Ac­cel­er­ate drills for Pe­ga­sus

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - News - By Steve An­der­sen

ARCADIA, Calif. – Ac­cel­er­ate, win­ner of the Breed­ers’ Cup Clas­sic and four other Grade 1 races in 2018, worked seven fur­longs in 1:27.20 on Fri­day at Santa Anita in prepa­ra­tion for the $9 mil­lion Pe­ga­sus World Cup on Jan. 26 at Gulf­stream Park.

The ex­er­cise was moved for­ward a day be­cause of ex­pected in­clement weather in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia this week­end and was a lit­tle longer than orig­i­nally sched­uled out of con­cern for wet con­di­tions next week, trainer John Sadler said.

“We wanted the longer work be­cause next week we could be look­ing at track clo­sures,” Sadler said.

Rid­den by ex­er­cise rider Juan Leyva, Ac­cel­er­ate worked alone at dawn and gal­loped out a mile in 1:40.40, Sadler said. The time of the work­out left Sadler im­pressed.

“I think the track is slow,” he said.

Owned by Pete and Kosta Hro­nis, Ac­cel­er­ate has not raced since win­ning the BC Clas­sic on Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs. He was the lead­ing older male in the United States in 2018 and is a fi­nal­ist for the Eclipse Award as Horse of the Year.

Fri­day was a busy morn­ing for work­outs at Santa Anita. City of Light, who won the BC Dirt Mile on Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs, worked five fur­longs in 1:00.80 for the Pe­ga­sus, which is run at 1 1/8 miles. City of Light worked alone but was briefly joined by an­other horse on the back­stretch, trainer Michael McCarthy said.

“He’s a very will­ing work horse and an amaz­ing ath­lete,” McCarthy said.

McKinzie, who won the Grade 1 Mal­ibu Stakes for 3-year-olds at seven fur­longs on Dec. 26, worked a half-mile in 47.80 sec­onds, though trainer Bob Baf­fert timed the ex­er­cise in “a minute and change” for five fur­longs.

The Pe­ga­sus World Cup and the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes at 1 1/8 miles at Santa Anita on Feb. 2 are op­tions for McKinzie.

“We could go there,” Baf­fert said of the Pe­ga­sus. “We’re not in any hurry” to make a de­ci­sion.

In other works, mul­ti­ple stakes win­ner Bat­tle of Mid­way worked five fur­longs in 1:00.20 for the San Pasqual, while Kan­thaka worked five fur­longs in 1:00 for the Grade 2 Pa­los Verdes Stakes at six fur­longs on Jan. 19. Bat­tle of Mid­way and Kan­thaka are trained by Jerry Hol­len­dor­fer.

Cat­a­pult, trained by Sadler, worked six fur­longs in 1:14.20 for the $7 mil­lion Pe­ga­sus World Cup Turf on Jan. 26 at Gulf­stream Park. Cat­a­pult was sec­ond in the BC Mile on Nov. 3.

Cat­a­pult worked in com­pany with St. Joe Bay, who was timed in 1:14. St. Joe Bay is ex­pected to run in the Pa­los Verdes, Sadler said.

Espinoza seeks third opin­ion

The re­turn of jockey Vic­tor Espinoza from in­juries sus­tained last sum­mer has been post­poned.

Brian Beach, Espinoza’s agent, said Fri­day that the pop­u­lar rider plans to seek opin­ions from doc­tors in the near fu­ture re­gard­ing the con­di­tion of his spine, which was in­jured in a train­ing ac­ci­dent at Del Mar last July.

Espinoza worked a horse on Jan. 5 at Santa Anita but has not sched­uled any ad­di­tional work­outs. Espinoza, 46, re­ceived a fa­vor­able di­ag­no­sis from a doc­tor in De­cem­ber, al­low­ing him to re­turn to the sad­dle for work­outs. An­other doc­tor has rec­om­mended a more cau­tious ap­proach, Beach said, lead­ing to the de­ci­sion to seek a third opin­ion.

“We’re on hold,” Beach said. “We’ll get an­other opin­ion. He’s feel­ing good af­ter he worked that horse. He’s got a doc­tor that has a dif­fer­ent opin­ion than the other doc­tor.

“You can’t just go with the an­swer you want to hear. He’ll con­tinue to do his ther­apy. In foot­ball terms, we have to make sure he’s ready for full con­tact.”

Espinoza had hoped to re­sume rid­ing in the fi­nal weeks of Jan­uary. On Fri­day, Beach did not put a time line on any re­turn, pend­ing con­sul­ta­tions with doc­tors.

Spring-sum­mer stakes sched­ule

Led by a Me­mo­rial Day pro­gram with three Grade 1 races worth $500,000 each, Santa Anita has sched­uled 34 stakes for its spring-sum­mer meet­ing from April 12 to June 23.

This will be the rich­est Me­mo­rial Day pro­gram since Santa Anita in­her­ited the spring­sum­mer meet­ing from Hol­ly­wood Park in 2014. The $500,000 races are the Gamely Stakes for fil­lies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf, the Shoe­maker Mile on turf, and the Gold Cup at Santa Anita at 1 1/4 miles on the main track.

The Gamely Stakes purse has been in­creased $200,000, while the Shoe­maker Mile is worth $100,000 more than in 2018. The races will of­fer the win­ners a fees-paid berth in the Breed­ers’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf and BC Mile, which will be run here Nov. 2, of­fi­cials said.

There are sev­eral other changes to the 11-week meet­ing. Two Grade 1 races from 2018 are Grade 2 races this year and have been moved from March into the spring. The Santa Mar­garita Stakes for fil­lies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on April 27 and the Triple Bend Stakes at seven fur­longs on May 25 will be run with their purses halved to $200,000.

The Grade 3 Hon­ey­moon Stakes for 3-year-old fil­lies at 1 1/8 miles will be worth $150,000, $50,000 less than last year. The Cin­ema Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on turf is worth $150,000, $50,000 more than in 2018, when the race was known as the Rain­bow Stakes.

The sea­son ends with six stakes over two days on June 22-23, in­clud­ing the Grade 3 San Juan Capis­trano Stakes at about 1 3/4 miles on clos­ing day.


Ac­cel­er­ate won the Breed­ers’ Cup Clas­sic in Novem­ber to cap a stel­lar 2018 sea­son in which he won five Grade 1 stakes.

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