By Emily Shields
Many of the contenders in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) will have only one more workout before the main event which takes place January 26 at Gulfstream Park in Florida. It is the third running of the $9 million race.
On Friday, both Accelerate and City of Light worked at Santa Anita in preparation for the Pegasus, as did McKinzie, who is still on the fence for the final spot in the 1 1/8-mile race. Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Accelerate went seven furlongs in 1:27.20, completing his exercise well before sunrise. City of Light was clocked in 1:00.80 for five furlongs, while McKinzie went :47.80 for the half-mile. Bob Baffert trains McKinzie; he also trained the inaugural Pegasus winner, Arrogate.
Across the country at Gulfstream, Something Awesome worked five furlongs in 1:02.54 on a muddy track. In Louisiana, both Tom’s D’Etat and Seeking the Soul also worked Sunday, with both clocking a minute flat for five furlongs.
Grade 1 Florida Derby-winner Audible worked at Palm Beach Downs on Saturday, breezing five furlongs in 1:00.98. He was last seen finished second as the favorite in the Harlan’s Holiday Stakes (G3). Other expected starters for the Pegasus are millionaire Bravazo, Gunnevera, who was third in last year’s Pegasus, Mexican Triple Crown hero Kukulkan, Cigar Mile (G1) winner Patternrecognition, and $550,550-earner True Timber.
The $7 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Turf (G1) will be held for the first time on the same card, run over 1 3/16 miles. The race is still coming together, with Yoshida (JPN), a grade 1 winner on both surfaces, and Magic Wand the main contenders. Aerolithe (JPN) will be shipping in from Japan, while Chad Brown will likely send out grade 2 winner and recent Gulfstream Park allowance victor Bricks and Mortar. The race is worth $3 million to the winner.
Like Kukulkan in the dirt race, Aerolithe will bring international flair to the day. Two starts back she defeated 12 others in the Mainichi Okan (G2T) in Tokyo in October. The daughter of Kurofune has won three of 11 starts, including the NHK Mile Cup (G1T) in 2017.
The Pegasus card will feature nine stakes races worth over $16 million in purses.
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