July 24, 2024

Trio of Pegasus World Cup hopefuls record final moves

Seeking the Soul earns his first stakes win taking the Clark Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs on Friday, November 24, 2017 (c) Churchill Downs/Coady Photography

Grade 1 winner Seeking the Soul posted his final major move for Saturday’s $16 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) at Gulfstream Park.

The five-year-old son of Perfect Soul breezed a half-mile in :48.60 over Fair Grounds’ fast main track on Sunday for trainer Dallas Stewart and owner/breeder Charles E. Fipke.

“It was good, he had a good half mile, nice and sharp,” Stewart said. “He laid back good and he’s feeling good, and looking healthy. I think he’s on schedule and he looks as good as he did when he ran in the (November 25) Clark (Handicap [G1] at Churchill Downs).”

Seeking the Soul earned his first stakes victory in the Clark, which took place at the same 1 1/8-mile distance of the Pegasus.

“It’s going to be a real tough race, but we think that we’re ready,” Stewart said. “We’re glad to be in there. It’s a great race to be in and it’s a huge purse. Mr. Fipke is game on taking a shot but I think he has a very nice chance.”

Stewart returns to Gulfstream Park with a starter for the first time since sending out Unforgotten to run seventh in the 2010 Sunshine Million Distaff. His last win at the track came in February 2006 with Spruce Hero.

“It’s been awhile but I’ve spent a lot of time there,” Stewart said. “I worked for (Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne) Lukas there for five years and when I started in 1997 I was there.

“I think (the track) will be fine for (Seeking the Soul), I think that he’s tactical and he’ll lay right up there, not too far off of them.”

Seeking The Soul is scheduled to ship to Gulfstream on Wednesday.

Trainer Bob Baffert sent his Grade 1-winning pair of Pegasus World Cup hopefuls out for their last major works for the race.

West Coast covered five furlongs in 1:00 while Collected blazed a bullet half-mile in :46.20, both over the fast main track at Santa Anita Park.

The duo each worked in company – West Coast with Coil’s Gold and Collected with Power Cat – and had Drayden Van Dyke in the irons.

“West Coast went really well,” Baffert said after the drill at 7:45 a.m. (PT), when temperatures were rising from just above the freezing mark of two hours earlier. “He’s coming into the race without any bumps in the road, like any other big race.

“I’m pretty happy. We gave him a stiff work the other day (bullet six-furlong, in-company move from the gate in 1:12 on January 14), but today he was on it. He wanted to do more. He looked great coming off the track. I felt really good about his work.”

Both Collected and West Coast have already faced Pegasus favorite Gun Runner, running second and third, respectively, behind him in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. That was West Coast’s last start, but Collected returned December 26 to finish third behind fellow Pegasus hopeful Giant Expectations in the San Antonio Stakes (G2).

“We didn’t really super-crank him for it,” Baffert said in regards to Collected’s San Antonio effort. “We’re taking the Pegasus with a different approach. He’ll be ready.”

In other Pegasus news, Toast of New York finished his trip from England and settled in at Gulfstream on Saturday.

The Jamie Osborne trainee, who returned to competition on December 6 after begin retired in 2015 due to a tendon injury sustained while training for the Dubai World Cup (UAE-G1), flew into Miami on January 18 and spent 48 hours in quarantine. He left the USDA facility at the Miami International Airport at 4 p.m. (ET) on Saturday and took a 20-mile van ride to Gulfstream.

Toast of New York bedded down in the isolation barn and took a roll in his stall, a move assistant trainer and exercise rider Jimmy McCarthy said is typical for the seven-year-old.

“He’s pretty good, most of the time. He’s pretty chilled out,” McCarthy said. “He’s a good traveler. He’s a good tourist. He’s done plenty of it. He’s pretty good on the road.”

Toast of New York captured his comeback race, a 10-furlong allowance at Lingfield. His last two races before being retired came as seconds in both the Pacific Classic (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) in 2014. He stood in Qatar in 2016 but was put back into training after the tendon injury had healed.

“He’s been very good. He took the run pretty well,” McCarthy said. “All his works since have been good. He’s been doing all the things that he used to do. Where that puts him, we’ll find out. We’re very happy with him.”