Rail Berth for Awesome Gem in Pacific Classic
As Awesome Gem takes on 10 competitors in this year's edition of Del Mar's marquee race, he'll be trying to convert a couple of "twos" into a "one." On July 22nd of this year he came as close as a horse can to winning a race without actually doing so, finishing second in the Wickerr Handicap at Del Mar by a nose. On August 19th of last year Awesome Gem ran second in the Pacific Classic itself, threatening the winner, Student Council, with an explosive late run, but the wire came up just a little too soon. If "one" is to be the magic number this year, we already have an omen in the results of Wednesday evening's draw: Awesome Gem's will start this year's Pacific Classic from post position one.
The field for the 18th running of the Pacific Classic, also part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" program, is well-matched and highly competitive. The lukewarm favorite for the mile and a quarter affair is Bill Mott's eastern invader Go Between, 3-1 on the morning line. Awesome Gem is third choice at 5-1. Tyler Baze, who was aboard Awesome Gem for the Wickerr will take the mount in preference to another competitor, Mast Track.
Awesome Gem is set to go into the race in top-notch form. As Jeffrey Bloom, Vice President of West Coast Operations for West Point Thoroughbreds commented, "we have very high expectations. He's training as good as he ever has. He's ready." As to Baze, Bloom said "Tyler fits the horse great. We're thrilled he's going to ride."