08/18/2007 11:00PM

Student Council ($48.80) upsets Pacific Classic



DEL MAR, Calif. -- In 20 prior starts, Student Council had never won a graded stakes race, nor competed in a Grade 1 race. But his previous good efforts on synthetic surfaces made him attractive to owner Ro Parra and his adviser, Jerry Brown of Thoro-Graph, who purchased him privately with Sunday’s Grade 1, $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar in mind. The investment paid off immediately when Student Council scored a 23-1 upset only days after arriving on the West Coast.

Student Council ($48.80) surged to the front while going around the far turn, opened up a two-length lead a furlong out, then held off the late run of Awesome Gem to win by a half-length. Hello Sunday was another four lengths back in third.

Lava Man, the 6-5 favorite and defending Pacific Classic winner, faded to finish sixth in the 12-horse field after looming a threat heading into the far turn.

Student Council completed 1 1/4 miles on Polytrack in 2:07.29. He earns a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic Oct. 27 at Monmouth Park because the Pacific Classic is part of the “Win and You’re In” program.

The victory was welcome for both trainer Vladimir Cerin and jockey Richard Migliore, who have had their share of personal and professional struggles this year. Cerin lost his wife, Kellie, in an accident in Mexico earlier this year, and Migliore had had a relatively quiet first summer at Del Mar after relocating last year from New York.

“You don’t know how hard it has been for me to come out here and ride and leave my family behind,” said Migliore, who had ridden at Saratoga 26 straight years. “But they are all here with me today and this is so sweet.”

Student Council, 5, had been trained by Neil Howard and owned by Will Farish, who sold Student Council to Parra -- who races as Millennium Farm -- on Aug. 10. At the time, Student Council, a son of Kingmambo, was at Saratoga. He initially was transferred to the barn of Steve Asmussen because Asmussen trains for Parra in New York, then after a few days Student Council came to Cerin.

“Jerry Brown of Thoro-Graph found the horse,” Cerin said. “Neil Howard did a fantastic job. So did Steve Asmussen and his assistant Scott Blasi. He came to me in tremendous condition. I’m just happy to be a part of it.”

Student Council was in the perfect stalking position from fifth as the field headed down the backstretch. He followed Lava Man toward the leaders, then went on with it when Lava Man started to sputter.

“That left me alone on the lead a little earlier than I wanted to be,” Migliore said.

Lava Man, according to jockey Corey Nakatani, “never was traveling up underneath me.”

“Some like it, and some don’t,” he said of Polytrack.