Baffert mulls second option to Pegasus World Cup for McKinzie

Baffert mulls second option to Pegasus World Cup for McKinzie
Photo: Benoit

Trainer Bob Baffert told Santa Anita's publicity department on Thursday morning he was still deciding whether to send Malibu Stakes (G1) winner McKinzie to the Grade 1, $9 million Pegasus World Cup set for Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park.

When connections first considered the Pegasus, all 12 slots worth $500,000 were taken. But now,
according to the Daily Racing Form, Gulfstream Park officials have discussed making McKinzie the final contender in the field.


The spot became available when trainer Brad Cox pulled Clark Handicap (G1) victor Leofric out of contention with a quarter crack.

"We're just waiting, and don't want to get in a rush with him," Baffert said. "It's a long year."


If McKinzie does not run in the Pegasus, Baffert said the Street Sense colt could point to the 
Grade 2, $200,000 San Pasqual Stakes on Feb. 2 at Santa Anita.


Both the Pegasus and San Pasqual are run at 1 1/8 miles. 

McKinzie, a three-time Grade 1 winner, is campaigned by Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman. He won the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) at 2 by disqualification, returned from a six-month layoff last season to take the Pennsylvania Derby (G1), then rebounded from 12th in the Breeders' Cup Classic to stride home a 4 3/4-length winner in the Malibu.


Breeders' Cup Classic champ and Horse of the Year nominee Accelerate will have his next work for the Pegasus moved to Friday morning at 6:30 a.m. PT due to rain in the forecast. He was originally scheduled to work Saturday.

Trainer John Sadler did not give Santa Anita publicity a specific distance, but mentioned it would be a "long" work. Assistant Juan Leyva was aboard for Accelerate's last work -- six furlongs in a bullet 1:13.40 last Saturday -- and will be up on Accelerate again Friday morning.


Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile champion City of Light is also preparing for a Pegasus start with trainer Michael McCarthy in Southern California. City of Light handed Accelerate his lone defeat of 2018 in the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) last April, also at 1 1/8 miles.

 

"His attitude is good, his appetite is great and he’s training with a lot of energy," McCarthy said. "We’ll handicap Mother Nature here this weekend, be sure we have a decent track to work on and go from there."

 

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