We start our review of last Saturday’s graded stakes action with Saratoga’s Alabama Stakes and, once again, the mighty Songbird carried all before her and devastated a decent field. Go Maggie Go tried to serve it up to the 1/5 favorite and led for 6 furlongs but she was rapidly put in her place thereafter and finished a well-beaten 6th. Songbird took it up before the mile pole and strode away to win by 7 lengths with Going For Broke a staying on but well beaten second.
Songbird is peerless in her division and has nothing left to prove. All we can do is enjoy her spectacular ability and wonder where she will go next. Will she take on the boys? That would certainly be worth watching!
For the rest of our review we will focus on the stellar racing that took place at Del Mar, starting with the Del Mar Oaks over a mile and an eighth of the turf track. Harmonize had been shipped in so she could compete in a race without the mighty Catch A Glimpse and she certainly seemed to enjoy the absence of her “bête noire”!
Harmonize likes a bit of a scrap so Alvarado raced her in 7th place amongst horses for much of the race. She was only really unleashed in the final furlong when she battled through horses to get in front on the line, beating Decked Out by a head. Mokat, the 3/1 favorite ran ok and was never far off the pace, eventually finishing 4th beaten about a length.
The Del Mar Handicap, a grade 2 affair for 3 year olds and up over a mile and three eighths of the turf track, was won by the 6/4 favorite Ashleyluvssugar. He has been very consistent and deserved to win a race of this nature. He led after about 3 furlongs and controlled the fractions thereafter. After a mile he was 5 lengths to the good of his rivals but this had diminished to a nose by the wire. Metaboss ran a fine ride under the complete opposite tactics, closing from was back to miss by the minimum distance.
The second favourite, Flamboyant was very disappointing running in midfield thoughout and never able to deliver any sort of rally that would have taken him into contention.
And so to the highlight of the card, the Pacific Classic Stakes, a grade 1 for 3 year olds and up over a mile and a quarter and worth $1m with the winner getting a free entry to the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
We had a star studded line up including multiple grade 1 winners and Eclipse award winners and at the top of the tree we had the mighty California Chrome, winner of the Dubai World Cup.
Before the race, there had been some concern that the inside rail draw would be a hindrance to the 11/10 favorite, who prefers a stalking trip. However, anyone who put their cash on this magnificent beast had no worries from the get-go. California Chrome broke well and dictated proceedings from the front and passed the post under a hand ride some five lengths in front of Beholder with Dortmund another 2 ¼ lengths back in third.
California Chrome has now earned his owners some $13.25m and it’s very difficult to see what can beat him in the Breeders’ Cup Classic so long as he stays in his present rude health. A long and enriching stud career is beckoning for this son of Lucky Pulpit.