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Del Mar: Pacific Classic pattern for Suggestive Boy looks similar to previous McAnally winner
DEL MAR, Calif. – Candy Ride had two starts in the summer of 2003 before he won the Grade 1 Pacific Classic. The 2003 running remains the only time that Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally has won Del Mar’s most lucrative race.
Candy Ride won two Group 1 races in Argentina before joining McAnally’s stable. He arrived in California with a reputation that he could be an important horse in the handicap division.
Nearly a decade later, a remarkably similar scenario is developing.
Suggestive Boy, a four-time Group 1 winner in Argentina in 2011, makes his third American start in Sunday’s $1 million Pacific Classic.
Suggestive Boy will race on a Polytrack synthetic surface in the Pacific Classic. Nine years ago, Candy Ride ran on dirt.
Suggestive Boy is considered a threat to race favorite Game On Dude, the winner of the Hollywood Gold Cup last month, and top contender Richard’s Kid, who won the Pacific Classic in 2009 and 2010.
A field of 10 is likely, including Akkadian, Amani, Dullahan, Jaycito, Rail Trip, Riveting Reason, and Where’s Sterling. Amani, trained by Neil Drysdale, is the lone filly in the expected field. A 4-year-old bred in Chile, she won four Group 1 races in Chile last year and was third in the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Stakes here on Aug. 4.
The draw for the Pacific Classic was scheduled for Wednesday evening at a local restaurant.
The switch to a Polytrack surface with Suggestive Boy is not a major concern for McAnally. Since Suggestive Boy won the restricted Wickerr Stakes over a mile on turf here on July 25, he has worked three times on the synthetic track, including a mile in 1:37.60 last Friday.
“He breezed good on the track and that’s all we can go on,” McAnally said. “So far, he’s done everything right. It’s just a question of the Polytrack.”
The Pacific Classic will be Suggestive Boy’s first start away from turf. He has won over distances ranging from seven furlongs to 1 1/4 miles. McAnally said that Argentine-bred horses are typically versatile regarding surfaces.
“Most Argentinians are like that,” he said. “They’ll run on mud, dirt, Poly, or grass.”
A 4-year-old colt owned by Jose Cerillo, Suggestive Boy was second to Jeranimo in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Betfair Hollywood Park on June 30 in his U.S. debut. Little Mike, who won the Grade 1 Arlington Million last weekend, was third in that field.
Earlier this summer, Suggestive Boy was made eligible to the Breeders’ Cup program, making a stakes at Santa Anita a goal if he continues to run well.
As Suggestive Boy has raced and trained this summer, McAnally has learned more about the colt. One thing is certain, he said. Suggestive Boy thrives on activity.
“He does everything well,” McAnally said. The horse is always bucking and playing. In other words, he can’t get enough.”
That Shoe Mile looking like a key race. I wouldn't take short odds on Suggestive Boy, but if you can get 5-1 or better then his upside is worth the risk. He could end up a world class turf horse, so as long as he takes to Poly, which should be likely, I would expect him to be in the mix. I hated him in the Shoe first time out in this country, and he surprised me running as well as he did. Suggestive Boy has the tactical speed to work out a great trip sitting a few lengths off Game on Dude and being one of the first to make a run at the lead.
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