Aerolithe, one of two foreign raiders for the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) on January 26, arrived at Gulfstream Park in the wee hours of Wednesday morning following transit time of more than 21 hours from her native Japan.
“She traveled really well, much better than expected,” said Kate Hunter, Pegasus World Cup field representative for the Japan Racing Association.
Aerolithe was scheduled to quarantine for approximately 42 hours and will resume training with trainer Takanori Kikuzawa on Sunday.
A five-year-old gray mare by Kurofune, Aerolithe has proven to be one of the better turf milers in Japan the past two seasons. She’s won or placed in eight Group events, including a victory in the 2017 NHK Mile Cup (G1) at Tokyo.
Last season, Aerolithe captured the Mainichi Okan (G2) over nine furlongs and was narrowly defeated in the Yasuda Kinen (G1), both at Tokyo. She finished 12th in her most recent start, the Mile Championship (G1) at Kyoto, but was beaten only 3 1/2 lengths.
“To be able to bring over a Japanese horse to America, especially with the recent issues with Japanese cargo companies not being able to fly in or out of Japan, it’s a huge get,” Hunter said. “The filly really wanted to go to the Breeders’ Cup but we were denied because of airplane issues. So [the owners] were really keen on coming to America and giving it a go.”
Florent Geroux will ride Aerolithe in the Pegasus World Cup
Aerolithe descends from a prominent American female family. Her third dam was four-time Grade 1 winner Stella Madrid, who placed third in the 1989 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Gulfstream. Her fourth dam was 1976 champion sprinter My Juliet.