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Pacific Classic coming to Del Mar

DEL MAR — The Del Mar Racetrack will host the Pacific Classic race Aug. 24. In honor of the marquee race, Del Mar is providing entertainment, festivals and giveaways all weekend, kicking off Aug. 22.

The running of the $1 million race will be the highlight of a three-stakes race card, complemented by the Pat O’Brien Stakes and Del Mar Mile.This year’s defending champion is Game On Dude, who captured the 2013 running by a record eight-and one-half lengths. The 7-year-old gelding has earned more than $6.4 million in purses and has been “looking good” in his workouts at Del Mar, according to trainer Bob Baffert. The speedy veteran, who has visited the winner’s circle 16 times, is owned by a partnership group that includes baseball great Joe Torre.

But million-dollar prizes do not come easy and Game On Dude could face as many as 10 rivals in the mile-and-one-quarter headliner on Del Mar’s Polytrack main track. Those likely to test “The Dude” include the undefeated 3-year-old Shared Belief, owned by CBS Sports radio personality Jim Rome. The horse is five-for-five in his brief career and won the nation’s Eclipse Award winner as juvenile champion in 2013.Others include British-based Toast of New York, another 3-year-old who has won major races in England and Dubai; Midwestern invader Frac Daddy, a multiple-stakes winner who competes especially well on Polytrack; Majestic Harbor, recent winner of the Gold Cup at Santa Anita; millionaire Clubhouse Ride, and Irish Surf, who broke Del Mar’s track record for a mile and one-half in the Cougar II Handicap on July 25.

The race day weekend begins with a Local Artist Showcase featuring performances by three San Diego bands: The Silent Comedy, Transfer and Vokab Kompany as part of Harrah’s SoCal Friday Summer Concert Series at Del Mar. Then, Aug. 23, Donuts Day is back along with Family Weekends where youngsters can enjoy free pony rides, face painting, and other kid-friendly activities.

Finally, Aug. 24, the highly anticipated TVG Pacific Classic and International Beer Fest will take place together at Del Mar. The International Beer Fest will feature more than 40 international brews available for sampling on-site in the Seaside Concert area. Additionally, patrons attending on Aug. 24 will receive a free Del Mar T-shirt while supplies last.

Racing at Del Mar happens Wednesdays through Sundays, with post time for the first race on most days at 2 p.m. On Fridays, first post is at 4 p.m. There will be a special Monday racing card on Labor Day, Sept. 2.