DEL MAR, Calif. -- The $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Sunday will be a day out for the boys.
Blind Luck, the champion 3-year-old filly of 2010, will skip the Pacific Classic in favor of the Grade 1 Lady's Secret Stakes at the Santa Anita autumn meeting on Oct. 1, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said. Blind Luck had been considered for the Pacific Classic in recent weeks.
Her absence leaves an expected field of 11 males in the Pacific Classic, which is run over 1 1/4 miles and is the championship race of the summer for the older male division in California. The race was scheduled to be drawn Wednesday evening.
Game On Dude, winner of the Santa Anita Handicap in March, and Twirling Candy, winner of the Californian Stakes at Hollywood Park in June, will lead the betting, most likely in that order. They were second and third behind First Dude in the Hollywood Gold Cup last month. First Dude was subsequently retired because of injury.
Hollendorfer said his decision to skip the race with Blind Luck was based on his hope to run the filly as a 5-year-old in 2012 and to focus the rest of her 2011 campaign on preparation for the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic at Churchill Downs in November.
"I think the Pacific Classic is a tough race, and I don't want to run her against colts," he said.
"I'm looking at the long-term for her. I want to run her one time before the Breeders' Cup and I want to run her next year. I don't want to compromise my filly to win one race.
"Hopefully, we've made the right decision. I don't think it's a bad idea right now to take a break and be ready for the Breeders' Cup."
The other expected starters in the Pacific Classic are Acclamation, Bourbon Bay, Don Cavallo, Great Warrior, Jeranimo, Quindici Man, Setsuko, Stately Victor, and Tres Borrachos.
Acclamation has won three consecutive graded stakes on turf this year and makes his first start on a synthetic track since a third to Jeranimo in the Grade 2 Strub Stakes at Santa Anita in February 2010.
Jeranimo was second to Acclamation in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes over 1 1/8 miles here July 23, losing by 3 1/4 lengths. He will be a longshot in the Pacific Classic.
Trainer Mike Pender said Wednesday that the Pacific Classic distance and the Polytrack surface at Del Mar will suit Jeranimo, a winner of 5 of 20 starts and $570,400 for owner B.J. Wright. Conversely, Pender admitted that the race "lost a little fanfare" with the defection of Blind Luck.
Jeranimo is winless in five starts this year, with three stakes placings, and won the Grade 2 San Gabriel Handicap on turf at Santa Anita last December. Despite the losing streak, Pender remains confident in the 5-year-old Jeranimo.
"This is his race to stand up and be noticed," Pender said. "I'm expecting to win."