By Maryjean Wall Woody Allen called them flying rats. Many others call them Thoroughbreds of the Sky, and for good reason. Surprising similarities exist between thoroughbred racing and pigeon racing, including the names of champion racers. Shergar is alive and well, flapping fast wings to race through the furlongs of the friendly skies. Secretariat, American Pharoah, Pharlap, Nijinsky, and Justify all fly the skies. So did Man o’ War. Just don’t look up when they’re passing through. They earn silver cups. They earn money. They have pedigrees and their training regimens are not unlike those put to race horses. One
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By Noel Michaels With the move from dirt to turf under trainer Chad Brown, it’s easy to see why the owners of Instilled Regard are optimistic heading into the $1 Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 25. “This is the same horse that showed up for me on Kentucky Derby day,” owner Larry Best of OXO Equine said after Instilled Regard (fourth in the 2018 Derby) won the Fort Lauderdale (G2) in his most recent start. “This is a real horse. He needed time to mature. This is the kind of race we need to go
By Jenny Kellner Now 7, the son of Kitten’s Joy ended a 10-race winless streak on Nov. 23 at Aqueduct Racetrack, when he came charging from ninth to take the Red Smith (G3) on the turf, his first trip to the winner’s circle since the 2018 Mac Diarmida (G2) at Gulfstream Park. In the interim, however, Sadler’s Joy hit the board in eight of 10 starts, including Grade 1 runner-up finishes in the Sword Dancer, Manhattan and Man o’ War (G1). Overall, the Woodslane Farm homebred has hit the board in 18 of 26 starts, with more than $2.7 million
By Lynne Snierson Coolmore’s brilliant international star mare, last seen running second in the Hong Kong Cup (G1) on Dec. 8, returns to South Florida for another try at the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1). This time, trainer Aidan O’Brien doesn’t have Bricks and Mortar to contend with. Magic Wand was the runner-up in 2019 to the expected Horse of the Year, and also finished second to Bricks and Mortar in the Arlington Million (G1) in August. O’Brien has never been shy about running the girls against the boys, and Magic Wand is the only female in the
By Richard Rosenblatt A bruised foot briefly interrupted training about two weeks ago, but Omaha Beach appears in fine form and the likely favorite for the $3 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 25. The three-time Grade 1 winner as a 3-year-old — even though he missed the Triple Crown races with a throat issue requiring surgery — has been prepping for the final race of his career in South Florida since arriving from California at the start of the year. In his most recent work, Omaha Beach went 5 furlongs in 1:00.42 at Gulfstream Park
By Jenny Kellner The peripatetic gelding, now 8, will be making his third appearance in the Pegasus World Cup (G1), having finished fifth in 2017 and 10th in 2018, two years in which his earnings topped $1 million. Indeed, as he enters his seventh racing season, War Story has bankrolled more than $2.9 million, an impressive number considering he has never won more than two races a year, nor does he have a Grade 1 win on his resume. What he does have is tenacity and a willingness to roll with the punches. He had eight different trainers for his
By Lynne Snierson Now about to jump into the deep end against top level competition in the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1), 5 year-old Mr Freeze returns to action after finishing third, beaten 6 ½ lengths, in the Clark (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 29. After the son of dual Grade 1 winner To Honor and Serve won the Ack Ack (G3) last year on Sept. 28 at Churchill, trainer Dale Romans pointed him to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), but instead opted to skip it and keep him in Kentucky to race. The decision proved to be
By Lynne Snierson It might seem a long way from these winter days to the first weekend in May, but there should be lots of chatter about the Run for the Roses and the Lillies for Fillies at the Fair Grounds on Saturday when the track hosts its “Road to the Kentucky Derby Kickoff Day” with the Lecomte Stakes (G3) and the Silverbulletday Stakes for fillies. The winners each receive 10 qualifying points, with the runner-ups receiving 4, third-place finishers 3 and fourth-place finishers 1. The $200,000 Lecomte, extended this year from 1 mile, 70 yards to
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By Margaret Ransom Next Shares, one of the runners who brought co-owner Michael Iavarone back into racing after the demise of IEAH Stables (remember Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown?), has been a bit of a head scratcher. He seems to be either right there for a win or a large chunk, or well back, like his was to finish seventh in last year’s Pegasus World Cup Turf. He has won four stakes – three graded – since agent David Meah paid $190,000 for him in November of 2017 and his Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) victory at Keeneland in 2018
By Lynne Snierson Owner Kin Hui got lucky when his homebred son of 2010 Preakness Stakes winner Lookin At Lucky, the champion colt at ages 2 and 3, didn’t meet his $42,000 reserve price when offered as a weanling at the 2015 Keeneland Breeding Stock sale and he was kept to race. Now the earner of $646,490, he is a dual Grade 3 winner and the stable star. Although the gelding’s best distances are up to one mile and he’ll be tested having to go the extra furlong against top class competition, he has an affinity for Gulfstream Park, where