The last two times we saw Rock Your World, he rocked no one’s world. Which is why it rocked Del Mar’s world when the Santa Anita Derby winner was one of 15 horses nominated for the Aug. 21 Grade 1 Pacific Classic.
Those nominations closed for Del Mar’s flagship race Thursday night with many of the expected candidates nominated. Some of the more recognizable names include Chess Chief, Express Train, Ginobli, Independence Hall, Midcourt, Mo Mosa, Royal Ship, Magic On Tap and Tizamagician.
The list also included another surprise: Dr Post. Todd Pletcher, who trains the 2020 Belmont Stakes runner-up, said from his New York base that sending Dr Post west comes down to a Saturday workout.
“We’re going to breeze him Saturday and if we’re pleased with that, he’s a go,” Pletcher told Del Mar.
This year, Dr Post captured two Grade 3 races: the Westchester Stakes at Belmont Park in May and the Monmouth Cup in July. Those sandwiched around a fifth in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on the Belmont Stakes undercard. This would be his first race west of New Jersey.
This wasn’t on Rock Your World’s itinerary
Sending Dr Post west doesn’t hold nearly the surprise factor that running Rock Your World does here. John Sadler, Rock Your World’s trainer, said at the beginning of Del Mar’s Summer Meet that he planned moving Rock Your World back to the grass. That’s where he captured his first two career races. The likely destination: the Sept. 4 Grade 2 Del Mar Derby.
Sadler trains Rock Your World for longtime clients Hronis Racing, none of whom are strangers to the Pacific Classic starting gate. Or the winner’s circle. The combination won Pacific Classic titles in 2018 with Accelerate and 2019 with Higher Power.
And 3-year-olds have beaten their older counterparts five times, the last coming from Shared Belief in 2014. Sophomores get a six-pound weight break (118 pounds instead of 124) over older horses.
From a disappointing Belmont to the Pacific Classic
But Rock Your World’s last two outings remind no one of a colt threatening to win one of the West Coast’s top races for older horses. First, there was that disastrous 17th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, where 4.70/1 second-favorite Rock Your World got sandwiched coming out of the gate and never recovered.
Then, there was a disappointing sixth (of eight) as the 5/1 third-favorite in the Belmont Stakes. There, Rock Your World was second at the mile call, before hitting a wall at the quarter pole and tiring.
Rock Your World didn’t break 85 on the Equibase Speed Figures in either race. His 78 in the Derby was the lowest of his career. Compare that to the career-best 103 in his Santa Anita Derby victory.
This isn’t set in post-position stone yet
Sadler has until Tuesday to either send Rock Your World forward into the field or bench him. That’s when entries close and post positions are drawn. But the trainer did commit to sending one of his charges into the Pacific Classic: Tripoli.
The San Diego Handicap runner-up to Express Train in his stakes debut, Tripoli turned in a 1:12.80, six-furlong workout Friday morning. That convinced Sadler the 4-year-old Kitten’s Joy son is ready for the 1 ¼-mile Pacific Classic.
The $1 million Pacific Classic comes with a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Breeders’ Cup Classic on the same Del Mar track Nov. 6.