The 2023 Pacific Classic

The Pacific Classic drew a full field of 11 including three promising three-year-olds tackling older foes as the Breeders’ Cup Classic get closer. With Arcangelo stamping himself at the head of the three-year-old class, at least for now with a win in The Travers at Saratoga over Mage, National Treasure and Forte, it will be interesting to see how these west coast youngsters fare against older runners and what that does if anything to shake up the division.

Geaux Rocket Ride drew the rail and is one of the three-year-old colts trying older after a sharp win in The Haskell. An up and comer no doubt and in the very astute barn of Richard Mandella. This race was on the radar after The Haskell win, and he has a perfect stalk and pounce style. He did get a perfect trip in The Haskell which helped but he looked sharp in the lane. He was not flattered by mage running subpar in The Travers. All in all, he must be viewed a contender and possibly a major player going forward.

Katonah is in good form but also in deep waters which will likely negate that form. He would really have to step up class wise to contend here at all.

Stilleto Boy is capable on his best but has also been inconsistent and has yet to win at Del Mar in 4 previous tries. He makes his own trips with his tactical speed, but I think someone winds up better than him at the finish.

Tripoli we know can run when in the mood. He had Tiago Pereira on him who has enjoyed a lot of success on this horse. Tripoli appears to have lost a step or two and he’d need to be at his very best for this. Can Sadler have him back to his best? We will have to see but he’d have to be at that level to have a legit shot here.

Despite losing The San Diego Defunded is the one to beat. He is one of the better older horses in training, handles the track and distance, worked good after the San Diego loss and perhaps most important, he has become more versatile. A definite contender despite the distance being a touch further than his best.

Order and Law comes in off a nice win against softer. He would need to handle both a class hike and faster company. I say prove it.

Slow Down Andy is game and honest. He brings it every time and deserves a win against top company at some point. A mile and a quarter pushes his range so while he likely shows up and makes some noise, that top company win will be tough to get in here.

Senor Buscador upset the apple cart in The San Diego. He got an ideal set up and run that day and also appears better suited to that shorter distance than the mile and a quarter he will have to get here.

Arabian Knight is scary in this spot. His first two races were off the charts and had him looking as good as any three-year-old in the land. He was off until The Haskell one could easily argue was a race he needed. He as also not flattered by Mage in The Travers and he might have some early pressure to deal with here. That said who knows how much better he is now with one under the belt, and if he happens to clear ………….

Piroli looks to be a cut below these and would need some major improvement to contend.

Skinner should really appreciate this distance. He has been highly regarded for a while now but has yet to break through with that justifying race to back up the hype. It would not surprise me if it happened here, but I won’t be betting on it.

I’ll take Arabian Knight to stamp his ticket as a three-year old force as the season heads towards an end in the Breeders’ Cup. He just might be fast enough to clear and if not, I won’t be shocked if he can sit a trip at this point. Earlier this year I thought he was the best of them, maybe it will turn out I was right. I lean to the three-year-olds here and hopefully this is the right one.




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Jon Stettin

Since childhood, Jon has always had a deep love and respect for the Sport of Kings. His years of experience have earned him a well respected spot in the industry as a handicapper. He now is a frequent contributor to AmWager as well as writing for his own site.

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