08/30/2009 11:00PM

Rail Trip works quick, easy

Benoit & Associates
Rail Trip, shown winning the Hollywood Gold Cup on July 11, tuned up for Sunday's Pacific Classic by working a mile in 1:36.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Was that fog rolling in to Del Mar Sunday night and lasting into Monday morning, or steam rising from trainer Ron Ellis?

Ellis was upset after Rail Trip, the Hollywood Gold Cup winner, worked a mile in 1:36 here on Sunday morning in preparation for the Grade 1, $1 million Pacific Classic this Sunday. By late Monday morning, though, the fog was starting to lighten, and so was Ellis's mood.

"He's great," Ellis said. "He's doing very, very well. He did it easy. Hopefully we didn't leave his race on the racetrack. He doesn't act like it."

The Pacific Classic, at 1 1/4 miles, is the richest and most important race of the Del Mar season. This year, it was moved back to Labor Day weekend in order to be the linchpin in a stakes-filled festival. From Friday through Monday, Del Mar will run six graded stakes races, four of which are Grade 1's.

The later date of the Pacific Classic also provides more consistent spacing between it, the Goodwood Stakes at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting on Oct. 10, and the Breeders' Cup Classic, also at Santa Anita, on Nov. 7.

Rail Trip has not raced since his victory in the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 11.

"He started working down here a little later than I originally wanted," Ellis said. "He took a little time adapting to the surface, but once he did, everything's gone along smoothly and we've marched right along.

"For us, having the Pacific Classic two weeks later than usual has been really good. It gave him a chance to adapt to the track without feeling the pressure to have to get a work into him right away."

Rail Trip has had five works over the past four weeks, including one-mile drills on consecutive Sundays. Jose Valdivia Jr., his regular jockey, has been working him in the mornings, too.

The Pacific Classic will feature a match between Rail Trip and Einstein, the winner of the Santa Anita Handicap. Both Einstein and another Eastern invader, Parading - who worked four furlongs in 48.33 seconds at Saratoga on Sunday - were scheduled to arrive in Del Mar later Monday afternoon. Julien Leparoux will be here to ride Einstein. Rafael Bejarano takes over on Parading.

Other than the two shippers, the prospective Pacific Classic field bears strong resemblance to the Gold Cup field that Rail Trip conquered.

Tres Borrachos, the Gold Cup runner-up, worked five furlongs in 59.20 seconds on Monday morning at Del Mar for trainer Beau Greely. It was the first work this summer at Del Mar for Tres Borrachos, who had been at Santa Anita the first part of the summer.

Mast Track, who finished fourth in the Gold Cup and then came back to run second in the San Diego Handicap here, breezed five furlongs on 59.80 seconds.

Humberto Ascanio, the assistant who is overseeing trainer Bobby Frankel's barn, said Mast Track "has been training really good."

"I think he likes this track," Ascanio said. Mast Track finished third in last year's Pacific Classic.

Also working Monday at Del Mar was Awesome Gem, who went a half-mile in 47.80 seconds for trainer Craig Dollase. Awesome Gem was second in the Longacres Mile in his last start.

Others expected for the Pacific Classic include Colonel John, Global Hunter, Informed, and Song of Navarone, who was 11th in the Gold Cup.

Informed, the San Diego winner, worked six furlongs in 1:12.80 on Sunday morning for trainer Doug O'Neill. He was sixth in the Gold Cup.

Global Hunter, who won the Eddie Read on turf before finishing third in the Bing Crosby last time out, worked six furlongs on turf on Sunday morning in 1:12.20 for trainer A.C. Avila. He was eighth in the Gold Cup.

Colonel John was scheduled to have his final work on Tuesday morning, trainer Eoin Harty said. He returned from a seven-month layoff to win the Wickerr on the turf last time out.

Trainer Bob Baffert said he would decide later in the week whether to run Misremembered, the Swaps Stakes winner, and/or Richard's Kid.