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Pacific Classic 2022: Country Grammer & Flightline To Lock Horns

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Today’s Pacific Classic Stakes 2022 is set-up to be a ‘crackerjack’ of a race with the unbeaten John W. Sadler-trained FLIGHTLINE and this season’s Dubai World Cup hero COUNTRY GRAMMER, who is housed with the Bob Baffert team, to do battle at Del Mar, California.

With a lucrative purse of just over $1m, trainer John W. Sadler will be looking for his fourth success in the Del Mar Grade I since 2018, having taken the honours 12 months ago with Tripoli (watch again below). While the powerful Bob Baffert barn also have a Pacific Classic record to admire with six wins spread out from 1999 to 2020 – will it be Baffert or Sadler in 2022?

The Pacific Classic is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series and offers a “win and you’re in” place in the $6 million Classic on November 5.

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RELATED: Pacific Classic 2022 Runners: Flightline Tops Six For Del Mar Race


When Is The 2022 Pacific Classic Stakes

Run over a trip of 1m2f (10 furlongs), the Grade I Pacific Classic Stakes is hosted at Del Mar racetrack in California.

📅Date: Saturday September 3, 2022
🏇Racetrack: Del Mar racetrack, California, (Dirt)
💰 Purse: $1,000,000
📺 TV: FanDuel TV

You can bet on the Grade I Pacific Classic Stakes with BOVADA and receive a 100% MATCH-UP welcome bonus (up to $1,000) to use on the race.


RELATED: WATCH: A Look Back At Flightline’s Four Wins So Far


Unbeaten Flightline Puts Reputation On The Line

Flightline
Flightline

Flightline is a racehorse with a growing reputation after recording four facile successes from his opening starts – and despite having less than five career outings is already being billed as the next big ‘US wonder horse’.

The John W. Sadler-trained 4 year-old colt has also not only won his first races, but he’s demolished his rivals in each of them too – winning by an aggregate total of 44 lengths!!

This classy 4 year-old by Tapit was last seen scooting away with the Grade I Hill ‘N’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap on June 11 by an remarkable 6 lengths (watch below).

That success came over a trip of 1m and prior to that had been winning over 6f and 7f, so those looking for something to take on the Sadler colt with might look to this step up in trip being an unknown.

He’s up to 1m2f here – so is going into unchartered waters regarding the distance but his breeding (by Tapit) indicated the extra yardage is just about within range. Plus, it’s fair to say the petrol tank was hardly empty last time over a mile which further suggests his ability to last out the additional two furlongs – we’ll see!

With four of the last five Pacific Stakes winners aged 4 years-old, then Flightline also has this key age stat in his corner.

Add in that Flightline is also a proven track winner at Del Mar this is another feather in his cap, while jockey Flavien Prat, who rode the winner for Sadler in this race in 2019 (Higher Power) has ridden Flightline in all career starts and will remain in the saddle.

Overall, Flightline will face his stiffest test to date, especially taking on the classy Country Grammer, but with just four career runs there is every chance we’ve still not seen the best of this exciting Sadler colt and he still looks the one the others have to aim at.

Another win here and connections will be all set up for the Breeders’ Cup Classic in November, a race Flightline is already favorite for!


What Do His Connections Say?

John W. Sadler (trainer) “This is not an ordinary horse, this is a very special horse. There is a lot of pressure on you, but it is the pressure you want. You know you have something special and he is much the best. You just don’t want to screw it up.”

“This is a tough ask. To go from a mile to a mile and a quarter in your fifth start, it’s not an easy thing. But we feel he is capable of doing it because he’s that kind of a horse.”

Bill Farish, (co-owner) “I think everything he has done sets him apart. Flightline is the creme de la creme. He rises echelons above the stars we see every year that come and go. Rarely have we ever had a horse at any level that the trainer has said from work one this is something seriously special.”


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John W. Sadler Hunts Fourth Pacific Classic Stakes Win Since 2018

john sadler
John W. Sadler

The record of the John W. Sadler stable in the Pacific Classic Stakes is second to none. They’ve bagged three successes since 2018, including 12 months ago with Tripoli (watch below) and are back for more with Flightline in 2022.

Their first win in the Pacific was with Accelerate in 2018 and followed that up a year later in 2019 with Higher Power.

Can Country Grammer Write His Name In Pacific Stakes Roll Of Honour?

country grammer
Country Grammer

As mentioned the main danger to Flightline’s unbeaten record will come from the Bob Baffert entry Country Grammer. The 5 year-old took the Dubai World Cup (watch below) on March 10 at Meydan and from his 10 career runs has an impressive haul of $10,897,320 in total prize money. While since joining Baffert in April 21 the horse is yet to finish out of the first two (5 runs).

The Baffert barn gave him a break after that big Dubai win in March, but he came back at the end of July with a fair second in the Grade II San Diego Handicap at Del Mar, and can be expected to be much sharper this time. And also had last year’s Pacific Classic winner – Tripoli – way back in 6th (beaten 6 lengths).

With that run under his belt, he’ll be spot on for this and should be much more at home back up in trip with that last run coming over 1m 1/2f. His last two outings over the Pacific Classic distance of 1m2f have been winning ones, so we know he’s got the stamina credentials for this race, but can he live with the next big US ‘wonder horse’ in the making?

All is set up for a ‘must-see’ renewal – who’s your money on?


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Pacific Classic Stakes 2022 Betting

Pacific Classic Horse Latest Odds Win Probability Bookmaker
FLIGHTLINE 2-7 77.8% bovada
COUNTRY GRAMMER 5-1 16.7% bovada
ROYAL SHIP 12-1 7.7% bovada
EXPRESS TRAIN 20-1 4.8% bovada
STILLETO BOY 33-1 2.9% bovada
EXTRA HOPE 66-1 1.5% bovada

All odds correct as of 02:24 on Sat 3 Sept and subject to change

Bob Baffert Has Six Pacific Classic Stakes Wins To His Name

Pacific Classic 2022: Country Grammer & Flightline To Lock Horns
Trainer Bob Baffert Has 6 Pacific Stakes Wins To His Name

The powerful Bob Baffert stable have a remarkable six wins in the Pacific Classic Stakes – and needs only one more to be the winning-most trainer in this race. They currently share record with the legendary Robert J. Frankel, who also has six successes to his name in this event.

Baffert’s first success in the Pacific Classic Stakes came back in 1999 with General Challenge, and his most recent was in 2020 with Maximum Security. Therefore, between Sadler and Baffert have won ALL of the last five runnings of this Grade I and will be heavy odds-on to make it six!

Recent Pacific Classic Stakes Winners

  • 2021 – TRIPOLI
  • 2020 – MAXIMUM SECURITY
  • 2019 – HIGHER POWER
  • 2018 – ACCELERATE
  • 2017 – COLLECTED
  • 2016 – CALIFORNIA CHROME
  • 2015 – BEHOLDER
  • 2014 – SHARED BELIEF

Watch Tripoli Winning The 2021 Pacific Classic Stakes


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