The third Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) did not disappoint, as second choice City of Light ($5.80) romped home by 5 ¾ lengths.
The brilliant son of Quality Road took the lead took the lead halfway through the 1 1/8 mile contest after sitting just off frontrunner Patternrecognition early on. Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) hero Accelerate, the race favorite, came to challenge around the turn, leading to a bit of tactical riding by winning jockey Javier Castellano.
Castellano angled City of Light away from the rail, leaving room for Accelerate, but a day of constant rain left that a dubious option. Joel Rosario, on Accelerate, guided the chestnut horse four wide to go around City of Light, but the recently crowned-Eclipse Champion Older Male could not get by City of Light, who suddenly burst forth and opened up. Seeking the Soul, at 34-1, ran on gamely to be second, passing Accelerate who ran third, with Bravazo and Audible rounding out the top five.
City of Light was winning his sixth race in 11 starts; he never finished worse than third. The $9 million purse meant $4 million to the victor, increasing his earnings to over $5.6 million. City of Light ran the distance in 1:47.71. Both he and Accelerate were retired following the race.
The race prior was the inaugural Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), a $7 million contest over 1 3/16 on Gulfstream Park’s turf course. Chad Brown-trainee Bricks and Mortar ($7.60) under Irad Ortiz, Jr. rallied from eighth early to score by 2 ½ lengths over Irish shipper Magic Wand, a 9-1 shot. Delta Prince, also 9-1, ran third, while race favorite Yoshida (Jpn) finished sixth; the final time was 1:54.59.
Bricks and Mortar, by Giant’s Causeway, was winning his sixth race in eight starts. He was off from October, 2017, until December 22, 2018, and made his comeback prep over the course a winning one. The winner’s share increased his earnings to over $3 million.
Other stakes winners on Gulfstream’s rich Pegasus card include Zulu Alpha ($6.60) in the W. L McKnight, Aztec Sense ($7) in the Fred W. Hooper, Si Que Es Buena ($17) in the La Prevoyante, Dream Pauline ($7.80) in the Fasig-Tipton Hurricane Bertie, and Dolce Lili ($8.60) in the South Beach. Two stakes were taken off the turf: Cherry Lodge ($5.60) won the Ladies’ Turf Sprint and World of Trouble ($2.40) took the Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint.
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