HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Sunday Racing Co., Ltd.’s Grade 1-winning mare Aerolithe arrived at Gulfstream Park early Wednesday at approximately 3:15 a.m. to prepare for the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), North America’s richest grass race, Jan. 26.
The mare’s excellent adventure went from Tokyo to South Korea to Anchorage to Miami. Total travel time, including layovers, was 21 hours and 25 minutes.
“She traveled really well, much better than expected,” said Kate Hunter, Pegasus World Cup Turf field representative for the Japan Racing Association. See XBTV video of Aerolithe arriving.
Aerolithe, winner of the NHK Mile Cup (G1) as a 3-year-old, has placed first or second in nine of 13 career starts, including a victory Oct. 7 in the Mainichi Okan (G2) and a second-place finish June 3 in the Yasuda Kinen (G1). The 5-year-old daughter of Kurofune, a son of Grade 2 winner French Deputy, is trained by Takanori Kikuzawa. Hunter confirmed that Florent Geroux will ride the mare.
The mare will remain in quarantine at Gulfstream for approximately 42 hours.
“She’s going to stay inside the barn until her 42-hour quarantine is finished,” Hunter said. “But once that’s done, she’ll spend the day walking and the trainer, who is also going to be riding her in the mornings, gets in on the morning of the 20th [Sunday], so he will be riding her on the morning of the 20th on the track.”
Hunter said there is excitement regarding Aerolithe’s participation in the Pegasus.
“To be able to bring over a Japanese horse to America, especially with the recent issues with Japanese cargo companies not being able to fly in or out of Japan, it’s a huge get,” she said. “The filly really wanted to go to the Breeders’ Cup but we were denied because of airplane issues. So they [the owners] were really keen on coming to America and giving it a go. She’s a really game filly with good speed and a lot of heart so they were really keen on giving her a chance in the United States.”
Aerolithe is not the only international competitor in the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Championship Series. Kukulkan, Mexico’s undefeated Triple Crown winner who was victorious in the Clasico del Caribe at Gulfstream in December, will return to compete in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) – North America’s richest race – while Ireland’s Magic Wand will compete in the Pegasus Turf.