Higher Power, Maximum Security Have Final Pacific Classic Breezes

Defending champion Higher Power and Maximum Security, the No. 1 ranked Thoroughbred in North America, put in their final workouts for an anticipated showdown in Saturday’s 30th running of the signature event of the Del Mar meeting – the Grade 1, $500,000 TVG Pacific Classic.

Higher Power was officially timed in 1:12.80 for six furlongs in his fourth workout over the Del Mar track since the start of the meet and third since a third-place finish to Maximum Security, beaten 6 ¼ lengths, in the Grade II, $150,000 San Diego Handicap on July 25.

In his fifth work here since July 11, and third since the San Diego Handicap, Maximum Security drilled seven furlongs in 1:25.40.

The Pacific Classic is a “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race, with the winner receiving a fees-paid berth for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, along with a travel allowance for the Nov. 6-7 championships at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky.

“We’re quite pleased,” trainer John Sadler said of the exercise, with assistant trainer and exercise rider Juan Leyva in the irons, for Higher Power. “It was a normal kind of last work. Not too fast. Just what you’d want.”

Higher Power was positioned outside workmate St. Joe Bay and had interim fractions of :36.20 and 1:00.20 on the way to his final clocking, which was only two-tenths of a second from the best of seven at the distance.

Maximum Security, with exercise rider Juan Ochoa up, worked outside stablemate McKale with interim clockings of :48.60 and 1:00, getting up to edge in front at the wire and then galloping out by himself around the clubhouse turn to the three-quarter pole. McKale was timed in 1:01.40 for five furlongs.

“I’m very happy with the breeze; he’s right on target for the race,” Baffert said.

Adding a touch of international intrigue to the Classic is the entry of Mirinaque, an import from Argentina for owner/trainer Maria Cristina Munoz.

A 4-year-old son of Hurricane Cat and grandson of Storm Cat, Mirinaque raced three times in Argentina, all in Group I events, between November of 2019 and March of this year. The gray/roan runner won his debut and was second in the subsequent two.

The entry of Mirinaque represents the realization of a dream for Munoz, 44, according to information provided by Del Mar-based trainer Carlos Lopez, interpreting from Spanish for Munoz.

“She came here before to see the Pacific Classic and decided that one day she wanted to have a horse in the race,” Lopez said. “After many years, that dream is coming true.”

Munoz, who started her training career in 1997, was well aware of the Pacific Classic wins by Gentlemen (1997) and Candy Ride (2003) and took in the spectacle of the day in 2013 when Game On Dude provided Bob Baffert with the fourth of his five Classic wins.

Munoz comes from a racing family. Her grandfather and father were prominent trainers at the San Isidro track where Mirinaque made his last two starts. Her mother was a jockey.

Mirinaque drilled four furlongs in :48.80 at 12:45 Sunday afternoon at Del Mar.

The gray/roan colt had Tiago Periera – also a South American by way of Brazil – in the tack for the exercise accomplished over a fast track on a sunny day.

Del Mar clocker Toby Turrell caught splits of  :12.60, :25.20 and :36.60 to start the work, then followed him on the gallop out with five furlongs in 1:00.60 and 1:14.20 for six panels.

Periera will ride Mirinaque in the mile and one-quarter TVG Pacific Classic.

The field, from the rail out with riders and morning line odds: Midcourt (Victor Espinoza, 7-2); Higher Power (Flavien Prat, 3-1); Mirinaque (10-1); Dark Vader (Umberto Rispoli, 12-1),  Maximum Security (Abel Cedillo, 1-1), and Sharp Samurai (Juan Hernandez, 8-1).

The post Higher Power, Maximum Security Have Final Pacific Classic Breezes appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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