While the $12 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) is, rightfully, drawing all the attention on Saturday at Gulfstream Park, there is a pair of dirt stakes on the undercard worth mentioning.
In fact, one of them has attracted some of the also-eligible runners who probably won’t draw into the Pegasus. That race is the $400,000 Poseidon Handicap sending a field of nine 1 1/8 miles. Included in the group are Stanford and Madefromlucky, who are 13th and 15th to draw into the Pegasus from the also-eligible list.
Stanford is the biggest standout in the Poseidon following his three-length wire job in the Harlan’s Holiday Stakes (G3) over the track on December 17. That was the five-year-old bay’s first start since an eighth-place run in the Met Mile (G1) last June and he earned a 102 BRIS Speed rating for the score.
However, the Todd Pletcher trainee’s best Speed rating to date (108) came when he just missed by a head in last year’s Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) last March.
John Velazquez has the return call on Stanford, who has been installed as the even-money morning-line favorite for the Poseidon.
Also of note in the Poseidon are Grade 2-winning multi-millionaire Imperative, dual Grade 2-scoring Madefromlucky and last Saturday’s Sunshine Millions Classic victor Hy Riverside.
Gulfstream will kick off its stakes action on Saturday in the $100,000 Hurricane Bertie Stakes (G3) sending distaffers seven furlongs on the main track.
Eight are scheduled to line-up in the contest, which features stakes winner and 6-5 morning-line favorite Curlin’s Approval, who just missed in the December 17 Rampart Stakes (G3). You Bought Her, a neck second in last Saturday’s Sunshine Millions Distaff, takes her chances off the one-week break.
Luis Saez will be aboard Curlin’s Approval while Corey Lanerie has the call on You Bought Her.