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Handicapping - Pedigree - History - Dosage

2023 Pacific Classic Analysis

2014 Pacific Classic Winner - Shared Belief


This analysis may not be copied or paraphrased, in part or in full, without permission. LDM 8/31/2023 11.20am




Mandella - Smith 2.5 to 1

DP = 2-1-4-1-0 (8) DI = 1.67 CD = 0.50 ANZ = 2.33

Mare Profile = 4-1-6-6-7 Speed = 5 Stamina = 13 Index = 0.58 Triads = 11-13-19

This is a very talented horse with ability to roll with impressive speed on two competing track biases. This is reminiscent of his kin Shared Belief, who demolished that Pacific Classic field back in 2014. He smoked Baffert's lead Game on Dude and came in less than a second of beating Dullahan's track record. The two are built almost identical and showed class from the very beginning of their careers.

The main reason why I always hold Shared Belief as one of the biggest talents in recent history is because of his unwavering ability to shine on the West Coast tracks with the way he was built. Geaux Rocket Ride is exhibiting the exact same traits.

He is built incredibly well for the speed that is necessary for the bias and for the stamina that is required to endure the distance. His energy distribution is unmatched on the field with the proven ability to adjust it against any pace. He will react to Arabian Knight or Defunded or Stilleto Boy or Slow Down Andy accordingly. He will sit in the perfect position either reserving his late speed with a moderate pace or unleashing all of that inbred stamina if he faces a robust pace. He has both sides covered. We have proof of that now.

The only thing that may be a hinderance for Geaux Rocket Ride is Baffert, who is not shy with his tactics. This was seen on three separate occasions when crossing Shared Belief's path in the past. Since Geaux is sitting in Gate 1, Defunded may be used to block him onto that rail while his friend Arabian Knight attempts to wire (or visa versa). I wouldn't put it past Baffert to make that move. It is actually a very smart approach to the problem he faces with this horse. For that reason and that reason alone, there could be a justifiable cause to go against a single here. No matter what, always trust there will be a Baffert strategy.


Baffert - Prat 3 to 1

DP = 1-2-3-0-0 (6) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.67 ANZ = 4.33

Mare Profile = 8-1-7-4-7 Speed = 9 Stamina = 11 Index = 0.96 Triads = 16-12-18

There is something extremely different about this Baffert boy that tells a very interesting story. Here's a horse who has trained exclusively on the West Coast with 35 works in total, spread between Del Mar, Santa Anita and Los Alamitos. Ironically, the Pacific Classic will be his first race in California. This is completely on the outskirts of Baffert's norm. Based on his sloppy performance in the Southwest Stakes, his training and his speed, this horse appears poised to explode on the DelMar track. It is so unlike Baffert to take this route, it has to be by design.

Now the question becomes the distance. DelMar bias will add additional lengths, which is good because he is borderline at face value. What shows the bigger picture though is his maiden race at Keeneland during Breeders weekend. That track was catering to stamina that day and he won that race gate to wire by over 7 lengths with figures of 94/99/104 and a final in 104. Very impressive.

Keeneland, Oaklawn and Monmouth - never Santa Anita or DelMar, until now. Those 3 races are against his speed and against his training. Monmouth most of all. Could Baffert have taken a clue from Todd Pletcher or Chad Brown, race-training to pull out his stamina in anticipation of the Pacific Classic and the Breeders Cup? It appears so.

Arabian Knight is balanced through his chefs and even though he only hit 3rd in the Haskell, he was still competitive against the grain. Geaux Rocket Ride much better built for Monmouth Park. AK went too fast too early but still maintained himself to come within 3-3/4 lengths behind the winner on a very "odd" track surface for him, one that he was completely unaccustomed to. He is going to erupt at DelMar and if he loses a tad of stream in the stretch, Defunded should pick up the pieces.


Baffert - Hernandez 4 to 1

DP = 2-2-6-0-0 (10) DI = 2.33 CD = 0.60 ANZ = 3.67

Mare Profile = 10-4-3-5-10 Speed = 14 Stamina = 15 Index = 0.96 Triads = 17-12-18

These are very good 10f numbers for the Pacific Classic. It appears that Baffert was testing strategy for this particular race with Defunded's game in the SanDiego Handicap. Two races back, in the 10f Gold Cup, Defunded took the lead and went gate to wire. Then he brings him back to run 9f off the lead, tracking in 4th position, which is off of his winning ways. He has Arabian Knight who runs up front as well and he will use these horses strategically, but not in a speed duel against each other, that's for sure.

Defunded always runs faster earlier at DelMar than at Santa Anita. He has already won at the distance and his chefs line confirms. He posted his last work in 47.2, which is on target on that DelMar surface. Both Arabian Knight and Defunded have advantages and there is no doubt that they will be coordinated to enhance each other. Defunded is a proven West Coast winner at the distance and Arabian Knight appears ready to explode while finally getting to perform in his own backyard.




Moger - Desormeaux 8 to 1

DP = 3-5-4-0-0 (12) DI = 5.00 CD = 0.92 ANZ = 9.00

Mare Profile = 7-4-3-3-12 Speed = 11 Stamina = 15 Index = 0.70 Triads = 14-10-18

Stilleto Boy is sitting with the highest amount of inbred speed on the field. Mares alone impart 12.1f, but when combined with his chefs, he plummets back down to 10.3f. When adding in all of the excess from his prominent non-chefs, this horse barely drops down off of that, approx 10.1f. He has just enough to be competitive for the board, especially back to the track bias that his breeding likes.

He is competitive for the tote board at Del Mar and at least 4 horses are necessary for a super bet. I see him pitted against the stamina potential of Skinner. One with excess speed early and one with excess stamina late. I would glue them both of them together. Depending on the ultimate pace, one should capitalize.


Shirreffs - Berrios 10 to 1

DP = 6-6-10-0-0 (22) DI = 3.40 CD = 0.82 ANZ = 4.20

Mare Profile = 6-5-0-6-11 Speed = 11 Stamina = 17 Index = 0.61 Triads = 11-11-17

In the mid range odds, I like the set-up of this guy the most and it appears that his configurations will serve him very well at the 10f back on this bias. Because of the amount of front tier speed entered into this race, his advantage coincides with Geaux Rocket Ride in the way that they are built. I like his distance capability and things may align for him in the late stages.

We have Stilleto Boy positioned way ahead of him in the early stages, who will be tied up with the big boys and then we have Skinner who will be saving energy and unleashed late. One or the other should capitalize off of the eventual pace.


O'Neill - Gutierrez 8 to 1

DP = 1-2-3-0-0 (6) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.67 ANZ = 5.67

Mare Profile = 5-4-4-7-6 Speed = 9 Stamina = 13 Index = 0.78 Triads = 13-15-17

First time travelling 10f with 12 races under his belt. He does have it within himself to go the distance with his low .67 CD and low mare index, but he isn't loaded on the tail end. He actually posted a win on turf awhile back which does confirm allegiance to whatever stamina he did inherit. He is a fast horse, and he always stays closely tied to the lead tier. In other words, he mimics the early pace, be it slow or fast. He always stays very tight up front. Unlikely moderate pace would surely help him. Since there is a high amount of early speed entered in that gate, Andy will track that speed closely. This has always resulted in loss of late energy, going shorter.

The longest dirt track that Andy ever won on was over a year ago at 9f. He managed to hit the Winner's Circle with a late figure of 69. Tack on an additional furlong with the same fast early pace. He may be capable of 10f but there is no chance he gets away with 3 slow calls with this group.


Fincher - Franco 10 to 1

DP = 9-8-13-0-0 (30) DI = 3.62 CD = 0.87 ANZ = 3.62

Mare Profile = 7-6-2-6-10 Speed = 13 Stamina = 16 Index = 0.79 Triads = 15-14-18

This guy will be sitting completely aligned with Skinner in all aspects of the race but one. Skinner is equipped with more stamina, a full furlong more. Pace dependent without top-notch stamina to compete if the race does indeed go that way gives Skinner the upper hand. In addition, Piroli annihilated him at 10f, that says alot.


The Longshots:


Sadler - Pereira 20 to 1

DP = 7-9-10-2-0 (28) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.75 ANZ = 3.00

Mare Profile = 7-5-3-6-7 Speed = 12 Stamina = 13 Index = 0.96 Triads = 15-14-16 (2nd gen Tapit)

This guy won the Pacific Classic in 2021 back when he was in his prime. Built for the race obviously, but his form is not what it once was. What I find most intriguing about this is not how it pertains to Tripoli, but how it pertains to Piroli. The two are built very similarly, the same type of balance with that Tapit back-up. Since Tripoli found success with that perfect balance, it gives a bit more reinforcement with Piroli's analysis below.

The perfect split of speed and stamina is imperative for this race. Speed wins races but more importantly, that side aligns with the bias of Del Mar. The stamina part, of course, needs to be present to endure the 10f. The combination of speed on top with Tapit allowed Tripoli to take the trophy back in the day.

Tripoli has had 5 races this year, all between 8f and 9f, with only one win and subpar beyers. The last time he saw a 10f track was at DelMar in the 2021 Breeders Cup Classic. He came in 7th place, 17 lengths behind the winner.


McCarthy - Rispoli 20 to 1

DP = 5-9-9-1-0 (24) DI = 3.36 CD = 0.75 ANZ = 3.73

Mare Profile = 10-3-0-9-5 Speed = 13 Stamina = 14 Index = 1.21 Triads = 13-12-14 (2nd gen Tapit)

This guy is very interesting. Historically, he is built perfect for the Pacific Classic. He has had 10 races in his career, 9 of which were way too short for his build. Every single race, he has upgraded his position regardless of early pace and against his optimum distance. Every single time. Piroli is not a miler.

He showed talent in the 10f Hollywood Gold Cup at Santa Anita with a steady run to take 2nd. His numbers are deceiving for 2 reasons. Of course, there is Tapit who highly upgrades his stamina side. The other huge addition is the residuals gained from being the son of Battle of Midway, who was loaded across the board. DP = 10-14-17-2-1 (44)

With the high probability of a hefty early pace based on the style of many of the entries here, Piroli's stamina and high cruising ability should serve him well. He also posted his last workout in 47.3 which is depicting speed that aligns with the bias. What I find so intriguing is the fact that this horse has m/l odds of 20-1, which is obviously due to his resume filled with maiden and OC races. But he was never off that board on dirt, always performed regardless of pace and he always took home a paycheck way under his optimum.

He entered the 10f Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup with those same maiden and OC credentials under his belt at odds of 28-1 and he came within 1 length of winning that race against the likes of Defunded. He also beat the highly regarded Country Grammer in that race as well.

He was within 1/2 length of the classy Defunded the entire 10f race, tracking call times at:

23.89 47.59 1:11.83 1:36.27 with a final in 2:02.85

Keep in mind, this was his first exhibition in a graded stakes race - GRADE ONE to be exact. McCarthy finally gave him his shot at a real distance, more conducive to his optimum, and the horse responded.

His entire first year on the track in 2022 was filled with maidens where he connected but he couldn't win. The list comprises of short turf and AWS races, and short dirt races that don't jive with his build. Still kept at the 8f distance all through 2023, again, competitive but couldn't break free. Finally, he is released on a 10f track and he upgrades. He then regresses back down at 8f in his last. Again, Piroli is not a miler.

It was never the class, it was the incorrect minimal distances for his breeding over his career. He wants fast dirt and he wants a real distance.

The bias, the breeding and the distance are all correct and the actual performance when finally given the 10f coincides. It is his class that is the only weakness, but somehow, that did not affect him in the slightest in the Gold Cup at 28 to 1 odds.

I'll jump aboard those m/l odds of 20 to 1 with hopes that he keeps that steady fire to invade that super. It costs money to shoot for profit, but everything associated with this longshot is saying that the extra payment is worth it at 10f. His stamina quality may end up being a true asset among all of the speed. I like Rispoli taking the mount as well.


O'Neill - Fresu 20 to 1

DP = 1-1-3-1-0 (6) DI = 1.40 CD = 0.33 ANZ = 3.80

Mare Profile = 8-3-7-6-6 Speed = 11 Stamina = 12 Index = 1.04 Triads = 18-16-19

Choosing one longshot is never a bad idea to take a shot with, especially in an 11 horse field. Between Katonah and Piroli, I don't see any comparison. Katonah's claim to fame rests on a 150k Black Type race at Pleasanton traveling 1mi 70 yards while taking advantage of lead speedsters burning themselves out up front. On the flip side, Piroli came within 1 length of real class tailing Defunded in a 400k Grade One 10f race at Santa Anita. Enough said.


Hess - Maldonado 30 to 1

DP = 3-5-8-2-0 (18) DI = 2.00 CD = 0.50 ANZ = 2.33

Mare Profile = 11-2-4-4-8 Speed = 13 Stamina = 12 Index = 1.17 Triads = 17-10-16

No. No. No. It is so obvious that his chefs have completely overtaken his mares. Where he should be 50/50 like the rest, he is depicting more like 80/20. There is no speed allegiance to those mare's numbers and that will never work against this group.


Boxed Supers with the following:

For the Win: Geaux Rocket Ride and Arabian Knight have two competing advantages. Geaux is built correctly, has perfect style and is on an upward trajectory. Arabian Knight will finally compete on his bias with the added bonus of alliance with another who may aid in his cause.

Underneath Board: Skinner, Stilleto Boy and Defunded have competing advantages. Two with speed. One with stamina. And all on a conducive track. Skinner has the better breeding for the 10f in this trio, The other two the class.

Longshot: Piroli appears to be the best shot for a board hit if things fall apart.

Boxing your super for this particular race covers the "3 year old vs. older dilemma." You're covered both ways.

There are 2 ways that Baffert could approach this. He could use Arabian Knight to push an extreme pace for the benefit of Defunded. The other way is he could use Defunded to block or mess with Geaux for the benefit of Arabian Knight. One or the other is going to happen. Because of this, a boxed superfecta covers this as well.


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