half-sister to Canadian Horse of the Year Peaks and Valleys.