Pacific Classic Day Figures To Be Busy One For Michael McCarthy

Trainer Mike McCarthy has four of his own charges to saddle in three of the five graded stakes on Saturday’s $1 million TVG Pacific Classic card in Del Mar, Calif. – and one extra.

McCarthy has multiple graded stakes winner Smooth Like Strait, the 9-5 second choice to 8-5 favorite Mo Forza in the Grade 2 $300,000 Del Mar Mile, the seventh race on the program. He has Independence Hall (5-1) and former boss Todd Pletcher’s Dr Post (4-1) to take care of in the G1 Pacific Classic. And he’ll end the busy day with two to saddle, Crossfirehurricane (30-1) and Master Piece (15-1) in the G2 Del Mar Handicap Presented by The Japan Racing Association, which is the nightcap of an 11-race program.

For most of the build-up to the Classic, it appeared that Independence Hall would not be a participant. The Charles Town Classic on Aug. 27 was considered the destination for the 4-year-old son of Constitution.

But things changed.

“We decided to run him right out of his stall rather than ship across country,” McCarthy said. “He’s a horse that has a lot of ability and he’s trained well up to this point. We’ll lead him over and hope for the best. It’s a great position (No. 7) and hopefully we get a good break and take it from there.”

Two late changes, announced at the post position draw, worth noting: Florent Geroux replacing the originally announced Trevor McCarthy in the saddle and the addition of blinkers.

McCarthy, an assistant to Pletcher for 11 ½ years before going out on his own, has had Dr Post in his stable since the horse’s arrival from Saratoga on Tuesday and will do the saddling duties. Pletcher, recently recovered from a bout of COVID, will remain in New York.

Dr Post, a 4-year-old son of Quality Road who was a $400,000 purchase at the 2018 Keeneland September sale, has nearly doubled his purchase price with four wins from nine career starts. He has two G3 wins from three 2021 starts. His only loss came in the G1 Metropolitan Mile Handicap.

Pletcher’s entire previous Del Mar experience came during the 2017 Breeders’ Cup when he had one win and five out-of-the-money results from six starters and left with earnings of $144,345. Destin got Pletcher’s crew off to a good start winning the Marathon, but a fifth-place from March X Press in the Juvenile Turf Sprint was the best from five other starters.

McCarthy’s Smooth Like Strait is nearing millionaire status with $983,823 from seven wins in 16 lifetime starts entering the Del Mar Mile. The 4-year-old son of Midnight Lute won the G3 La Jolla Handicap and was second in the G1 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar in 2020 and was second, beaten a neck by United, in the G2 Eddie Read on July 24.

“I thought he was a little unlucky in the Eddie Read, but he came out of it good and has trained well,” McCarthy said. “This is obviously an excellent race, a strong field, but he likes Del Mar and gives a good effort every time.”

Crossfirehurricane was imported from Ireland and made his U.S. debut for McCarthy in the Shoemaker that was won by stablemate Smooth Like Strait in May. Having some time to acclimate to new surroundings and going from a mile race to the 1 3/8 miles of the Del Mar Handicap should be more to the Kitten’s Joy colt’s liking.

“He needs to have some pace to run at and obviously he’s going to get that,” McCarthy said.

Master Piece is a newcomer to the McCarthy barn, having made his first four U.S. starts since arrival from South America for trainer Chad Brown in the Midwest or East.

The post Pacific Classic Day Figures To Be Busy One For Michael McCarthy appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.