Tuesday, August 30, 2011


The Pacific Classic on Sunday was a tremendous horse race featuring a stirring stretch duel between Acclamation, the winner, and Twirling Candy, the runner-up. Acclamation gutted out the stretch under constant pressure from Twirling Candy and won by a head. The ride was an outstanding performance by horse and rider, Pat Valenzuela, who allowed Acclamation to set a somewhat tedious pace that allowed him to have enough in reserve when confronted by the late challenger.

As a result of this, Acclamation earned a "Win And You're In" berth into the Breeders' Cup Classic to be held at Churchill Downs on November 5. However, I wouldn't think you are going to see Acclamation run in the Breeders' Cup Classic after all. First of all, he is not nominated to the Breeders' Cup to begin with, which means he has to be supplemented into the race, which brings the ridiculous notion of the "Win And You're In" meaning "Win And You're Eligible To Be In If You Pay Up". I am sorry, but "Win And You're In" should mean just that. If you win one of these races where an automatic spot is awarded to the winner, and you are not nominated to the Breeders' Cup, you should still get in, period. Whether or not the horse is nominated to the Cup shouldn't matter if it is "Win And You're In". There shouldn't be any caveats to this concept, it should be cut and dry, black and white, no questions asked. If you Win, you should get In!!

Secondly, the connections of Acclamation, usually a turf horse, seem to want to go in one of the grass races at Churchill Downs as opposed to the Classic, which will be run over the main dirt surface. Keep in mind that the main track at Del Mar is Polytrack, which could potentially figure well for a horse that likes a turf surface, as we saw with Acclamation. He went to the lead, was expertly guided along by Valenzuela, and won the big prize. He also did it in a Polytrack track record time for 1 1/4 miles at Del Mar of 2:00.61. Here is where you have to side with the Breeders' Cup for a moment, because the race was a "Win And You're In" for the Classic, not the Turf, so if they want to run in the Turf, then they should have to pay the supplemental fee to get into that race, since they are not an automatic qualifier into it... yet.

So, in the final analysis, I would find it highly doubtful that you will see Acclamation run in the Breeders' Cup come November 5, even though he apparently earned his spot to race. You can't really blame anyone for this circumstance since it appears that no one wants him there that matters. I just would love to see "Win And You're In" actually mean something, since right now, in some cases, it doesn't.

Tune in again tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!

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