The hardware was handed out Thursday night in the Sport of Kings Theater at Gulfstream Park and it’s time to get down to the serious business of starting more Eclipse Award campaigns in South Florida.
Pegasus World Cup Day dominates the Saturday action, even without the main event’s two favorites Omaha Beach and Spun To Run scratched. A field of 10 remains for the $3 million headliner that tops a strong card that also includes the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf and a bounty of stakes on the main track and grass course. And it looks like the weather will hold out, great news for anyone waterlogged at the 2019 edition.
Jump racing starts the day with action at Fairyhouse, Doncaster and Cheltenham. From there we preview the action from Aqueduct, opening Saturday at Oaklawn, Santa Anita and more.
Here’s your primer for Saturday, Jan. 25. Enjoy and good luck.
Fairyhouse. Race 1. 7:25 a.m. Willie Mullins will continue to ride his wave here, sending out Allaho, a disappointment in his chase debut in December but that will be amended here.
Cheltenham. Race 1. 7:40. If you haven’t been taking notes, start now. They call it Festivals Trials Day for a reason. It’s the last meeting at Cheltenham before the March Festival. Potential Triumph Hurdle starters kick it off.
Doncaster. Race 2. 7:55. Small but competitive field clash in the Grade 2 novices’ chase. All have form, all have something to prove.
Cheltenham. Race 3. 8:50. The Paddy Power 45 Sleeps to Cheltenham Trophy Chase. Lalor showed glimmers of his best in most recent start, the 8-year-old chaser tries to take the next step in his reclamation.
Doncaster. Race 4. 9:05. Boss Man Fred rides a three-race win streak into the Grade 2 hurdle.
Cheltenham. Race 4. 9:25. Grade 2 chasers set sights on the next rung on the way to the Gold Cup. Santini and Bristol De Mai carry the shortest odds but must contend with Slate House, winner of his last two for Colin Tizzard.
“We were delighted with Slate House in the Kauto Star and he came out of it very well. We have decided to take our chance in the Cotswold because he has a good record at the track,” assistant Joe Tizzard said. “This is his second season over fences and the Cotswold will be a good test on the back of an impressive performance at Kempton. He jumps and travels, and hopefully he has a good chance.”
Doncaster. Race 5. 9:40. Another Grade 2 on a strong card at Doncaster. This one is for fillies and mares. Irish Roe carries a 147 mark into this for Peter Atkinson and Henry Brooke.
Cheltenham. Race 5. 10:00. King Rowland has been on our Horse Tracker since his bumper debut in 2018. He should wallop seven rivals in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.
Doncaster. Race 6: 10:15. OK Corral attracts leading amateur Derek O’Connor. Veterans Dingo Dollar, Calipto, Burbank and others add water to the pool.
Cheltenham. Race 6. 10:35. The leader of the stayers’ division, Paisley Park, should put another post in his picket fence. The 8-year-old has won six in a row, including last year’s Stayers’ Hurdle.
Fairyhouse. Race 5. 10:45. Is Moghram prepping for Nashville? Number 25 in this maiden hurdle, the 4-year-old is owned by George Mahoney and trained by Gordon Elliott.
Gulfstream Park. Race 1. 11:30. Pegasus World Cup Day starts with 1-mle allowance on the grass.
Gulfstream. Race 2. 11:59. Field of 10 3-year-old maidens stretch two turns for the first time. Several have 1-mile starts under their belts, including Candy Tycoon last time for Todd Pletcher.
Gulfstream. Race 3. 12:28 p.m. First stakes of the day in South Florida, the $150,000 World Of Trouble Turf Sprint should be another for Shekky Shebaz. Sent out by the same connections that campaigned World Of Trouble, son of Cape Blanco exits victory in Claiming Crown after a third in Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
Aqueduct. Race 1. 12:30. Distorted Sky switches to main track for 9-furlong maiden after good effort going long on the grass in debut for Bill Mott.
Gulfstream. Race 4. 12:57. Similar 7-furlong maiden that produced highly regarded Hidden Scroll brings together a dozen 3-year-olds from many of the usual suspects.
Gulfstream. Race 5. 1:27. Back to the grass and stakes action with the $150,000 Ladies’ Turf Sprint. Girls Know Best looks to get back to winner’s circle on course where she’s 2-for-4 while Jean Elizabeth bids for sixth straight.
Gulfstream. Race 6. 2:02. Staying on the grass for $150,000 South Beach for fillies and mares. The namesake will be hopping next week with the Super Bowl in town.
Oaklawn Park. Race 1. 2:05. Racing returned to Hot Springs Friday and the first Saturday card of the meet starts with 6-furlong starter allowance.
Gulfstream. Race 7. 2:31. Bulky field of 14 for the Grade 3 Fred W. Hooper. Peter Miller ships Gray Magician in from California for 1-mile event while recently crowned Eclipse Award winners Chad Brown and Klaravic Stables send out Free Enterprise in his stakes debut.
Gulfstream. Race 8. 3:03. Aidan O’Brien sent Simply Beautiful across the Atlantic with stablemate Magic Wand and sends out 4-year-old Galileo filly in Grade 3 La Prevoyante. Lady Paname, off since winning the Grade 3 Long Island in late November 2018, returns for Chad Brown.
Gulfstream. Race 9. 3:36. Spiced Perfection didn’t get any Eclipse Awards love despite winning the Grade 1 Madison and Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America last year at Keeneland but will get plenty here in the Grade 2 Inside Information.
Aqueduct. Race 8. 3:55. Belmont Stakes winner Sir Winston, 12th in comeback race on the grass last time in New Orleans, returns to the main track for $100,000 Jazil. Connections are hoping a better effort can lead to races in Dubai and/or Saudi Arabia for the son of Awesome Again
Oaklawn. Race 5. 4:08. Bloom Racing and Steve Asmussen, no doubt still beaming after a big night at the Eclipse Awards, send out Snapper Sinclair in first division of $100,000 Fifth Season.
Gulfstream. Race 10. 4:12. A dozen for the Grade 3 W. L. McKnight, including stamina specialists Red Knight and Pumpkin Rumble and a quartet from Mike Maker’s string in Apreciado, Carom, Cross Border and Temple.
Gulfstream. Race 11. 4:49. Significant purse drop for the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational presented by Runhappy, from $7 million to $1 million, yet plenty of interest. Five who ran in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup are in the field in Zulu Alpha, Arklow, Without Parole, Channel Cat and Next Shares, along with last year’s runner-up Magic Wand, the improving Mo Forza and old veteran Sadler’s Joy.
Oaklawn. Race 7. 5:09. Fillies and mares take their turn in the $100,000 Pippin.
Gulfstream. Race 12. 5:34. The main event lost a lot with the scratches of Omaha Beach and Spun To Run but the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes presented by Runhappy turns into a pretty interesting betting race without the two favorites. Californians Higher Power and Mucho Gusto figure to be the choices of the 10 who remain in the field, along with Tax and Bodexpress.
Oaklawn. Race 8. 5:38. Second division of $100,000 Fifth Season attracts Bravazo, who surprisingly didn’t go in the Pegasus, along with Pioneer Spirit and Bankit.
Fair Grounds. Race 5. 6:17. Hotshot Anna brings five-race win streak, including a second victory in the Grade 2 Presque Isle Downs Masters, into $75,000 Nelson J. Menard Memorial sprinting on the grass.
Santa Anita Park. Race 8. 7:00. Ax Man, off since finishing fifth in last year’s Grade 2 San Carlos, makes return for Bob Baffert in Grade 2 Palos Verdes that also attracts stablemate Speed Pass, Flagstaff and St. Joe Bay.