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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Hronis Racing’s multiple Grade 1-winning Accelerate drew post 5 and was named the 9/5 morning line favorite for the Grade 1, $9,000,000 Pegasus World Cup Invitational to be held this Saturday, January 26, 2019, at Gulfstream Park.
An Eclipse Award finalist for both Older Male and Horse of the Year who most recently captured the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs, Accelerate will make his final career start for trainer John Sadler before he retires to stud duty at Lane’s End Farm. The 6-year-old son of Lookin At Lucky brings with him a record of 22-10-5-5 with $5,792,480 earned to date.
“We’re going to be a little bit sad, but happy that he has a great book of mares at Lane’s End in Kentucky,” Sadler said. “It’s a pretty good scenario. We’re just looking at it as an opening of a second career for him.”
His biggest challenge will come from Mr. and Mrs. William Warren, Jr.’s City of Light, who drew post 3 and was named the morning line second choice at 5/2. Trained by Michael McCarthy, the 5-year-old son of Quality Road defeated Accelerate in March’s Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap at 9 furlongs before faltering next out in the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita Stakes, then closed out 2018 with a dominating score in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
“We’ve met twice,” McCarthy said. “It’s a tie ballgame so far.”
Coincidentally, the Pegasus will not be the last time that Accelerate sees his familiar foe – City of Light is also retiring to study duty at Lane’s End Farm following the Pegasus.
Also taking shape Tuesday was the field for the Grade 1, $7,000,000 Pegasus World Cup Turf, which joins the Pegasus World Cup card for the first time.
WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International, SF Racing, and Head of Plains Partners’ Yoshida drew post 2 and was instilled as the 5/2 favorite amongst the field of 10 runners. Trained by Bill Mott with Jose Ortiz aboard, the 5-year-old Japanese-bred son of Heart’s Cry won a pair of Grade 1s in 2018 on both turf and dirt before ending the season with a late-running fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
“He’s got a pedigree that would probably lend itself to turf or dirt,” Mott said. “On the top side, maybe a little turf and dirt. The bottom side, his mother was a Grade 1 winner at the sprint distances … so he’s got a pedigree for both and he’s one of the odd horses that has transitioned from one to the other. It’s probably debatable whether his dirt races are better than his turf races, and they may well be, but he’s a horse that won very nicely for us in the spring last year on the turf. He’s run with good company, and we weighed our options here and thought that maybe the turf was the spot to go this time.”
The Pegasus World Cup Turf attracted a pair of female runners in Fahan Mura, a notorious speed demon from California, and Aerolithe, a Grade 1 winner in 2017 against open company in her native Japan.
“She’s never shied away from the boys, and she always runs really well,” trainer Takanori Kikuzawa said through interpreter Kate Hunter, Pegasus World Cup field representative for the Japan Racing Association. “She’s got a very strong personality and likes the competition, so she’s in a good spot mentally, as well. This filly has got a lot of speed, and if you look at some of her previous races, she can really go to the front. If we get a good start, we plan on going forward and hopefully staying there.”
Stay tuned to racingdudes.com all week for continued coverage leading up to the Pegasus World Cup Invitational.
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