Updated on 08/15/2016 10:44AM

Bejarano will ride Dortmund in Pacific Classic

Emily Shields
Dortmund, right, is beaten by California Chrome in the San Diego Handicap.

DEL MAR, Calif. – California Chrome and Dortmund, two of the top contenders for the Grade 1, $1 million Pacific Classic on Saturday, turned in their final works for the race Sunday morning and Dortmund picked up a new rider.

Dortmund worked seven furlongs in 1:24.60 here at Del Mar under Rafael Bejarano, and about an hour after the work trainer Bob Baffert said that Bejarano would have the mount in the Pacific Classic. Gary Stevens rode Dortmund to a second-place finish behind California Chrome in last month’s San Diego Handicap, but Stevens is committed to the mare Beholder – the defending winner of the Pacific Classic – for this year’s race.

California Chrome worked at Los Alamitos, where he went five furlongs in 1:00.40.

Dortmund put in a serious drill Sunday. He went the first six furlongs of the work in company with the outstanding 3-year-old sprinter Drefong, who is pointing to the Grade 1 King’s Bishop at Saratoga on Aug. 27.

Dortmund and Drefong began the work at the five-furlong pole, with Dortmund starting about one length back. Drefong increased that margin to nearly three lengths heading to the far turn, but by the time they reached the wire -- five furlongs into the work -- they were virtually even.

They went out together to the seven-furlong pole, where Drefong ended his work in 1:12 flat for six furlongs. Dortmund continued out another furlong, to the six-furlong pole, for a seven-furlong official clocking of 1:24.60. He galloped out a mile in 1:38.40.

“Good. Perfect,” trainer Bob Baffert said as he glanced at his watch when the drill ended. “He did it the right way. They were just cruising. They went just right.”

At Los Alamitos, California Chrome worked before dawn on Sunday. Ridden by exercise rider Dihigi Gladney, California Chrome worked alone and without substantial urging.

According to Los Alamitos clockers, California Chrome worked the opening quarter-mile in 24.80 seconds, went three furlongs in 36.80, and a half-mile in 48.40 seconds.

Trainer Art Sherman timed California Chrome in 1:00.40.

Sunday’s workout was California Chrome’s second since a win in the Grade 2 San Diego on July 23. California Chrome will be favored in the Pacific Classic, which is run at 1 1/4 miles. California Chrome was scheduled to be shipped to Del Mar on Monday to continue preparation for Saturday’s race. His regular rider, Victor Espinoza, has the mount in the race.

Entries are due for the Pacific Classic on Tuesday, with posts to be drawn Tuesday afternoon during a party at The Brigantine, a popular local restaurant. Expected to enter are Beholder, California Chrome, Dalmore, Dortmund, Hard Aces, Imperative, War Story, and Win the Space. Hoppertunity is possible.
--additional reporting by Steve Andersen

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