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Tripoli springs upset to win Pacific Classic at Del Mar


DEL MAR, Calif. -- Tripoli came off the rail, went around frontrunning Tizamagician to take the lead turning into the stretch, and went on to win the $1 million Pacific Classic by 1 1/4 lengths at Del Mar.

Tripoli ran 1 1/4 miles in 2:02.37 to earn his first stakes victory under Tiago Pereira, the Brazilian-born jockey who won with his only mount on the 11-race card. It was Pereira’s first win in a million-dollar race in the U.S.

“When it was time to run, I had plenty of horse,” Pereira said. “But once we got in front, he started looking around, waiting on other horses. I looked around and knew we were not going to get caught.”

The 4-year-old colt trained by John Sadler paid $15, $7.80 and $4.80 at 6-1 odds.

Tripoli earned an automatic berth into the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on Nov. 6.

Tizamagician returned $7.60 and $5.20. Dr. Post, who shipped in from New York for trainer Todd Pletcher, paid $4.20 to show.

Express Train, the 5-1 favorite, finished sixth.

“He kind of lost interest on the backstretch, so I thought I had no horse,” jockey Joel Rosario said. “But when I wheeled him outside, he gave me a strong finish. I don’t know how to explain it.”

Magic On Tap, trained by six-time Pacific Classic winner Bob Baffert, finished last in the nine-horse field. Earlier in the day, filly Private Mission won the $100,000 Torrey Pines Stakes to give Baffert his first stakes victory of the summer meet.

Tripoli didn’t race as a 2-year-old, and then ran on turf in his first 11 starts before being switched to dirt in June. He finished second in the San Diego Handicap last month at Del Mar in his stakes debut. The colt has four wins in 14 career starts and earnings of $811,960.

“This horse has matured and just keeps coming along, and today he proved himself,” co-owner Kostas Hronis said. “We didn’t know if he could go a mile and a quarter, but today we found out.”

It was the third win in the race for owner Hronis Racing, whose Accelerate won in 2018 and Higher Power in 2019.