What to watch for: Gulfstream’s Pegasus World Cup prep fields

December 09, 2019 12:18pm

A pair of local preps that could lead to starts in the Pegasus World Cup (G1) or Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) are taking shape, while there’s also nice undercard on tap as well at Gulfstream Park.

Here’s what to watch for…

Harlan’s Holiday Stakes (G3)

At 1 1/16 miles on the dirt, this is the Gulfstream event that could logically produce a Pegasus contender. Two from the probables list stick out.

Multiple stakes winner Prince Lucky was among the early arrivals to Florida for the Todd Pletcher barn. While he didn’t factor last time when fourth in the Bold Ruler (G3) won by Maximum Security, the 4-year-old by Corinthian has won his last two outings at this distance.

More well-known, Bodexpress has gone from the maiden who competed in two legs of the Triple Crown series to a 3-year-old clearing his conditions. A two-time winner since returning in the fall, the colt will step back into stakes company as the possible favorite Saturday.

The 7-year-old veteran War Story may also show up, while trainer Jorge Navarro has an intriguing second probable in Flowers for Lisa, a former claimer whose form seemed to improve into the fall with an allowance win and stakes placing at Delaware Park.




Fort Lauderdale Stakes (G2)

At 1 1/8 miles on the turf, this stakes looks primed to send a horse or more on to the Pegasus’ second-ever grass event.

The main contenders, however, are yet to be set. While trainers Mike Maker and Christophe Clement already list two probables, the Gulfstream racing office is waiting to hear which runners from the Chad Brown and Kiaran McLaughlin will sign on.

For Brown, nominees are led by Without Parole, the former European Group 1 winner who came off the layoff to be third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. This is a logical spot for the son of Frankel, who would also be the likely favorite.

McLaughlin, meanwhile, counts two prominent stakes horses among his possibles. The 3-year-old A Thread of Blue won the inaugural Saratoga Derby, while Lucullan had won two stakes in three tries before running 11th in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

One top runner booked solid is Channel Cat, another from the Pletcher barn who stole Saratoga's Bowling Green (G2) last summer on the front end. He has suffered three defeats since, most recently when seventh in the Breeders' Cup Turf.




Supporting stakes

Three other graded races, all worth $100,000, fill out Saturday’s Gulfstream Park card that draws Wednesday. Per the racing office…

Heavenhasmynikki, a winner of three straight before finishing ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, returns in the six-furlong Sugar Swirl (G3).

Cookie Dough, a Florida-bred mainstay in the 3-year-old filly division, will take on older in the one-mile Rampart (G3).

Mitchell Road, the stakes-winning half-sister of Country House, is expected in the My Charmer (G3) at a mile on turf.

 

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