It was a busy weekend of racing as Oaklawn opened its doors, Sam Houston hosted its racing festival and of course, the Pegasus took place at Gulfstream. Here's a recap of the top races from this weekend.
Pegasus World Cup Turf - G1 - Gulfstream
It was the European mare MAGIC WAND that went to the front setting fractions of 24.06 and 48.95, but right behind her was ZULU ALPHA biding his time. The favorite, WITHOUT PAROLE was squeezed at the start and was never able to recover. At the mile, they were 1:11.94 as ZULU ALPHA sped past the mare to complete the 1 3/16 miles in 1:51.60. MAGIC WAND finished strong in second followed by INSTILLED REGARD.
ZULU ALPHA was an $80,000 claimer and the 11-1 upset. Last year, he won the G3 McKnight Stakes on Pegasus day. However, his connections chose to go for the biggest purse and the shortest race this year. It paid off well. For those who picked him on their tickets, he paid $25.60 to win. MAGIC WAND is trained by Aiden O'Brien and while she only has three wins in her 23 starts, she's put over $4 million in the bank.
Pegasus World Cup - G1- Gulfstream
MUCHO GUSTO broke sharply at the start and took the lead. BODEXPRESS followed around the first turn. On the far outside, MR FREEZE battled for the lead and passed them. MUCHO GUSTO held back to save ground and settled in the pocket until the far turn. BODEXPRESS made a brief move alongside him, but MUCHO GUSTO moved forward and passed a tiring HIGHER POWER and tipped outside of MR FREEZE and BODEXPRESS. MUCHO GUSTO drew clear under strong urging in the stretch to take the biggest victory of his career. MR FREEZE held onto second and WAR STORY rallied late for third.
Inside Information Stakes - G2 - Gulfstream
At the start, PINK SANDS settled in last. Nine and a quarter lengths ahead was LIZA STAR setting a blistering quarter mile at :22.47. At the half mile, BLAMED took over the lead and SPICED PERFECTION came from eighth to take the link. But, it was WILDWOOD'S BEAUTY and NONNA MADELINE advanced to over take her. Soaring on the grandstand side was PINK SANDS taking the lead and the win by three lengths. WILDWOOD'S BEAUTY took second with NONNA MADELINE following in third.
$150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes - Oaklawn Park
The Smarty Jones is a Kentucky Derby prep race and GOLD STREET relished the wet track at Oaklawn. With fractions of 24.08 and 48.96, he carried the lead by a length into the far turn. He was pressured for a short stretch run by LYNN'S MAP but came out with the victory over THREE TECHNIQUE and SHOPLIFTED. All three horses are trained by Steve Asmussen. GOLD STREET earned 10 points towards the Derby.
$100,000 Fifth Season Stakes - Oaklawn
Opening day at Oaklawn attracted a crowd of 30,000. The track split the Fifth Season Stakes into two divisions. Vying early for the lead, GUEST SUITE was held back and waited patiently down the backstretch. In the final strides however, she edged out SNAPPER SINCLAIR to take the win by a neck. NIGHT OPS finished third.
In the second division, PIONEER SPIRIT took the lead after the break setting fractions of :23 3/5 and :47 3/5. Entering the stretch, he was ahead by three lengths, but BANKIT was closing in fast from seventh, but couldn't take the lead and had to settle for second. MOCITO ROJO held on for third.
$300,000 Houston Ladies Classic - G3 - Sam Houston Race Park
The Houston Ladies Classic was a star studded event with SERENGETI EMPRESS, OUT FOR A SPIN, STREET BAND and MYLADY CURLIN. In her classic style, SERENGETI EMPRESS broke to the front and set fractions of :23.40 and :47.31. As the field came to the stretch, LADY APPLE, MYLADY CURLIN and STREET BAND moved up to challenge. The four horses went four wide down the stretch for the final furlong with LADY APPLE emerging for the win. SERENGETI EMPRESS held on for second edging out MYLADY CURLIN.