Key Takeaways from Pegasus World Cup Day 2023

Tom Pedulla presents the top five highlights of Pegasus World Cup Day at Gulfstream Park. An exciting day of entertainment centered on a 13-race card highlighted by the Baccarat $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes, the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational Stakes presented by Qatar Racing and the $500,000 Thoroughbred Poker Association Fillysus Cup. and Mare Turf Invitational Stakes presented by Pepsi.

ALL ABOUT STYLES: Pegasus Day at Gulfstream Park was about style in many ways, including the way the biggest race was won. Art Collector has been a dedicated leader in many of his previous 10 wins, but Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott felt his best shot in the Pegasus World Cup was when the fledgling 6-year-old bounced off the pace. jockey Junior Alvarado. A change of strategy contributed to an authoritative 4 ½ length decision over Defunded despite odds of 15.50-1. “The horse loved what he was doing with it,” Mott said. “He liked the fact that he could settle down and breathe and do whatever he needed to do to build up that energy, because that’s energy conservation.”

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ENCOURAGING SECOND: Top assistant Jimmy Barnes, who manages most of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s trips, sees Defunded’s second-place Pegasus as an invaluable experience. “I learned a lot about traveling with him. Maybe we’ll be able to travel more now,” Barnes said of Dialed In’s 5-year-old son. “He ran the ship well. He handled the enclosure well. We weren’t sure about the trips before because he is a bit fickle and temperamental. A good showing at Gulfstream Park gives Defunded plenty of opportunities for the rest of the year. “We expect big things from him,” Barnes said.

CLASS 1 PROVERSION: Trainer Michael Maker has a knack for bringing out the best in older horses. Six-year-old Atone’s maiden Grade 1 victory in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational is the latest example of this. Son of Into Mischief 2022 won just one of eight starts, finishing second and two thirds. “He didn’t have much luck last year,” Maker said. “He was always right there and (Saturday) was his day. Irad Ortiz Jr. became the sixth different jockey to ride Athos in his last six starts. The most important thing was his patience. “I was waiting, but at the same time I was leaning to the outside, so when I hit the rubber, my horse was there,” Ortiz said. “All credit goes to the horse.” And a bunch to Maker and his staff.

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WEST COAST INVADER: Queen Goddess is bred by trainer Michael McCarthy on the West Coast, and all five of her lifetime wins there have come over Pegasus Filly and Mare Turf. In two ventures taking place far from California, she 2021. finished fifth in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup presented by Dixiana at Keeneland in 2021 in October. in October, and fifth in the Oaklawn Park Bayakoa Stakes. The now 5-year-old daughter of Empire Maker showed she can win road races with a 1.5-length decision over the heavily favored Shantisara Pegasus Filly and Mare Turf Eclipse for Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber. “She has matured. She is a mare that we always thought would improve with age,” said Aron Wellman, founder of Eclipse.

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DOMINATION: Michael Maker made a strong statement with his fifth win in the $150,000 William L. McKnight Stakes presented by Davidoff Cigars earlier on the card. The magnificent 9-year-old Red Knight showed that he still has a lot of running left in him. He was followed by stables Value Engineering and Wicked Fast. Temple, another stablemate, finished fifth. “He loves his job,” Maker said after the Red Knight’s 11th win in 32 career starts. Red Knight, bred and owned by Thomas Egan’s Trinity Farm, is a son of Pure Prize. He recovered the ball from the 11th– place in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf competition.


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