The holidays are behind us and a new season of horse racing is upon. This month the anticipation lies in the upcoming Pegasus World Cup and then we'll be all wrapped up in the Derby trail! Here's a look at the top stories from the past week!
Pegasus World Cup Confirmations
The $9M Pegasus World Cup is January 26th and is attracting the creme de la creme of horses. Here's who we have confirmed for the field:
ACCELERATE - The Horse of the Year contender is on track and trainer John Sadler says he is "better than ever." The Pegasus World Cup will be the final race of ACCELERATE'S career.
CITY OF LIGHT - The only horse to beat ACCELERATE is confirmed having recently worked five furlongs in a minute flat.
AUDIBLE - Trainer Todd Pletcher has confirmed AUDIBLE is on track after finishing second place in the Harlan's Holiday Stakes at Gulfstream. The horse showed a liking to the track last year while on the Kentucky Derby Trail winning both the Holy Bull Stakes and the Florida Derby.
TOM'S D'ETAT - The six year old is confirmed after a half-mile breeze in :49 flat Sunday at Fair Grounds. His most recent win was the December 22nd Tenacious Stakes by 3 1/2 lengths at Fair Grounds. The horse has six wins out of nine starts. Manager Greg Bensel states, "This will be a true test."
PATTERNRECOGNITION - The Chad Brown trained six year old breezed five furlongs in 1:02.05 Sunday in preparation for the Pegasus. The horse has won his three most recent starts.
KUKULKAN - The Mexico Triple Crown Winner is unbeaten in 13 races in Mexico.
SOMETHING AWESOME - The 8 year old homebred of Stronach Stables' arrived breezed Saturday morning for the first time since arriving at Gulfstream. He went one mile in 1:42. Jockey Edgar Prado will have the ride in the Pegasus.
BRAVAZO - The D. Wayne Lukas trainee put in a bullet work last Wednesday at Oaklawn. The 4 year old covered five furlongs in 1:00.60 over a muddy track.
Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational
NEXT SHARES - Following his Grade 2 San Gabriel win, NEXT SHARES is pointed towards the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational.
AEROLITHE - The filly's connections have made travel arrangements to Gulfstream Park from Japan and is set to arrive January 16th. The filly has placed first or second in nine of thirteen starts, which have included both grade 1 and grade 2 wins.
Victor Espinoza Back in the Saddle
After a long recovery from a freak training accident in July, jockey Victor Espinoza returned to the track at Santa Anita Saturday morning. Espinoza worked former stakes winner ST. JOE BAY for trainer John Sadler going five furlongs in 1:01.
Abel Tasman Tops Keeneland Sale at $5 Million
ABEL TASMAN sold for a nice $5 million at the Keeneland January Sale. The now five year old mare was a three year old champion winning an Eclipse Award, six G1 stakes and the Kentucky Oaks amongst other achievements. The mare is also up for another Eclipse Award. The mare was consigned by Taylor Made Sales and sold to Coolmore. The daughter of QUALITY ROAD will head to the breeding shed, but the sire is yet to be determined. AMERICAN PHARAOH, JUSTIFY, UNCLE MO and GALILEO are all possibilities.
Catholic Boy To Return to Training in February
While CATHOLIC BOY could have been pointed to the Pegasus, the four year old is taking a well-deserved vacation until February 1. Some of the goals for the colt is the G1 Manhattan and the G1 Whitney.
Top Contenders on the Derby Trail
Now that the prep season for the Kentucky Derby has officially started, here are the five odds leaders.
GAME WINNER (5-1)
GUNMETAL GRAY (12-1)
You might notice GUNMETAL GRAY is newcomer to the list. This is due to his win in the G3 Sham Stakes this past weekend. The colt earned a career high 105 Equibase speed figure in the Sham. He also beat fellow Derby contender, COLISEUM, who finished sixth.