We're gearing up for an awesome Saturday at Gulfstream Park! Be sure to stay tuned for live updates and results all day prior to the Pegasus World Cup Invitational and Pegasus World Cup Turf. But first, here's what's been happening this week in the world of horse racing.
Pegasus World Cup Entries & Post Positions
Post positions were drawn yesterday for the 1 1/8 mile $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational finalizing the field of 12. Post time is Saturday, January 26th at 5:40pm ET. NBC will be broadcasting.
1. Bravazo (12-1) - D. Wayne Lukas/Luis Saez
2. Something Awesome (20-1) - Jose Corrales/Edgar Prado
3. City of Light (5-2) - Michael McCarthy/Javier Castellano
4. Seeking the Soul (12-1) - Dallas Stewart/John Velazquez
7. Bricks and Mortar (5-1) - Chad Brown/Irad Oritz Jr.
8. Delta Prince (15-1) - Jimmy Jerkens/Frankie Dettori
9. Catapult (7-2) - John Sadler/Joel Rosario
10. Dubby Dubbie (30-1) Bob Hess Jr./Luca Panici
Jonathan Thomas Chosen as Trainer of Diversify
After the passing of trainer Rick Violette, the two time Grade 1 winner DIVERSIFY has been taking some time off at Fair Winds Farm in Cream Ridge, New Jersey while owners Ralph and Lauren Evans searched for a new trainer. DIVERSIFYis a 6-year-old son of Bellamy Road and has won 10 of 16 starts. The gelding won the 2017 Jockey Gold Cup and the 2018 Whitney.
The owners chose Jonathan Thomas, as they were looking for a younger, successful and up-and-coming trainer. "After discussing several options, we decided to hire Jonathan, in large part because we know Rick really had a lot of respect for him and especially the job he did in developing CATHOLIC BOY," said Ralph Evans. The current plan is for DIVERSIFYto resume training in Florida on February 1st.
Midnight Bisou Heads to Houston
MIDNIGHT BISOU will begin her 4-year-old campaign in Sunday's $300,000 Houston Ladies Classic (G3). Post time is Sunday, January 27th at 1:15CT. The race is part of the Houston Racing Festival, which also includes the Grade 3 $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup and four other undercard stakes races.
A millionaire mare, MIDNIGHT BISOU is owned by Bloom Racing Stable, LLC, Madaket Stables LLC and Allen Racing, LLC. She last ran in the $2 Million Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1). She was also involved in the controversial Cotillion in September, where she battled MONOMOY GIRL and was declared winner after the stewards ruled interference. She finished third in the Kentucky Oaks and broke her maiden in the Santa Ynez Stakes (G2), as well as won the Santa Anita Oaks.
The mare has been training at Fair Grounds under Steve Asmussen, who has ten leading training titles in Houston. She is a finalist for the Eclipse Award Champion 3-year-old filly with MONOMOY GIRL and RUSHING FALL.
Mike Smith will make his first trip to Sam Houston to ride the mare. "He fits her like a glove," says Bloom.
Justify Favored for Horse of the Year
There's been plenty of controversy this year over who should take the title of Horse of the Year. On one hand, you have the 3-year-old colt who pulled of a Triple Crown win without racing as a two year old, but was then promptly retired to stud. On the other hand, you have ACCELERATE, a horse who has one 6 of 7 starts, including the Breeders' Cup Classic in very tough Grade 1 company. And yet, there is a third horse that nobody has really mentioned when it comes to the Horse of the Year discussion and that is the filly MONOMOY GIRL, who won the Kentucky Oaks and the Breeders' Cup Distaff. All three are, without a doubt, amazing and deserving horses.
Thursday at Gulfstream Park during the Eclipse Awards dinner, the winner will be announced, but many believe that JUSTIFY is still the favorite. One of the main arguments for Justify is that there have been five Triple Crown winners since the Eclipse Awards were created in 1971. The last four Triple Crown winners were name Horse of the Year and it is expected that the streak will be kept alive. It is, after all, an incredible feat.
You can watch the Eclipse Awards on TVG as well as online at GulfstreamPark.com, DRF.com, NTRA.com and XBTV.com.
Oaklawn Park Meet Starts January 25th
Located in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Oaklawn Park will open January 25th with a new schedule encouraging race fans to "Stay Until May." Traditionally, the race meet ended with the Arkansas Derby Day in mid-April, but is staying open for three more weeks encouraging fans to come and enjoy live racing on Kentucky Derby Day, Saturday, May 4th.
The new schedule includes increased purses and two new stakes races. The Rebel Stakes (G2) purse has been boosted to $1 million and will run March 16th. The $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) will run April 13th.
Race fans will also enjoy seeing the string of Hall of Famer Nick Zito, as he faces off against Oaklawn regulars, Steve Asmussen and D. Wayne Lukas. Mark Casse, Dallas Stewart, Joe Sharp, Larry Jones, Ron Moquett and Brad Cox are also scheduled to race.