08/15/2013 4:35PM

Del Mar: Liaison a Pacific Classic starter

Shigeki Kikkawa
Mervyn LeRoy winner Liaison punched his ticket to the Pacific Classic with his work on Thursday.

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DEL MAR, Calif. - Liaison, a four-time stakes winner who was fifth in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap here July 27, will start in the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 25, trainer Bob Baffert said Thursday.

Baffert finalized plans after Liaison worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 on Thursday in company with stablemate Sky Kingdom. Baffert said Liaison will be ridden by Martin Garcia in the Pacific Classic. The stable already has the favorite for the race in Game On Dude, who has won his last five starts.

In Thursday’s workout, Liaison and Sky Kingdom started on the backstretch and worked through the clubhouse turn. Baffert timed them galloping out a mile in 1:38.20.

Owned by Arnold Zetcher, Liaison won the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park on May 4 and was second in the Grade 2 Californian Stakes on June 2. In the San Diego, Liaison was never closer than fourth and finished 7 1/2 lengths behind race winner Kettle Corn.

By Thursday, there were approximately 12 candidates for the Pacific Classic, including Byrama, Delegation, Dullahan, Endorsement, Farraaj, Hawk’s Eyes, Jeranimo, Kettle Corn, Richard’s Kid, and You Know I Know.

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Baffert sends two first-timers

By Thursday, Baffert did not have a runner for the $300,000 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 4, a race he has won a record 11 times.

If he is to try for a 12th, it may be with one of his first-time starters running in maiden races over 5 1/2 furlongs Saturday: Can the Man, who runs in the fourth, and New Year’s Day, who runs in the sixth.

Can the Man was the $320,000 sale topper at the Barretts May sale of 2-year-olds in training. Baffert signed the ticket, as agent, but Kaleem Shah is listed as owner of the colt, who is by Into Mischief.

Typical of a Baffert-trained runner, Can the Man has worked quickly in recent weeks. He breaks from post 2 in a field of eight.

“He fits,” Baffert said. “I wish he had an outside draw. He’s working well.”

[DEL MAR 2013: Complete meet coverage, schedule, race replays]

Trainer John Sadler starts Candy Boy, a Candy Ride colt out of She’s an Eleven, the winner of the 2006 Melair Stakes at Hollywood Park. Lee and Susan Searing bred and own Candy Boy.

“He’ll want to run long,” Sadler said. “He’s not really a first-time-out kind of horse.”

New Year’s Day is owned by Gary and Mary West and was purchased for $425,000 at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale.

“New Year’s Day will probably need a race,” Baffert said.

New Year’s Day is part of a field of nine that includes the first-time starter My Secret Affair, who has recorded quick works this month for trainer Mark Glatt, and Hi Fashioned, a game second in his debut here July 20.

The Searings bred and own Demonica, a filly by first Defence who starts against California-bred 2-year-old fillies in a maiden race over 5 1/2 furlongs in Saturday’s ninth race.

“She’s been a good one from the get-go,” Sadler said. “This looks like a good spot.”