08/27/2012 2:33PM

Del Mar: Pacific Classic stars headed in different directions

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Dullahan and Game On Dude finish one-two in the Pacific Classic.

DEL MAR, Calif. – The top finishers in the Pacific Classic on Sunday at Del Mar all came out of the race in good order, their connections said Monday morning, but the paths each will take in coming months could not be more different.

Dullahan, who won in his first start against older rivals, is returning to Churchill Downs, where he is based with trainer Dale Romans. He won a fees-paid berth to the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 3 at Santa Anita through the “Win and You’re In” program, but he is not certain to run in that race, being as he is winless on dirt. He has won all three of his starts on synthetic surfaces, specifically Polytrack, all in Grade 1 races.

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Romans, who is at Saratoga for the summer, on Monday morning said he’d probably “look for something on the grass” for Dullahan’s next start. He left the Mile, Turf, and Classic open as possibilities for the Breeders’ Cup.

Jerry Crawford, who heads the Donegal Racing partnership that owns Dullahan, said the long-range goal for Dullahan would be the Dubai World Cup next March. That race is run on the synthetic surface Tapeta.

Crawford, who works in politics in Iowa, started campaigning for Dullahan for an Eclipse Award.

“Coming out here and beating Game On Dude and Richard’s Kid stamps him as the 3-year-old horse of the year,” Crawford said, saying Dullahan has as many Grade 1 wins as I’ll Have Another, who won three Grade 1 races this year before his retirement in June. Dullahan has two this year, and one last year.

Game On Dude was second and Richard’s Kid third in the Pacific Classic. Both will make their next starts at the autumn meeting at Santa Anita, and both are being pointed to the BC Classic.

“It was a good day, other than getting beat,” said Game On Dude’s trainer, Bob Baffert, who won three races on Sunday, including with Capital Account in the Pat O’Brien Stakes for sprinters. “Dullahan’s a good horse. I thought Dude was home free. He ran a great race, a winning race. He didn’t get beat by a bad horse.

“We’ll get up to Santa Anita and decide whether to run him fresh in the Breeders’ Cup,” Baffert said.

If Game On Dude has a prep, it would be in the Grade 1, $250,000 Awesome Again Stakes, formerly the Goodwood, on Sept. 29 at Santa Anita.

Chantal Sutherland, who rode Game On Dude, dropped her left rein nearing the sixteenth pole, but neither she nor Baffert said it impacted the order of finish.

“When I went for my left-handed stick, my rein went with it,” Sutherland said. “It was a little sloppy to lose my left line. My right line was still tight.”

Richard’s Kid, who finished a troubled third while bidding to become the first three-time winner of the Pacific Classic, “looks really, really good,” Dennis O’Neill, the brother of trainer Doug O’Neill, said Monday morning. Doug O’Neill currently is on suspension, and his horses are being overseen by assistant Leandro Mora.

“We’re probably going to sit on him until the Breeders’ Cup,” Dennis O’Neill said.

The Classic?

“Absolutely,” he responded.

Richard’s Kid was even with Dullahan nearing the far turn, but Dullahan went wide under Joel Rosario and was in the clear, while Richard’s Kid went inside under Victor Espinoza and had to wait when the tiring Riveting Reason backed up into his path.

Rail Trip, who finished fourth, already earned a fees-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile through his victory last month in the San Diego Handicap.

Suggestive Boy, who finished fifth in his first star t on anything other than turf, “came back good,” according to Dan Landers, the assistant to trainer Ron McAnally.

Landers said he was not sure whether Suggestive Boy would return to turf for his next start, or try dirt at Santa Anita.

“We’ve got quite a few options,” he said.

– additional reporting by Mike Welsch