08/20/2014 2:20PM

Frac Daddy better acclimated coming into Pacific Classic

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Michael Burns
Ken McPeek is optimistic Frac Daddy will run better when he makes his second start in California in the Pacific Classic on Sunday.

DEL MAR, Calif. – After racing at tracks in three states and one Canadian province in the first half of 2014, Frac Daddy has settled into a routine at Del Mar this summer.

The absence of a recent plane flight or van trip could make Frac Daddy a factor in Sunday’s $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar, a race in which he is likely to be overlooked.

A 4-year-old colt owned by Magic City Thoroughbred Partners, Frac Daddy ran below expectations when fourth as the 2-1 favorite in the $201,000 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar on July 26, his 18th career start and his first in California.

Trainer Ken McPeek said Wednesday that the journey to California earlier in July could have taken its toll. Frac Daddy had a blood test after the race that showed he was not in peak condition.

“I think it’s hard to ship horses from the East,” he said. “It can take them a little time to acclimate. I think the fact that he’s been out there for an extended period will be good for him.”

[Pacific Classic: Get PPs, watch Sunday's card live]

Frac Daddy was beaten 6 3/4 lengths in the San Diego over 1 1/16 miles. The Pacific Classic is run over 1 1/4 miles and will be Frac Daddy’s third start at the distance. He was 16th in the 2013 Kentucky Derby and second as a heavy favorite in the Grade 3 Dominion Day Stakes on Polytrack at Woodbine on July 1.

Earlier this year, Frac Daddy was second in the Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston Race Park, won the Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland in April, and was fourth in the Grade 1 Man o’ War Stakes on turf at Belmont Park in May. A repeat of his effort in the Ben Ali could give Frac Daddy a win Sunday, McPeek said.

“He needs to run back to his race in the Ben Ali,” he said. “If he does that, he’ll be tough. We’re optimistic that he can do that.”

The Pacific Classic has a projected field of 10, led by Shared Belief, the undefeated champion 2-year-old male of 2013; Majestic Harbor, who won the Gold Cup at Santa Anita in June; and Game On Dude, who won the 2013 Pacific Classic but was fourth in the Gold Cup.

Other expected runners are Clubhouse Ride, Imperative, Irish Surf, Mystery Train, Toast of New York, and You Know I Know. Post positions were scheduled to be drawn at a social event Wednesday evening.

The race will not include Footbridge, who was second in the San Diego Handicap. Trainer Eoin Harty said Wednesday that Footbridge will be pointed for the $300,000 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita on Sept. 27.