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Aug 26, 2005

Borrego wins Pacific Classic


Del Mar, CA (Sports Network) - Borrego came from well off the pack to post a

half-length victory over Perfect Drift in Sunday's $1 million Grade I Pacific Classic

at Del Mar.

Borrego, ridden by Garrett Gomez and trained by Beau Greely, covered the 1 1/4

mile race in 2.00.71 on a fast track.

The four-year-old colt, who won for the first time in his last six starts, has now

 recorded four victories in 18 lifetime races and pushed his career earnings to just

over $1.45 million.

Borrego, who finished second to post-time favorite Lava Man in the Hollywood

Gold Cup earlier this summer, won for the first time since taking an optional claiming

 race at Santa Anita in February.

The race began as expected with the two favorites -- Lava Man and Surf Cat -- locked

up in a speed duel at the front. Surf Cat took a narrow lead around the quarter pole,

which he covered in a quick 22.68 seconds, while Borrego was well off the pace, some

 10 lengths behind.

At the half-mile pole, Lava Man, the 9-5 favorite, grabbed the lead while Surf Cat fell

to second. Borrego was still towards the back of the pack, but was beginning to make

 his move as he swung six wide heading home.

Lava Man maintained his lead around the final turn and had a one-length advantage

on a tiring Surf Cat down the stretch before the pack began to chase him down. Borrego

 and Perfect Drift then came flying down the lane and quickly passed many of the tired

horses who were caught up near the speed duel, while Choctaw Nation was not far behind.

Borrego, who went off at 11-1, eventually seized the upperhand with a powerful burst in

 the final furlongs and Gomez was able to hold off Perfect Drift before Lava Man held on

 for third place, a neck in front of Choctaw Nation.

"I knew that the horses in front of us were going to back up and I was just trying to wait

 as long as I could," said Gomez.

Choctaw Nation got up for a close fourth, while Super Frolic, Surf Cat, Oceanus, Congrats,

 Island Fashion, Ace Blue and Musique Toujours rounded out the 11-horse field.

The six-year-old Perfect Drift, who was coming off a win in the Washington Park Handicap,

 ran his career earnings to nearly $3.7 million.

Lava Man, who had won his last three races, including the prestigious Hollywood Gold Cup,

 was pulled up at the wire after apparently suffering a problem with his right front, but

 seemed to be okay.

Borrego returned $24.40, $8.80 and $4.20, while Perfect Drift paid $5.40 and $3.20.

Lava Man returned $2.60 for show.

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