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Aug 24, 2007

Student Council upsets field in Pacific Classic


Del Mar, CA (Sports Network) - Longshot Student Council upset 11 other thoroughbreds, including defending champ Lava Man, to win Sunday's $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar. The victory puts Student Council in the Breeders' Cup Classic through the "Win and You're In" program.

Lava Man was not only attempting to repeat as Pacific Classic winner, a victory would have given him two straight sweeps of Southern California's major stakes races for older horses. The betting public made Lava Man the 6-5 favorite.

Student Council, with Richard Migliore riding, was sent off at 23-1 since he had not won since January of this year. Last month he was second in an allowance race.

A.P. Xcellent set the pace in the 1 1/4 mile race through the first turn and up the backstretch. Hello Sunday was running second with Lava Man and Albertus Maximus dueling for third.

Entering the far turn Lava Man, ridden by Corey Nakatani, was three wide as he advanced to join A.P. Xcellent and Hello Sunday. Gaining from the back of the field was Student Council

Coming off the turn for home Student Council took the lead with Lava Man in second and Hello Sunday third. With 300 yards to go Student Council moved from the outside of Lava Man to the inside to take command. As the 2006 winner faded, Student Council took charge of the Pacific Classic.

Owned by Millennium Farms, Student Council posted a neck victory over the late running Awesome Gem with Hello Sunday holding on for third. Lava Man suffered just his fourth defeat in the last 14 starts as he finished sixth.

Rounding out the order of finish was Arson Squad, Big Booster, Lava Man, Porfido, Albertus Maximus, A.P. Xcellent, Time Squared, Salty Humor and Sun Boat. Santa Anita Derby winner Tiago was scratched by trainer John Shirreffs who still had A.P. Xcellent entered.

The time for the Pacific Classic was 2:07.29 on the synthetic track.

Student Council more than tripled his earnings with the $600,000 winner's check. With six wins in 21 career starts the five-year-old has banked $852,731.

Trained by Vladimir Cerin, Student Council last entered the winner's circle on January 27 at Sam Houston Race Park when he won the Maxim Gold Cup.

"This win means so many things to me on so many levels," said Migliore. "You don't know how hard it has been for me to come out here (California, from New York) and ride and leave my family behind. But they are all here with me today and this is so sweet. I've been blessed throughout my career and this is a huge blessing. This horse was just so professional and classy today. You couldn't ask more from a horse. I saw how well-bred he was and Vlad said he was doing well. I was so fortunate to pick up this mount. So fortunate. Turning for home I was feeling good, but I knew I had Lava Man with me. I couldn't be sure. But he kept on going. So sweet."

Student Council returned $48.80, $31.80 and $20.60. Awesome Gem paid $12.40 and $8.20, and Hello Sunday paid $9.40 to show.

Two more horses gained entry into Breeders' Cup races on Sunday.

The seven-furlong $300,000 Pat O'Brien Handicap was won by Greg's Gold with Victor Espinoza riding. The victory gives Greg's Gold an automatic spot in the Breeders' Cup Sprint in October at Monmouth Park.

The 2-1 second choice defeated the even-money favorite Surf Cat by 1 1/2 lengths. They were followed by Soul City Slew, Publication, Absolute Glory and Bordonaro.

Crossing The Line punched his ticket to the Breeders' Cup Mile with a win in the $400,000 Del Mar Mile. With Garrett Gomez aboard, he finished a length to the good over Becrux with Isipingo in third. Crossing The Line covered the mile on the turf in 1:32.59. The 8-5 favorite Out of Control was sixth in the nine horse field.

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