April 24, 2019

Bravazo aiming for Pegasus

Bravazo training at Churchill Downs (c) Churchill Downs/Coady Photography

A rallying neck second in the November 23 Clark Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs, Bravazo is scheduled to kick off his four-year-old season in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park on January 26.

“Yes, that’s surely where we’re headed if everything goes well,” Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Tuesday.

Runner-up in the Preakness (G1), Bravazo was the only three-year-old other than Justify to compete in all three legs of the Triple Crown. After a sixth in the Belmont Stakes (G1), the Calumet Farm homebred came back to finish second in the Haskell Invitational (G1) and third in the Travers (G1).

He didn’t fire when seventh in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1), but Bravazo redeemed himself with a commendable third in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1). He registered a career-best 105 BRIS Speed rating in the latter and posted a 102 number when just missing against Leofric in the Clark.

“We’ve got a window of about seven weeks so we’ll get him in a work pattern,” Lukas said. “We did ship him to Arkansas where he’s getting a week to just take it easy. We’ll start picking up a work tab schedule in mid-December. He’s really done well. He’s fit, his weight is excellent. He’s run eight straight Grade 1s and a lot of people would think he would taper off but he seems to only have gotten better. He’s a picture of consistency.”

The well-traveled son of Awesome Again competed over eight different tracks and recorded a 2-3-2 line from 11 starts in 2018. Bravazo opened his sophomore season with a victory over allowance rivals at Oaklawn Park and his lone stakes win came in February’s Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds.

The Pegasus will mark his first appearance at Gulfstream and Lukas expects to send the dark bay colt to South Florida a week before the race.

“I think (Pegasus) is a significant development in the big picture of racing,” the 14-time Triple Crown race winner said. “One of things we’ve struggled with in Thoroughbred racing is keeping superstars on the track. I think this is a step in the right direction. Any time you start the season with a $9 million race…it better be on your radar.”