07/31/2010 10:47PM

Will the sun shine on the Pacific Classic?

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Anyone know what the Del Mar weather will be on Pacific Classic Day, Aug. 28?


If it is overcast and cool, front-runner Enriched might be long gone in the $1 million Pacific Classic.


If it is sunny and warmer, like it was on Saturday, deep closer Dakota Phone could be a good thing.


It’s a new angle – handicapping by weather.


The local prep races for the $1 million Pacific Classic were run Friday and Saturday at Del Mar. Same place, same Polytrack, two completely different surfaces.


Temple City won the Cougar II on Friday; Dakota Phone won the San Diego Handicap on Saturday.


Friday was cool and overcast. Temple City, a front-runner, won the mile and a half Cougar under the same conditions that produced a string of front-running winners the first eight days of the meet, mostly in sprints.


Saturday the sun came out and stayed out. Dakota Phone rallied from last to win the mile and a sixteenth San Diego. Horses don’t come from as far back as Dakota Phone without help.


Dakota Phone had help from an extreme bias. You see, sunny skies change Polytrack. Heat changes the surface from a track fair to most running styles, to a track that promotes one type runner – a rally-wide closer.


In race after sunny main track race Saturday, the winners circled wide from the back.


Dakota Phone rallied from farther back (11 lengths) than any route winner this meet. Enriched set the pace and only weakened in deep stretch, finishing third.


After losing his last 16 races, maybe Dakota Phone has suddenly woken up.


Or maybe the last-to-first win by Dakota Phone was merely the product of a bias. Maybe third-place finisher Enriched actually ran better, setting the pace against the grain.


Dakota Phone and Enriched will meet again, one month from now in the $1 million Pacific Classic. Temple City might be there, too.


So, does anyone know what the Del Mar weather will be on Aug. 28?