Updated on 09/15/2011 12:52PM

Skimming repeats in Pacific Classic


DEL MAR, Calif. - The Del Mar handicap division belongs to Skimming, who on Sunday successfully defended his title in the $1 million Pacific Classic.

Skimming won the Pacific Classic by 5 1/2 lengths, giving trainer Bobby Frankel a record sixth winner in the 11-year history of the race. Skimming became the second horse to win two runnings of the Pacific Classic, joining the Frankel-trained Tinners Way, who won in 1994 and 1995. Skimming and Tinners Way are owned by Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms.

Sunday's race was the most impressive win of Skimming's career. A 5-year-old, Skimming ran 1 1/4 miles in 1:59.96 and beat a solid field that included 2001 Dubai World Cup winner Captain Steve, and the multiple stakes winners Futural and Dixie Dot Com.

Ridden by Garrett Gomez, Skimming ($5.20) used his effective speed to lead throughout, daring the others to challenge.

Around the first turn, Skimming had a one-length advantage over Dig for It through fractions of 22.91 and 45.97 seconds. At the end of the backstretch, following six furlongs in 1:10.03, Alex Solis, aboard Dig for It, urged his mount, but could not sustain the bid. Skimming shook off that threat and was not challenged by the other five starters through the stretch.

"In the first quarter-mile, the outside horse was putting some pressure on me," Gomez said of Dig for It. "I was a little worried. On the turn, I felt more comfortable about my position.

"At the three-eighths pole, Alex moved up and Skimming was into the bridle. When he did that, my heart tripled in size and I'm sure his did, too. When he was asked the question by the rest of the field, he responded and ran them into the ground."

Dixie Dot Com finished second, a head in front of Dig for It, who finished a half-length in front of Captain Steve. Until Sundown and Futural, the 8-5 favorite, completed the order of finish.

Dixie Dot Com was expected to challenge Skimming but was fifth for the first six furlongs. He rallied wide to edge Dig for It.

"The way it unfolded, we were probably farther back than I expected," said Bill Morey, Dixie Dot Com's trainer. "Maybe it unfolded to our advantage, because second is good money. It looked like Skimming always had it in control."

The disappointment of the race was Futural, who was second to Skimming in the San Diego Handicap on July 29. Trained by Craig Dollase, Futural was out of contention on the final turn and finished 22 1/2 lengths behind Skimming.

"On the backside, when he didn't make that move, I was concerned," Dollase said. "He was real flat."

Frankel, who watched the race from Saratoga, says he cannot pinpoint why Skimming is perfect in four starts at Del Mar.

"I don't know if it's the footing, or the turns, or the short stretch," he said. "Whatever it is, I'm happy for him."

Rancho Bernardo: Kalookan Queen rules

Kona Gold already had secured Del Mar's male sprint title last month. On Sunday, stablemate Kalookan Queen wore the crown among this track's female sprinters, winning the $150,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap to give trainer Bruce Headley a sweep of Del Mar's sprint divisions.

Kalookan Queen had to outrun her division's pro tem leader, Go Go, in a stirring stretch duel. They hooked up at the top of the stretch, but Go Go never could get past Kalookan Queen, who held on bravely to win by a head. It was another three lengths back to third-place Warren's Whistle.

Kalookan Queen covered 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast main track in a swift 1:15.52. As the 8-5 second choice in the field of six, she paid $5.20.

Go Go was hampered by a slow start, and she also had to carry a career-high weight package of 125 pounds, six more than Kalookan Queen. After her tardy start, she advanced steadily and was lapped on Kalookan Queen entering the far turn.

"She took a step back, but she gathered herself pretty quickly," said Eddie Delahoussaye, who rode Go Go. "The 125 pounds might have made a difference. It does when horses are pretty equal."

Go Go lost for only the second time in her last nine starts. Kalookan Queen had been defeated twice by Go Go earlier this year at Hollywood Park, but came into this race off a victory here July 23 in the restricted Fantastic Girl Stakes. The 5-year-old daughter of Lost Code, who was ridden by Alex Solis, has now won six times in 16 starts for owner Louis Asistio.

* Frankel and Juddmonte Farms also captured Sunday's $76,425 Finlandia Cup Handicap for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on turf. Tates Creek, a daughter of Rahy, won for the third time in four starts. She is unbeaten on turf. Kent Desormeaux rode Tates Creek, who paid $6 as the 2-1 second choice.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman