2016 Pacific Classic Winner, California Chrome © Zoe Metz for Del Mar Thoroughbred Club
The 27th running of the $1,000,000 TVG Pacific Classic will be held on Saturday, August 19 at Del Mar and be broadcast live by the NBC Sports Network, it has been announced.
The Grade I mile and one-quarter for 3-year-olds and up, captured last year in spectacular fashion by subsequent Horse of the Year California Chrome, will be the centerpiece of the seaside track’s 78th summer season, which runs from July 19 to September 4. It will air from 5 to 6 p.m. (Pacific).
The TVG Pacific Classic is the west’s only million dollar race for older horses. It is again part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series and will guarantee its winner a free spot in the starting gate for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on Saturday, November 4.
“The TVG Pacific Classic has grown in stature year by year,” said DMTC executive vice president and chief operating officer Josh Rubinstein. “And with the Breeders’ Cup coming our way in the fall, we believe this year’s edition will have an extra special interest for horsemen from around the country.”
Rubinstein noted that NBC sees the TVG Pacific Classic as a chance to get an advanced feel for broadcasting from the track where it will show the 13 world championship races worth $28 million on November 3 and 4 this fall. The Breeders’ Cup Classic is run under the same conditions as the TVG Pacific Classic.
The 2016 renewal of the TVG Pacific Classic saw champion California Chrome roll to a five-length tally over the champion mare – and the race’s defending champ – Beholder, as well as the stakes stars Dortmund and Hoppertunity in a stellar field of nine. The race drew additional end-of-the-year plaudits when the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities ranked it as the second-best race in the world for 2016 at its recent LONGINES World Best Horse Race Ceremony in London, topped only by the running of the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
The race also helped trigger the largest single wagering day in Del Mar history with a final tally of $25,060,204 registered on the track’s ledgers.
Last year, Del Mar and the Stronach Group, operators of Santa Anita Park, offered a $1-million “California” bonus to any horse sweeping the TVG Pacific Classic, the Xpressbet Awesome Again Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. California Chrome nearly pulled it off, winning the first two legs smartly, but missing by a half length as the favorite in the BC Classic to rising superstar Arrogate. This year Del Mar and the Stronach Group once again will offer the $1-million bonus to a horse who can sweep the three headline events.
Noteworthy among potential runners for 2017 renewal of the TVG Pacific Classic are a pair of champions whose connections have indicated that the race is currently on their long-range radar. They would be Arrogate, the 3-year-old male Eclipse Award winner and hero of the 2016 Travers Stakes, the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic and last Saturday’s $12 million Pegasus World Cup in his most recent starts, as well as the 4-year-old filly Songbird, the remarkable double champion who has won 11 of her 12 starts, including 10 graded stakes.
Just as it did last year, Del Mar plans to offer two other major stakes races on its 2017 TVG Pacific Classic Day program – the Grade I, $300,000 Del Mar Oaks and the Grade II $250,000 Del Mar Handicap.
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