Beholder faces California Chrome on Saturday
Billed as “The Battle of the Sexes”, the 2016 Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar Racetrack Saturday will see three-time Eclipse Award winner Beholder defending her 2015 Pacific Classic title against the beloved California Chrome.
With a $1 million purse on the line, it’s little wonder these two horses are getting top-billing in a star-studded field featuring some of the top thoroughbreds in the world.
“To have two horses (of the opposite sex) that have such credentials, in the same race, on dirt in America — I can’t think of anything to equal it,” Executive Vice President for Racing and Industry Relations Tom Robbins said.
Beholder is trained by Richard Mandella and jockeyed by Gary Stevens, while California Chrome is trained by the team of Art and Alan Sherman and will be guided by Triple Crown winner Victor Espinoza. Beholder will be in the eighth post position, while California Chrome gets the rail, a tough spot for the temperamental stallion.
Beholder’s jockey Gary Stevens said Chrome drawing the on the rail was a blessing for Beholder.
“I got a big smile on my face,” Stevens told TVG’s Brittney Eurton. “Dortmund right to my outside, California Chrome in the one-hole; it makes my job pretty simple.”
Beholder has plenty of experience at at the Pacific Classic, bagging an 8 ¼ length victory in last year’s version over Catch a Flight and Red Vine. But California Chrome is fresh off victory in the 2016 Dubai World Cup, while Beholder suffered her first defeat since 2014 at the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes against Stellar Wind.
“This is a world-class race shaping up. It’s hard to imagine it getting any tougher,” Mandella said. “‘Chrome’ is at the top of his game.”
Also racing is Dortmund, who dueled with California Chrome in the San Diego Handicap, losing by only half a length. The full lineup for Saturday’s feature race is:
- California Chrome (Victor Espinoza)
- Hoppertunity (Flavien Prat)
- War Story (Ricardo Mejias)
- Hard Aces (Santiago Gonzalez)
- Win The Space (Joe Talamo)
- Imperative (Norberto Arroyo, Jr.)
- Beholder (Gary Stevens)
- Dortmund (Rafael Bejarano)
- Dalmore (Kent Desormeaux)
Horse racing fans and foodies alike can also enjoy the Del Mar Pizza and Beer Fest. Free with racetrack admission, the fest features more than 100 local and imported beers and mobile pizza ovens ready for action on a full day of racing. .
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