Jeremy Plonk: Pacific Classic Post Draw Reaction

Flightline, unbeaten and dominant winner of the Grade 1 Malibu and Met Mile, drew post 5 of 6 for Saturday’s $1 million Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar. All 4 of Flightline’s victories to this point have been at 1 mile or less, giving his 5 challengers over 1-1/4 miles a glimmer of optimism. The 1-5 morning line favorite coasted to a nearly 13-length allowance victory in his only previous Del Mar appearance nearly a year ago Saturday.

Bettors playing the Pacific Classic Day action with 1/ST BET and Xpressbet can take advantage of $30,000 in Hit & Split bonuses surrounding the day’s key bets and races at Del Mar and at Saratoga.

The 32nd edition of the Pacific Classic matches most of the top players from the Southern California handicap division. $10.8 million earner Country Grammer (post 2) bagged big money this winter in Saudi Arabia and Dubai. The 2021 Hollywood Gold Cup champ is a clear 4-1 second choice in the morning line. He was defeated in the local prep, the Grade 2 San Diego, by upset-minded returnee Royal Ship (post 3). Third-place finisher Stilleto Boy (post 6) also will be back for another swing, and may have the most natural early speed of those trying to chase Flightline from the outset. The favorite should be aided by a modest early pace scenario.

Express Train (post 4) missed the San Diego, a race he won a year ago prior to a disappointing sixth-place finish in the Pacific Classic. He’ll come into Saturday’s race fresher as he was last seen at the end of April. The field also includes Grade 3 Cougar II Stakes third-place finisher Extra Hope (post 1) on the cut-back in trip from 12 furlongs to 10.

The balance of Saturday’s Del Mar card, which featured 5 stakes, will be drawn on Wednesday. The Pacific Classic is earmarked for Race 10 of 11 with first post Saturday at 4:00 pm ET.

Del Mar // $1 million Pacific Classic // 1-1/4 miles

1. Extra Hope // Richard Mandella // Tyler Baze // 30-1
2. Country Grammer // Bob Baffert // John Velazquez // 4-1 ML
3. Royal Ship // Richard Mandella // Mike Smith // 8-1 ML
4. Express Train // John Shirreffs // Victor Espinoza // 12-1 ML
5. Flightline // John Sadler // Flavien Prat // 1-5 ML
6. Stilleto Boy // Ed Moger Jr. // Juan Hernandez // 20-1

For more Pacific Classic coverage visit and the blog section at throughout the week. Select workouts are available free at

continue reading