John C. Oxley’s Noble Bird, whose multiple graded stakes wins include the 2015 Stephen Foster Handicap (G1), is under consideration for the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) Jan. 28 at Gulfstream Park following a sharp half-mile work Sunday morning.
The 5-year-old son of Birdstone went four furlongs in 48.20 seconds over the main track at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County. The time was the fastest of 32 horses at the distance.
It was the fourth work since Christmas Eve and third straight bullet move for Noble Bird, a dominating winner of the Pimlico Special (G3) and Fayette (G2). He finished seventh in his month recent start Nov. 25 in the Clark Handicap (G1).
Noble Bird went four furlongs in 47.50 seconds Dec. 31, the fastest of 92 horses, and followed with a five-furlong breeze in 1:00.65 Jan. 8.
“Early on we were approached by people and asked if we were interested [in the Pegasus] and we had said no, but he has been training so good,” trainer Mark Casse said. “I wasn’t there today for his work but I was there last week and I thought his work was as good as I’ve ever seen him breeze. In fact, I was there for his last two previous breezes and I thought the same thing. He’s really training well right now.
“Saturday I was in communication with a couple of possibilities but we never came to an agreement,” he added. “We’re seriously thinking about the Pegasus so we’ll see how things play out in the next week or so, but if we can come to an agreement with somebody we’ll probably run him.”
Noble Bird owns seven wins, four seconds and purse earnings of $1,069,945 from 20 lifetime starts. At his best when he breaks sharp and races on or near the lead, he has run at eight different tracks in six states but never at Gulfstream.
“As you know when he’s good, he’s really good and when he’s bad, he’s bad. He’s ugly. But, I would think how kind Gulfstream is to speed that he should sure like Gulfstream,” Casse said. “He went a half this morning and did well. We don’t have any agreement at this point in time but we’ll see what happens.”
California Chrome Exits Work in Good Order
Sunday dawned a quiet morning for megastar California Chrome, the day after his five-furlong workout in 1:00 3/5 for the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) Jan. 28.
Assistant trainer Alan Sherman walked the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner in the shedrow before sunrise on Sunday. Sherman left shortly thereafter for a day of fishing.
Dihigi Gladney, aboard California Chrome for his penultimate work for the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus, arrived at the barn later Sunday morning to do some media interviews.
Gladney remarked that California Chrome was his usual good-feeling self during Saturday’s work, and has taken to the Gulfstream Park surface.
“He has adapted to this track. I know a lot people say that, ‘Oh, my horse is doing good,’ but I can’t think of a track that we actually took him to that he’s actually bad on,” Gladney said. “He just loves to train. From the first day we jogged him here, he really didn’t want to jog . . . I had to take him two times around to knock the edge off of him. I was so glad the next day came around and we galloped him. He’s just been all together taking to this whole surface.
“The track was a little heavy [yesterday], but he got over it really easy,” he added. “I think a lot of that has to do with the way he’s made. His body type shows he can get over most any type of surface. He went a minute in change and I didn’t try to [push] him or anything.”
The son of Lucky Pulpit is scheduled to be given his final tune-up for the Pegasus World Cup Saturday morning, when trainer Art Sherman is scheduled to be on hand prior to attending the Eclipse Award Dinner that evening.
California Chrome is a finalist for the 2016 Horse of the Year title, as is Arrogate, who narrowly defeated him in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) Nov. 5 and is also scheduled to compete in the Pegasus World Cup.
Eragon exits Saturday work in good order
A day after James McIngvale’s Eragon worked four furlongs in 49 4/5 seconds under jockey Edgar Prado for his North American debut in the Pegasus, trainer Laura Wohlers said all was well with the 6-year-old.
“We just walked today and we’ll jog him tomorrow. It looks like he’s good and he ate well. That’s all you can hope for,” Wohlers said. “I would have liked him to go a tiny bit faster in the work, but I’m fine with it. I told Edgar if he had some horse left, to gallop out a good five-eighths, and he did. It was his first time working in awhile. He got stuck in quarantine. He probably didn’t need to do more than that yesterday.”
Eragon, a multiple Group 1 winner in Argentina, spent 2 ½ weeks in quarantine in Miami before arriving at Gulfstream Park Jan. 5. He is scheduled to work again next Sunday.
Source: Gulfstream Park