2021 TVG Pacific Stakes Odds: A Race With Good Win Bet Value

Written By Dave Bontempo on August 19, 2021
tvg pacific stakes odds

Whose turn is it? The top-three finishers from the San Diego Handicap last month – Express Train, Tripoli and Royal Ship – headline a TVG Pacific Stakes odds in a strong nine-horse field at the same Del Mar track in California.

Post time for the 31st running of the Grade I, $1 million TVG Pacific Classic is Saturday at 6:30p PT / 9:30p ET. Bettors can access the action via the TVG app. Once logged in, navigate to Race 10 Saturday at Del Mar.

The winner of this race receives an automatic fees-paid berth into the Nov. 6 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar. The field is balanced, based on recent past performance.

The TVG Pacific Classic will be the highlight of an 11-race card that includes five graded stakes, among them the Grade I Del Mar Oaks and the Grade II Del Mar Handicap.

Get Up to $200 Back If Your First Bet Loses

TVG Pacific Stakes Betting Preview

Express Train, who nipped Royal Ship by half a length in the San Diego Handicap, is the early 3-1 favorite. Royal Ship is 7-2 and Tripoli, who just missed from the outside and finished 1 1/4 lengths back, is 5-1. The trio will have the edge of already having run a race over the track.

Bettors should obtain attractive win prices on whomever they like. Exotics also have the look of a promising payoff.

The field includes Monmouth Cup (NJ) winner Dr. Post, who opened at 4-1, while Cougar victor Tizamagician and Independence Hall are 5-1. Cupid’s Claws, a game second in the Cougar, is a longshot with some appeal.

Two other San Diego Handicap graduates, Magic On Tap and Sheriff Brown, are the longest shots on the board.

Here’s a rundown of each horse in the field.

TVG Pacific Stakes Field And Morning Line Odds

1. Tripoli (5-1) – Jockey: Tiago Pereira, Trainer: John Sadler

Ran a big one coming out of allowance company to nearly win the San Diego Handicap, just missing against Express Train. Lost a little ground swinging wide early, but made a thunderous move in the homestretch. Must get the extra distance from 1 1/6 to 1 1/4 miles, versus others who have been that far. Improving. Use in exotics, win candidate.

2. Tizamagician (5-1) – Jockey: Flavien Prat, Trainer: Richard Mandella

Already beaten twice by Express Train, including being overrun in a big field in the Santa Anita Handicap. Last effort was a good one though, a triumph at 1 1/2 miles in the Grade III Cougar. His last three races have been 1 1/2 miles, where he’s been comfortable. Look for him on or near the lead. Runs hard every time, but will have trouble getting past these. Mandella has two horses. It’s possible that Tizamagician will be used to soften the field for his other entry, Royal Ship.

3. Dr. Post (4-1) – Jockey: Joel Rosario, Trainer Todd Pletcher

Comes off a nice Grade III Monmouth Cup win in New Jersey, beating NY Traffic, who had finished ahead of him in the Haskell last year in a race won by Authentic. He had a blazing pace to run at, including a 1:10.3 time for six furlongs. Not likely to get that here, but the Monmouth homestretch run was definitive. Live, needs a pace. Advantage: Back class, having appeared in Triple Crown races. Disadvantage: he’s the only horse in this field who hasn’t run at Del Mar.

4. Royal Ship (7-2) – Jockey: Mike E. Smith, Trainer: Richard Mandella

Lost in a terrific duel with Country Grammer in the Hollywood Gold Cup, decisively topping third-place Express Train. The tables were turned in the San Diego Handicap, as he finished third and Express Train won. He had a bad trip, being bottled up on the rail with no room to run until breaking into the clear in the homestretch. He was outgunned, yes, but how much ground did he lose earlier, when he was fresh? Rebound opportunity. May like the added distance to 1 1/4 miles. Denied twice near the wire and may be due.

5. Express Train (3-1) – Jockey: Juan Hernandez, Trainer: John Shirreffs

Has been improving all season and hit the board in all five outings. He had enough heart to win the San Diego Handicap, fighting off a stubborn Tripoli and Royal Ship. Previously, it looked like the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap was in his saddle until Idol stormed home from the back of the pack to nip him at the wire. Can win from three or four lengths off. May be used early to stay near Tizamagician.

6. Magic On Tap (20-1) – Jockey: Abel Cedillo, Trainer: Bob Baffert

Outgunned and outrun in the San Diego Handicap. Ran hard until the turn and had nothing left. Was also buried in the Californian. Too much to ask for him to beat these.

7. Independence Hall (5-1) – Jockey: Florent Geroux, Trainer: Michael McCarthy

Underperformed as a 3-5 chalk with Royal Ship and Country Grammer, in the Californian. Previously finished behind Express Train in the Santa Anita Handicap. Looks like he hit the wall at the Grade I level. Underneath, maybe, but should not be a win threat.

8. Sheriff Brown (30-1) – Jockey: Edwin Maldonado, Trainer: Todd Fincher

He was 50-1 in the San Diego Handicap and looked longer than that. Over his head. Toss.

9. Cupid’s Claws (15-1) – Jockey: Umberto Rispoli, Trainer Craig Dollase

Gave a good account in the Cougar, won by Tizamagician. Hooked up with Tizamagician around the final turn before giving way in the late stages of the 1 1/2-mile race. Should run alertly and has pick-up-the pieces profile for a minor share if the race collapses.

TVG Pacific Stakes Race Variables

Tizamagician may try to make the race disappear by stealing on the front end. Express Train may be forwardly placed to prevent that.

Royal Ship needs a better trip and will probably get one. Tripoli needs to show he can get 1 1/4 miles. Dr. Post has to overcome the shipping into Del Mar angle.

Related: Profile of Past TVG Pacific Stakes Winners

Different Ways To Bet The TVG Pacific Stakes

Win Bets

Any win bet is attractive and should be played heavily if these odds hold up.

$1 trifecta box

1, 4, 5 (Tripoli, Royal Ship, Express Train).

This ticket costs $6. It’s an inexpensive stab at an angle that Dr. Post won’t ship well.

If you want to include some longshots from the TVG Pacific Stakes odds in the second and third-place positions of your trifecta ticket, here’s how I see it. In reviewing recent races, I liked the form of Tizamagician and Cupid’s Claws on the underneath angle better than the form of Independence Hall, who will take more money than them. Will that carry over? We’ll see.

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Written by
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, who writes extensively on the emergence of legalized sports betting, is a recipient of the Sam Taub Award for Broadcast Excellence by the Boxing Writers Association of America. He has broadcast boxing for all the major networks over the last four decades and is a member of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame as well as the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame. His work also can be seen at the Press of Atlantic City and iGamingPlayer.

View all posts by Dave Bontempo