Pacific Classic Odds, Field & Predictions

The annual centrepiece at Del Mar, Saturday’s million-dollar G1 Pacific Classic, this year features a fascinating clash of the generations, with top three-year-olds Geaux Rocket Ride and Arabian Knight taking on the best older horses in California in Defunded, Slow Down Andy and Stilleto Boy.

Breeders Cup Odds

Pacific Classic

G1, $1,000,000, 1m 2f dirt, 3yo+, 6.00pm PT

Three-year-olds do not often win the Pacific Classic, the biggest race of the year at Del Mar, but Saturday’s contest is all about that age group, with a trio of high-class sophomores well fancied against their elders in this win-and-in for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The focus falls on a race that took place almost 3,000 miles away, the 2023 G1 Haskell over a mile-eighth at Monmouth Park, in which Geaux Rocket Ride (5-2) broke into the big league with a dominant victory. It was a surprise at 12-1 but no fluke, as he drew off to score by a length and a quarter from Mage, with warm favourite Arabian Knight (3-1) another two lengths back in third after contributing to a brisk pace.

Geaux Rocket Ride likes to race forwardly and should – although it is not certain – stretch out the extra furlong. Arabian Knight is entitled to move up from the Haskell as it was his first race for six months and only his third career start, so there is a ton of upside – the extra yardage should be within his grasp.

The third sophomore is Skinner (10-1), G1-placed but only a maiden winner, finishing behind Geaux Rocket Ride in the 2023 G2 San Felipe Stakes and needing more than his runner-up spot in the ungraded Los Alamitos Derby over a mile-eighth.

The older brigade is led by Defunded (4-1), a barnmate of Arabian Knight whose trainer Bob Baffert has won this a joint-record six times. In the first half of the year Defunded was the best older horse in California, with his coast-to-coast strike in the 2023 G1 Hollywood Gold Cup at Santa Anita over ten furlongs a career high.

He beat Piroli (20-1) by a length, with Senor Buscador (10-1) a no-show fifth, but turned in a rare clunker next time in the 2023 G2 San Diego here over a mile-sixteenth, finishing a flat fourth with no rally whatsoever.

The race was won by the inconsistent Senor Buscador, who popped up at 13-1 when rallying from last to first to beat Slow Down Andy (8-1), who always runs well here, by a length and a quarter. Defunded was two and a quarter lengths further back and Tripoli (20-1), who won the 2021 Pacific Classic but has not run a good race since, a head away fifth.

An on-song Defunded, with his pull at the weights, would nevertheless be the best of these, although Slow Down Andy’s affinity for this oceanside circuit is a positive for his chance. Conversely, the 2023 G1 Santa Anita Handicap winner Stilleto Boy (8-1) has never run well here – sixth in this race 12 months ago – and is another inconsistent sort.

2023 Pacific Classic Betting Odds

HorseJockeyHorse Racing Odds by Jazzsports
Geaux Rocket RideMike E. Smith+250
KatonahAntonio Fresu+2000
Stilleto BoyKent J. Desormeaux+800
TripoliTiago Josue Pereira+2000
DefundedJuan J. Hernandez+400
Order and LawEdwin A. Maldonado+3000
Slow Down AndyMario Gutierrez+800
Senor BuscadorGeovanni Franco+1000
Arabian KnightFlavien Prat+300
PiroliUmberto Rispoli+2000
SkinnerHector Isaac Berrios+1000

The inexperienced ARABIAN KNIGHT can be marked up for his Haskell third after racing on the speed off a six-month layoff, and should improve plenty.

Make sure to check Horse Racing Tote for all the latest horse news; weekend racing results, graded stakes, and so much more. For current fixed horse betting odds check Racebook Tote

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