Next Shares could be Pegasus-bound with San Gabriel win

Next Shares_horse_San Gabriel 2019_615x400
Photo: Benoit

Grade 1 winner Next Shares returned to the winner’s circle Saturday after a photo finish in Santa Anita’s Grade 2, $200,000 San Gabriel Stakes. It was also the 6-year-old gelding’s first start back in California since his fall campaign in Kentucky, and connections are now eyeing a possible start in the inaugural $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf on Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park.

“It’s all about the Pegasus right now,” said co-owner Michael Iavarone. “It’s what we wanted. That's what we were hoping for. We tried to stretch him out today in that hope and it worked out amazing.”

Next Shares, trained by Richard Baltas, won Kentucky Downs’ Old Friends Stakes and Keeneland’s Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) back-to-back before finishing off the board in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. The San Gabriel, run at 1 1/8 miles on the turf, marked his second graded stakes score in 22 starts.

Joel Rosario was named to ride Next Shares in the San Gabriel, but Geovanni Franco was up with Rosario ill.

With jockey Geovanni Franco aboard, Next Shares settled second-to-last in the nine-horse field. Arms Runner, the longest shot on the board, shot to the lead and led the opening quarter-mile fractions in 24.09, 48.26 and 1:12.46. Cleopatra's Strike followed in second while Liam the Charmer, winner of the John Henry Turf Championship (G2) in September, was in fourth.

Arms Runner backed up before the turn for home and Cleopatra’s Strike took command. Liam the Charmer was poised for his bid and moved to the leader's outside. Franco was winding up Next Shares on the outside, turned four paths wide and unleashed a rally on the grandstand side.



The three horses charged home together. Liam the Charmer gave in just before the wire and it was too close to call between Cleopatra's Strike and Next Shares. 

The photo showed Next Shares in front by a nose. The final time was 1:48.61.

“This is a very, very, very good horse,” Baltas said. I said earlier that he likes a little more cut in the ground, but he obviously handled this well. Geo rode a great race…He was a little far back, but this guy doesn’t panic.”  

Next Shares began his career on the East Coast before he was purchased for $190,000 at the 2017 Keeneland November sale. He went on to place in multiple graded stakes in California before breaking through last fall.

The son of Archarcharch is campaigned by Michael and Jules Iavarone, Jerry McClanahan, Christopher T. Dunn, William Marasa, Ritchie Robershaw and Mark Taylor. The San Gabriel boosted his record to 6-4-2 and pushed his earnings close to $1.2 million.

“(Baltas) said the horse will run. Down the lane the other horses were very game but I think Next Shares heard everyone screaming and pulling for him and he got it done,
 Franco said.

“I thought I won it because I thought my horse had his nose down at the wire, but I knew it was close. This is the biggest pick-up mount I’ve ever had, for sure.”

 

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