Hronis Racing’s Kentucky-bred Tripoli collared front-running Tizamagician at the top of the lane and went on to a 1 ¼-length tally in the 31st edition of the $1,000,000 Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug. 21. The win earned Tripoli a berth in the $6,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) Nov. 6 at Del Mar.
Bred in the Bluegrass by Blue Devil Racing Stable LLC, Tripoli is a 4-year-old colt by Kitten’s Joy out of the Tapit mare Love Train and was a $450,000 yearling acquisition at the 2018 Keeneland September Sale. Tripoli didn’t race as a 2-year-old but competed exclusively on turf for his first 11 starts before being switched to the dirt in June. It was the third Pacific Classic victory for owners Kosta Hronis and his brother Pete, who also campaigned Accelerate (2018) and Higher Power (2019)—both are currently stallions standing in Kentucky and both were trained by John Sadler, as is Tripoli.
Piloted by Tiago Pereira, Tripoli tracked the early pace of Tizamagician from third in the early stages of the 1 ¼-mile test. He chased the early leader from the inside before shifting into the two path on the far turn. He surged clear of Tizamagician nearing the eighth pole and held that rival at bay to the wire, stopping the clock in 2:02.37
“(Trainer) John (Sadler) told me before the race to be careful because there were a lot of runners who had a similar style of running,” Pereira said. “So, I was OK running right behind the leaders. When it was time to run, I had plenty of horse. 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.”
John Sadler said, “I’m in the latter part of my career and when you can win these big races, I feel very blessed. I’m not that old, I’m 65, but I’ve been around a long time, and I don’t feel like I’m in the middle part of my career, whether there are two, five, or 10 years left to go. He (Tripoli) could run once (before the Classic0. He looked good all the way. He had a perfect trip, give the rider a lot of credit. He rode him perfectly.”
The $600,000 winner’s share of the purse raised Tripoli’s career earnings to $811,960. It was his fourth win from 14 starts and his initial stakes victory. He finished second to Express Train in his previous start in the San Diego Handicap (G2) July 17.