Where's Sterling ships to Del Mar for Pacific Classic
Frank C. Calabrese's Grade 3 winner Where's Sterling departed the Calder Race Course stable area shortly after 9 a.m. (EDT) Saturday morning to begin his journey toward a start in the Grade 1, $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar on August 26.
"So far, so good," trainer Luis Ramirez said of the early stages of Where's Sterling's cross-country trek. "He went to Fort Lauderdale airport and from there we put him on a plane to California. He should get there around 5:30 Del Mar time, and I'll join him in 10 days."
With the race still more than three weeks away, Ramirez shipped Where's Sterling early with hopes of getting the son of Northern Afleet acclimated to the southern California climate. Also, by arriving well in advance of the race, Where's Sterling is expected to get in two workouts over the Del Mar surface.
"For a race like this, I think you have to go early," Ramirez stated. "That way, he has time to get used to the weather, and it lets him get used to the track too."
The track Where's Sterling will encounter in the Pacific Classic is Del Mar's synthetic Polytrack. The five-year-old bay has run over an all-weather surface just once in his 14-race career, and that came nearly two years ago in just his second career start.
"He ran on it once before at Arlington," Ramirez explained, referring to an August 2010 maiden race in suburban Chicago. "He was second to Pacific Ocean, and that horse is a (dual Grade 3) stakes winner now. And he worked good over that track that whole summer. I've heard Del Mar is a little different, but they're both Polytrack, so I think he'll be OK."
The Pacific Classic will mark Where's Sterling's second attempt at conquering a Grade 1 as earlier this year the five-year-old finished a troubled fourth in the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream. Since that race, Where's Sterling has returned to win both the Memorial Day Handicap and the Mecke Stakes by a combined 10 3/4 lengths, thus making now the opportune time to aim ambitiously at the Pacific Classic.
"We looked at a few other races, but he's doing so well right now we decided to take a shot," Ramirez said. "I don't think he's ever been better."
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