Picks and Ponderings: 2018 Pacific Classic Preview

Saturday will mark the 28th edition of the Pacific Classic, Del Mar’s marquee race for the handicap division.

The race has always been contested at a mile and a quarter over the Del Mar main: polytrack from 2007 through 2014, and dirt otherwise.  The race offers a $1,000,000 purse, as well as a Win and You’re In berth into the Breeders’ Cup Classic for the winner.  Thus far, no winner of the Pacific Classic has gone on to win the BC Classic in the same year.  Pleasantly Perfect (2004), however, had already won the BC Classic the year before.  Bertrando (1993) finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic that same year, overtaken late by 133/1 longshot Arcangues.  Recent winners have, like Bertrando, come close in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.  2016 winner California Chrome finished second behind Arrogate in that year’s Classic; the next year, Collected finished second behind Gun Runner in the same race.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of the Pacific Classic, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Picks and Ponderings: 2018 Bruce D. Memorial Stakes Preview

The Bruce D. Memorial Stakes is the only one of Saturday’s five stakes carded for the polytrack, and the only ungraded stakes of the group.  Originally run as the Straight Line Stakes between 2012 and 2014, it was renamed in 2015 to honour R. Bruce Duchossois (1950-2014), son of Arlington Park chairman Richard Duchossois.  Bruce Duchossois was involved in horse sports as well — though he made his name in the eventing world, not the racing world.  He rode Kim’s Song to the American Horse Shows Association Horse of the Year title in 1973, and served as vice president of the United States Equestrian Team Foundation.

Though the race is an open stakes, locals have done extremely well over its history.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of the Bruce D. Memorial Stakes, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Picks and Ponderings: 2018 Pucker Up Stakes Preview

This race is named after Pucker Up, the 1957 Champion Older Female Horse.  Owned by Dan and Ada Rice (who campaigned 1965 Kentucky Derby winner Lucky Debonair) and trained by Jimmy Conway, she went on a tear at age four.  At Arlington, she beat her own sex in the Arlington Matron.  Out at Washington Park, she took on the boys in the Washington Park Handicap and emerged victorious.  The daughter of Olympia also took her form out of the Chicago area, winning the Beldame Handicap at Belmont that year.

Arlington has carded a race in Pucker Up’s honour since 1961.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of Saturday’s Pucker Up Stakes, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!