Pacific Classic Power Rankings

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D.S. Williamson

August 7th, 2018

Del Mar's signature race, the Pacific Classic, takes place in less than two weeks. This year's Pacific Classic lost some luster after Triple Crown winner Justify was retired. No worries. A new rising star figures to throw his hat into the ring while other top ranked handicap horses are pointing to the "Win and You're In" event.

Check out the Top 5 for the August 18 Pacific Classic.

Pacific Classic Power Rankings

1. Catalina Cruiser

Say what you want, that Catalina Cruiser didn't face anyone of note in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap, he got an easy lead in that race, etc., the John Sadler trainee is still undefeated. I think the Union Rags 4-year-old is the top handicap horse in the country. From my perspective, there doesn't appear to be any horse that can take him down in the Pacific Classic.

That's good news for me because even though he'll go off the favorite, he won't go off as an odds-on favorite. He might not even go off the favorite if Accelerate comes up to the P. Classic looking like the champion he is.

2. Accelerate

At the top of the stretch in the Hollywood Gold Cup, it sure looked like City of Light might easily win. He appeared to be going best while the horse to his inside, Dr. Dorr, started to tire. But, City of Light hung and that allowed Accelerate to go right by both warrior horses.

Even if City of Light had taken off, there's no reason to believe Accelerate wouldn't have caught him. Accelerate can run close to the pace, or, as he showed in the Gold Cup, rate and still win. He's yet another Sadler trainee who could take home the Pacific Classic on August 18.

3. Pavel

Pavel ran by his competitors in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster as if they were standing still. After failing in the Gold Cup, trainer Doug O'Neil sent Pavel to the Stephen Foster. Pavel could bounce out of the Stephen Foster. Or, the win could propel him into super stardom. He might be as good as the Stephen Foster victory indicates.

Plus, there appears to be plenty of speed to set him up. He's yet another that can run close to the pace if nobody challenges Catalina Cruiser early.

4. Beach View

I love Beach View's Cougar Handicap victory. Sure, the rail opened up, but think about it, he had the ability to accelerate close to the rail. Horses don't always like to do that. Beach View should continue to improve for underrated trainer Leonard Powell.

That he means his upside is tremendous. Beach View, because his sire is Giant's Causeway, has Storm Cat on his sire's side. On his dam's side, he's got Mr. Prospector. If he can accelerate that way in a 1 1/2 mile race, he can most definitely accelerate that way in a 1 1/4 mile race.

Right now, I might put him on top just because he's moving upward and the price should be more than fair.

5. Mubtaahij

Bob Baffert gets the most he can out of this 6-year-old horse. It's tough to see Mubtaahij winning the Pacific Classic. It isn't tough to see Mubtaahij finishing in the trifecta. He could also finish in the exacta like he did in the Santa Anita Handicap.

Building a trifecta wager around Mubtaahij to finish second and third could yield massive profit. It's something to consider if you have trouble figuring out which horse can win the Pacific Classic.