Applebee: Preview Pegasus and Pegasus Turf / GP Sat 1.27.24
Happy Pegasus Day!
Gulfstream Park has seven graded stakes races headlined by the Pegasus Turf and Pegasus World Cup. While these contests lack a superstar, we have excellent betting races with full fields.
Trivia Question: What was the former name of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes?
Race 12 – The Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational Stakes – Grade I
One Mile and a Furlong on the Turf for Four Year Olds and Upward
1. Atone: Defending champion of this race in what was his only win of 2023. Never quite found that form again in 2023, that included a third place finish in December in an allowance race where he went off at 3/5. He looked OK – but lacked punch in the stretch and was unable to run down the leaders. Looking elsewhere.
2. Jerry the Nipper: Pletcher trainee has primarily been running in NY bred races. Tried open stakes company for the first time last out in the Ft. Lauderdale Stakes finishing third after traffic issues (95 Beyer). Blinkers go ON. Don’t see it.
3. Integration: Undefeated in three career starts moves up to Grade I company after dominating the Grade III Hill Prince at Aqueduct where he sat chilly and then kicked away to win by five lengths (95 Beyer). Should sit a trip while saving ground on the rail behind the speed that is drawn to his inside. Shug might have one here. The Pick.
4. I’m Very Busy: Last start for this Chad Brown trainee was in November in the Hill Prince where he was no match for Integration, who he faces again today. Likes to come off the pace and will need to improve to contend. Would be a surprise.
5. Webslinger: Just missed in the Hollywood Derby at Santa Anita (93 Beyer) after starting a bit slow. Today he takes on older horses for the first time. Late runner who could pick up a piece.
6. Kingmax: Was game in the Ft. Lauderdale but couldn’t catch Main Event who got loose on the lead (96 Beyer). No excuse that day he just wasn’t good enough to get his nose in front. That was an improved performance and that was his first start without Lasix in North America. This is his second start off a six month layoff. Live runner.
7. Adhamo: Only ran three times in 2023 with the Breeders’ Cup Turf as his most recent start where he faded to tenth. Has only one win since coming to North America two years ago and that was in a weak 2022 United Nations. Chad is dangerous off layoffs, but this one just hasn’t shown what is needed. Passing
8. Master Piece: He rebounded off a poor Arlington Million in the Red Smith where he came from off the pace to sweep by the field to get top honors. Three for four going nine furlongs. No worries about the trainer transfer as Rick Dutrow is not currently licensed in Florida so he moved this one to his assistant for this start. Should get the right setup. Hits the board.
9. Warm Heart: Aiden O’Brien ships this filly in to take on the boys. Two back she was great in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (105 Beyer) where she had the lead but was narrowly bested. She then shipped to Sha Tin and finished third in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase running against colts. This may not be enough ground as she is better going longer. Lean against.
10. Shirl’s Speight: We last saw this Roger Attfield trainee in the Breeders’ Cup Mile where he had an inside trip from the one hole but he was no match late and and finished eighth. Hasn’t won a race since the Makers’ Mark Mile in April 2022. Does he want nine furlongs?
11. Main Event: In the Ft. Lauderdale Castellano got this George Weaver trainee right to the front and he took them all the way (96 Beyer). All five career wins have come in gate to wire fashion. Not sure the race flow will suit as there is a lot of other speed and he will be sent from this outside post. Passing.
12. Catnip: Enters off a six month plus layoff following a disappointing eighth in the Arlington Million. Two back he finished second in the United Nations (97 Beyer). But those last two efforts may have been too much ground. He won the Monmouth Stakes at nine furlongs last Summer. Will be coming late. Underneath in exotics.
13. Grand Sonata (AE): Was a close up fourth in the Ft. Lauderdale behind Main Event (95 Beyer). Showed he belonged and was gaining in the last hundred yards, might have gotten there with a bit of a cleaner trip. Tough from this post.
14. Anglophile (AE): Cross enter in the William McKnight earlier on the card. Prepped against three year olds last month in the Tropical Park Derby and was strong in the lane to get up for fourth (86 Beyer). Will drop out the back and make one run if he draws in. Up against it.
Race 13 – The Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes – Grade I
One Mile and a Furlong on the Dirt for Four Year Olds and Upward
1. Nimitz Class: Eleven time winner moves to Grade I company for the first time. Has primarily competed in overnight stakes on the mid-Atlantic circuit going shorter and has generally performed best being up front. He’s hit the board in eight of his last nine races. Look for him to be sent from the rail to establish position. Can he take them nine furlongs? Early speed.
2. O’Connor: Enters here off a two straight stakes wins. Last out he won the Harlan’s Holiday (100 Beyer) with an inside move on the turn and just got up. Two back he came off the pace to win the Fayette Stakes (94 Beyer). Versatile runner who can stalk or close. Was no factor in this race last year when he finished eleventh while breaking from the outside. Dangerous at a price.
3. Dynamic One: Came back off a fifteen month layoff versus optional claiming company at Gulfstream last month where he checked at the start and didn’t threaten. In 2022 he won both the Suburban (98 Beyer) and Blame Stakes (99 Beyer). Not sure what we are getting here. He can compete against this group if he runs back to that 2022 form. Questions.
4. Hoist the Gold: Wired the field last out in the Cigar Mile going the one turn mile (109 Beyer) over a speed favoring sealed muddy surface. Had been primarily sprinting prior the Cigar Mile. He’ll have company up front which may force him to rate. He’s game, but there will plenty of other speed. Possible.
5. Trademark: Finished behind O’Connor two back in the Fayette but came back to win the Clark Handicap (102 Beyer) where he made a sustained drive to run down favorite First Mission. That was his first career graded stakes win. Will need to repeat that effort to contend.
6. Senor Buscador: Was a strong second behind front running Hoist the Gold in the Cigar Mile where he was a clear second but couldn’t run down the winner even though he closed like a freight train (101 Beyer). Given the speed bias that day his placing was impressive. Prior to the Cigar he was no factor in Breeders’ Cup Classic. Closer who will get a hot pace. Minor award.
7. National Treasure: Almost took them all the way in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile but was narrowly bested by Cody’s Wish (107 Beyer). Preakness winner needs the lead as stalking has not worked out. He will have plenty of other pace to contend with. Underlay.
8. First Mission: Lightly raced four year old colt hasn’t missed the exacta in five career starts. Comes in off a very strong second in the Clark (102 Beyer) where he did the dirty work pressing the pace but was just out battled by Trademark to lose by a nose. Should sit in behind the speed. A repeat of the Clark puts him right there. The Pick.
9. Grand Aspen: Just missed in the Harlan’s Holiday last month where he got the lead in the stretch but was bested by O’Connor (100 Beyer). That effort was a leap forward for this Pletcher trainee in his first stakes effort. Possible slice.
10. Il Miracolo: Has hit the board in his most recent five starts – but only has one win in that time. In his most recent start was a third behind Trademark and First Mission in the Clark Handicap. Two back he was beaten by a head by O’Connor in the Fayette. Tends to perform best when he is setting the pace. A notch below.
11. Crupi: Has won four of his last five starts since breaking his maiden last summer. Last out he just got up at the wire to win the Queens County after having to swing wide on the turn (94 Beyer). He’s a grinder who can handle the nine furlongs and is in good form. Use in gimmicks.
12. Skippylongstocking: Last out in the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile he pressed the pace – but was flat in the lane to finish third behind Cody’s Wish and National Treasure. No shame there. Two back he easily handled the field in the Charles Town Classic in the three turn, nine furlong event where he led gate to wire. Race flow and post doesn’t suit. Passing.
13. Castle Chaos (AE): Cross entered in the Fred Hooper earlier on this card. He has been primarily sprinting but did win two back going the flat mile at the Big A. In the Cigar Mile he was a distant third and tired over a muddy surface. Will be on the outside if he draws in. Nope.
Trivia Answer: The Pegasus World Cup was the Donn Handicap from 1959 until 2016.