January 09, 2016: Collected, Evers/ESW/CSM

If Accelerate runs his race off a near three-month break he is going to be very tough to beat in Saturday’s one-million-dollar Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar.

The five-year-old possesses tactical speed that should allow jockey Joel Rosario to have him in a perfect spot early, he has run over the Del Mar main track, and he has illustrated in 2018 that getting a mile and a quarter is well within his scope.

I have no interest in playing against the 8-5-morning line favorite on oddsmaker Russell Hudak’s morning line. Pavel and South American import Roman Rosso may have the upside to beat the Hronis Racing owned horse, but I question whether their best will be on display in San Diego County this weekend.

Instead of wagering on #5 Accelerate to Win or playing vertical wagers in the Pacific Classic, I will opt to single him in the late Pick 4.

Here are my thoughts on the three races that surround the Pacific Classic in the late Pick 4:

Race 8: Del Mar Oaks (G1)

As usual this mile and an eighth event over the sod for three-year-old fillies attracted an extremely solid group. #4 Ollie’s Candy merits major respect after proving she could translate her dirt form to the lawn last time out in the San Clemente (G2.) The daughter of Candy Ride came from well off the pace for the first time and was wide throughout and still almost got to wire-to-wire winner War Heroine. I respect her chances, but think she may get over bet. I also am not fond of the rider change from injured Corey Nakatani to Tyler Baze.

I will lean on three other fillies in this year’s Del Mar Oaks, including the logical #6 Paved for trainer Michael McCarthy. The $320,000 OBS March 2017 purchase for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners was a bit overmatched in the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) at a mile and a quarter, but should find the cutback to nine furlongs and the decreased competition to her liking. She has a strong chance to win, but a pair of other fillies that should offer much greater value interest me as well.

#7 Colonia ships West for trainer Graham Motion after an impressive late run against the bias in the Hatoof at Arlington Park on July 7th. Sometimes European imports that put forth strong efforts in their Stateside debut regress in start number two in North America, but if she moves forward she could get to the wire first.

#8 Californiagoldrush has only raced twice for Hall of Famer Neil Drysdale, but she has won both times, including a ¾ length score versus high-level optional claimers at one mile back in February. If she is ready to fire fresh she could spring the upset. The fact she retains the services of leading rider Flavien Prat is worth noting.

Race 9:

This six-furlong dash for two-year-olds looks like #8 Dueling’s race to lose. The $475,000 Keeneland September 2017 purchase did not show any early zip in his initial start for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, but was full of run late when making up serious ground on well-meant stablemate Rowayton. The added ground on Saturday only helps his cause.

Race 11:

The finale is an optional claimer contested at a mile and a sixteenth over the Jimmy Durante Turf Course. This appears relatively wide-open so I will avoid it other than in my late Pick 4 where I will use several in hopes I can catch a price to close out the Pacific Classic Day slate.

Suggested Ticket ($1 Pick 4)

Race 8: 6+7+8

Race 9: 8

Race 10: 5

Race 11: 2+3+7+9+10+11+12

Ticket Cost: $21