05/15/2014 11:20AM

Pacific Classic tops $8 million Del Mar stakes schedule

Shigeki Kikkawa
Game On Dude won the 2013 Pacific Classic, which again will be worth $1 million.

DEL MAR, Calif. – The $1 million TVG Pacific Classic Stakes on Aug. 24 is the summer highlight at Del Mar, where more than $8 million in stakes purses will be offered during its first meet of 2014.

The 36-day summer meet runs from Thursday, July 17, through Sept. 3. In addition, Del Mar will host a 15-day fall meet Nov. 7-30. The fall meet will be the last with a synthetic racing surface. Del Mar will replace the surface with and a dirt track for 2015.

The 2014 summer stakes schedule, released Thursday, is a virtual reprint from a successful 2013 meet, when Del Mar handled more than $13 million daily, averaged 17,656 ontrack fans, and benefitted from increased field size to 8.79 starters per race.

The stakes program includes seven Grade 1 races – the Pacific Classic and six others, each with a $300,000 purse. Grade 1 events include the Eddie Read Stakes on turf July 20, Bing Crosby Stakes for sprinters July 27, Del Mar Debutante for 2-year-old fillies Aug. 30, and Del Mar Futurity on closing day, Sept. 3.

Five summer stakes are Breeders’ Cup Challenge races: the Bing Crosby (BC Turf Sprint), Clement L. Hirsch (Distaff), Del Mar Handicap (Turf), Pat O’Brien (Dirt Mile), and Pacific Classic (Classic). Del Mar boosted the purses of five stakes by $50,000 each. The San Clemente Handicap, Best Pal Stakes, Sorrento Stakes, and Yellow Ribbon Handicap had their purses increased to $200,000. The Del Mar Mile was increased to $250,000. In all, 33 stakes have purses of $100,000 or more; 10 overnight stakes have purses of $90,000 each.

The Pacific Classic, won last year by Game On Dude, is part of a stakes tripleheader on Aug. 24 that includes the seven-furlong, Grade 2 Pat O’Brien and Grade 2 Del Mar Mile on turf.

The overnight program also is flush. Maiden special weight purses will be $75,000; first-level allowance purses will be $85,000; and the lowest unrestricted class level – $8,000 claiming – will have purses of $20,000.