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Sep 04, 2009

Solid field of 12 for Pacific Classic



Del Mar, CA (Sports Network) - An evenly matched field of 12 older thoroughbreds has been entered for Sunday's 19th running of the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar. The 1 1/4 mile race is a "Win and You're In" event for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita on November 7.

Earning the 5-2 morning-line favorite's role is Colonel John, who was one of the best three-year-olds of 2008. The four-year-old colt will start from post six with last year's winning jockey Garrett Gomez riding.

While this will be Colonel John's first start in the Pacific Classic, Gomez has won the race four times. Last year with Go Between, in 2005 with Borrego and twice with Skimming in 2000 and 2001.

"They're all very special," noted Gomez. "It's been very good for me. It was one of the first major races I won, and it was the first big race I won (Borrego) after I came back (being away from racing for more than a year). It's always been a special race in my heart and I've been lucky to have the right horses at the right time. I hope I'm lucky again this year and have the right horse again."

Colonel John is trained by Eoin Harty for WinStar Farms and is coming off a win in the Wickerr Stakes at Del Mar in his first race of the year. With wins in 2008 in the Santa Anita Derby and Travers Stakes, the colt has earned more than $1.5 million lifetime with wins in half of his 12 career starts.

"I chose the Pacific Classic because I didn't have to ship and he's shown a fondness for this racetrack down here," explained Harty about his decision. "He's trained very, very well over the surface, and I just felt that, you know, the odds were stacked in my favor if I stay here rather than go to New York and tackling Rachel Alexandra."

Top money earner in the race, Einstein, is the 7-2 second choice and will break from post 10 with Julien Leparoux in the saddle. The seven-year-old has won better than $2.7 million in his career with 11 victories in 27 starts.

This year Einstein won the Santa Anita Handicap and Churchill Downs' Turf Classic. Midnight Cry Stable owns the veteran racehorse with Helen Pitts Blasi training.

Hollywood Gold Cup champ Rail Trip is 4-1 in the program for owner Jay Em Ess Stable and trainer Ron Ellis. The four-year-old gelding will be ridden by Jose Valdivia, Jr. from post three.

Rail Trip won the Santana Mile at Santa Anita this year followed by second- place finishes in the Mervyn Leroy and Californian. In his career he has won six of eight starts for $667,790.

"Rail Trip is a very good horse," noted Harty, "he's a very likely race horse and if he just keeps improving I think he's going to be a hellacious horse down the road. He had a very good workout on the track the other day. I think he's a pretty serious contender.

"And Einstein, he's an iron horse, doesn't matter where you run him or what surface you run him on he always shows up and always runs a very big race."

Here is the complete field for the Pacific Classic in post position order: Informed, Tyler Baze, 10-1; Song of Navarone, Joel Rosario, 20-1; Rail Trip, Jose Valdivia, Jr., 4-1; Richard's Kid, Mike Smith, 15-1; Mast Track, David Flores, 15-1; Colonel John, Garrett Gomez, 5-2; Misremembered, Victor Espinoza, 12-1; Global Hunter, Corey Nakatani, 20-1; Tres Borrachos, Joe Talamo, 20-1; Einstein, Julien Leparoux, 7-2; Parading, Rafael Bejarano, 10-1 and Awesome Gem, Alex Solis, 12-1.

Misremembered is a three-year-old and will carry 118 pounds, while the older horses will carry 124.

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