Photo: Bee Buck Photography
The 2019 Pegasus World Cup and Pegasus World Cup Turf take place Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park, with the Hallandale Beach, Fla., track set to first host a pair of local preps this weekend for the big events. Audible leads the charge in the Grade 3, $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday Stakes, while the Grade 2, $200,000 Fort Lauderdale Stakes on turf includes some Grade 1 winners coming back from the Breeders’ Cup.
Here’s what to watch for this weekend:
Audible continues his comeback at Gulfstream
Grade 1 winner Audible will have his final Pegasus World Cup prep in the Harlan’s Holiday on Saturday. The Into Mischief colt was away for six months after finishing third in the Kentucky Derby and returned on the Breeders’ Cup undercard to win the Cherokee Run Stakes at seven furlongs. The Harlan’s Holiday brings him back to a track he relished this spring.
Audible, trained by Todd Pletcher for WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, Starlight Racing and Head of Plains Partners, won the Holy Bull Stakes (G2) his first time out in stakes company before taking the Florida Derby (G1). The Holy Bull gives him a win over the track at 1 1/16 miles, the same distance as the Harlan’s Holiday.
Audible is anticipated to be a heavy favorite.
Breeders’ Cup runners eye Florida rebound
The Fort Lauderdale includes a list of Grade 1 winners looking to rebound from the Breeders’ Cup. The 1 1/8-mile feature would represented a cutback in distance for Hi Happy and Glorious Empire from the Breeders’ Cup Turf, in which they finished ninth and 13th respectively. Hi Happy won Gulfstream’s Pan American Stakes (G2) back in March before scoring in the Man o’ War Stakes (G1) at Belmont. Glorious Empire dead-heated with Channel Maker for first in the Bowling Green Handicap (G2) at Saratoga before beating Channel Maker in Sword Dancer Invitational (G1) later during the meet.
The Daily Racing Form reports that Divisidero, the Breeders’ Cup Mile fourth-place finisher and dual Grade 1 winner, will run in the Fort Lauderdale.
Two also expected to go Saturday are Shadwell Stable’s Almanaar, who won the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) in 2017 before away from the races more than a year. That race will be known next year as the Pegasus World Cup Turf. Qurbaan should also go after his breakthrough over the summer in Saratoga’s Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2).
Neither Shadwell runner is expected to try the Pegasus, with the farm’s vice president and general manager Rick Nichols saying, “It’s a race that would probably fit Almanaar very well, but we’re just not in agreement with that concept.”
Asmussen loaded in Springboard Mile
Trainer Steve Asmussen has as many as five colts listed as probable for the $400,000 Springboard Mile at Remington Park Sunday, where 10 points will be awarded for a spot in the 2019 Kentucky Derby.
B. B. Dude is a two-time stakes winner looking to rebound from seventh in the Spendthrift Juvenile Stallion Stakes. He previously won the Kip Deville Stakes at Remington and the Manzano Stakes at Albuquerque. Long Range Toddy is another with a win over the Remington track, where he won the Clever Trevor Stakes in his last race. Tobacco Road, third in the Clever Trevor, has not won since the Ellis Park Juvenile in August. He was off the board in two Derby preps before shipping to Remington for the Clever Trevor.
The Springboard Mile would be a stakes debut for Tone Broke, who has two wins over the Oklahoma track. Ninth Street also broke his maiden at Remington before shipping to Delta Downs to win the Jean Lafitte Stakes.
Other probables of note include Spendthrift Juvenile Stallion Stakes winner Dunph; American Pharoah Stakes (G1) runner-up Gunmetal Gray, who was fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile; and Epic Dreamer, an impressive 1 1/16-mile maiden winner at Belmont Park in October.
Hollendorfer juvenile leads in Los Al stakes
Galilean has not raced outside California-bred company yet, but the 2-year-old colt looks promising for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. He won the Barretts Juvenile Stakes on debut during the September meet at Los Alamitos, then lost by only a neck to Cruel Intention in Santa Anita’s Golden State Juvenile. It was another 16 lengths back to the third-place finisher.
The Uncle Mo colt could be back in action on Sunday at Los Alamitos. He leads the nominations for the $100,000 King Glorious Stakes, a one-mile race for juveniles bred in the Golden State.