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Aug 18, 2006

Lava Man one to beat in Pacific Classic


Del Mar, CA (Sports Network) - Lava Man, undefeated in five starts this year, is the 8-5 morning line favorite for Sunday's $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar. The 1 1/4 mile race has drawn a field of eight for Del Mar's signature event.

Lava Man, trained by Doug O’Neill, will try to become the first thoroughbred to win the three major stakes races in southern California for older horses in the same year. The five-year-old gelding has already captured the Santa Anita Handicap and, for the second straight year, the Hollywood Gold Cup.

Owned by STD Racing Stable and Jason Wood, Lava Man began 2006 by claiming the Sunshine Millions Classic at Santa Anita. He went on to win two straight turf races, the Khaled and the Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap.

Lava Man finished a close third in the Pacific Classic last year behind Borrego. Overall he has won 12 of 32 career starts for better than $2.9 million. He will start on Sunday from post 2 with Corey Nakatani again in the saddle.

Giacomo, the 2005 Kentucky Derby winner, is the 3-1 second choice in the morning line. The four-year-old will break from post 4 with Mike Smith aboard.

Giacomo is co-owned by Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Moss and Frank Stronach, and trained by John Shirreffs. He is coming off a win in the San Diego Handicap four weeks ago, his first win since the Run for the Roses.

Giacomo has career earnings of a little more than $2.2 million with three wins in 13 lifetime starts.

Lone Star Park Handicap winner Magnum is the 5-1 third pick in the program. Owned by Herrick Racing, Magnum will be ridden by Alex Solis from post 5. The five-year-old was a close fourth to Lava Man last time out in the Hollywood Park Gold Cup.

Magnum, trained by Darrell Vienna, has five wins in 18 lifetime starts for $663,414. Back in March he was beaten less than a length in the Santa Anita Handicap by Lava Man.

Perfect Drift will be making his third straight start in the Pacific Classic on Sunday. The last two years the seven-year-old has finished second in this race. Losing to Pleasantly Perfect in 2004 and Borrego last year by a half- length.

Perfect Drift has career winnings of $4.5 million in 39 starts. he has 11 victories along with 12 seconds. He will start from post 6 this year with his regular rider Mark Guidry. The gelding is 6-1 in the morning line.

Completing the field for Sunday's Pacific Classic are Top This and That, Preachinatthebar, Super Frolic and Good Reward.

The race will be televised on ESPN2 with a post-time of 7:43 p.m. (et).

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