As the 133-day Woodbine Thoroughbred meeting comes to a close this weekend with 35 races including 14 on Sunday, the majority of local horse people and their horses will get some winter rest.
It won’t be long before the backstretchs across Canada start to re-open. I’ll have lots of recaps and reflections on the 2018 Canadian racing seasons shortly, so stay tuned!
STRONACH STABLES’ CANADIAN-BREDS COULD START IN PEGASUS WORLD CUP
Big race coming up Jan. 26
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Multiple graded-stakes winning millionaire Something Awesome and stablemate Unbridled Juan, determined winner of the Richard W. Small Stakes last time out, are both under consideration for the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park.
Ex-jockey Jose Corrales trains both Stronach Stable Ontario-homebreds at his base of Laurel Park in Maryland.
“Something Awesome is training really well. I’ve got him back the way I expected him to come back. He’s gone through a lot of things, but he’s ready,” Corrales said. “I don’t call those shots, but I’d love to run him in the Pegasus and I think he’s ready for that competition.”
A 7-year-old son of Awesome Again, a multiple Grade 1 winner of more than $4 million for Stronach in 1997-98, Something Awesome won five of his first six starts after moving from Woodbine to join Corrales’ string last fall.
During that stretch Something Awesome won the General George (G3) in February and Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Stakes in March at Laurel, and the $1.2 million Charles Town Classic (G2) in April. He bled while finishing last as the favorite in the historic Pimlico Special (G3) May 18 at legendary Pimlico Race Course, returning to run second in an open seven-furlong allowance Nov. 16 at Laurel.
Something Awesome – who won the Harrison Johnson and Charles Town Classic at the Pegasus distance of 1 1/8 miles – has worked three times at Laurel since his latest effort, most recently going a mile in 1:42 Dec. 8, fastest of three horses at the distance. He has nine wins and $1.093 million in purse earnings from 26 career starts.
“I think he doesn’t really need another race before [the Pegasus]. If there’s a race that comes up somewhere we can go for it, if there’s an allowance or a little stake around, but I don’t plan to travel too far with him before that,” Corrales said.
“It’s something that everybody wishes for. If there’s any race you want to be in, this is it,” he added. “Especially coming from Maryland, like he did to win the Classic, because all the horses from everywhere come in for a race like that. If he can get a chance to run in a race like the Pegasus I think it would be something special.”
Unbridled Juan is a 6-year-old son of 1995 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Unbridled’s Song, who also captured the 1996 Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream. Placed in four stakes, including the 2017 Eclipse (G2) at Woodbine and an off-the-turf Dixie (G3) May 19 at Pimlico in May, Unbridled Juan earned his first stakes win in the 1 1/16-mile Grover ‘Buddy’ Delp Memorial Oct. 17 at Delaware Park.
He followed up taking the 1 1/8-mile Richard Small Nov. 10, besting a field of nine that included graded-stakes winners Dalmore and Doctor Mounty; stakes winners Fellowship, third in the 2016 Florida Derby, Small Bear and Zanotti; and Papa Zulu, fourth in the 2017 Poseidon Handicap, companion race to the inaugural Pegasus.
Corrales is pointing Unbridled Juan to the 1 1/8-mile Queens County for 3-year-olds and up Dec. 22 at Aqueduct as a prep for the Pegasus. He has finished in the top three in 23 of 26 lifetime starts with seven wins and $505,323 in purse earnings.
“I think Unbridled Juan will be a tough horse in the [Pegasus]. I’m thinking about it. I think that horse, the more distance he gets the better he is,” he said. “He’s doing really good. We’re going to run him in the race on the 22nd in New York and see what happens after that.”
The Pegasus will be accompanied by the inaugural running of $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) on the Jan. 26 program in the newly created $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series. Owners can secure a spot in the starting gate for the Pegasus World Cup for a $500,000 fee and will be given preference in purchasing a spot in the Pegasus World Cup Turf for $500,000. A $1 million bonus is being offered if an owner should win both races.
PROBABLE RUNNERS FOR PEGASUS
ACCELERATE – Breeders’ Cup Classic winner
SEEKING THE SOUL – Canadian owned Grade 1 winner
GUNNEVERA – 2nd Classic
AUDIBLE – Florida Derby
PATTERNRECOGNITION – Cigar Mile
HORSES TO WATCH ON FINAL WEEKEND OF WOODBINE
Thoroughblog attempts to pinpoint a handful of horses to play on the final 3 days of racing. (Thoroughblogs daily race picks are always a separate post and are also published by Woodbine.com)
The pairing of jockey Sheena Ryan and Robert Tiller has had plenty of success in 2018 and they combine with the mare WHISPERING SPEAKER today in race 2. Northern Fern is sitting on a good one too.
PRINCESS FABIANA could be a nice prospect for next year for Terra Racing and she has a good chance to win her maiden in her first try at 1 1/16 miles. Grey gal by first crop sire Cairo Prince.
Get the long day started with GIANT PULPIT who could go all the way on the lead and win his maiden for owner Brian O’Leary and trainer Tony Gattellaro. Both owner and trainer are ones to watch in 2019.
Race 6 – SPRING EDITION sneaks down in class and long overdue to win his maiden.
Race 11 – Always consider trainer Michael Trombetta when he brings one to town. WET YOUR WHISTLE comes out of a sizzling fast race at Laurel, he could have a big say about the pace in this race.
Race 14 -last race of the year, take a shot on SECRET MASQUERADE for trainer Angus Buntain whose horses almost always run well and usually offer nice odds.
Stay tuned the coming week for wrap ups and stories and news from Thoroughblog.