Art Collector raced on or close to the pace in his first seven stakes wins, but the six-year-old horse shed the frontrunner label in Saturday’s $3 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) at Gulfstream Park, powering past rivals at the top of the stretch to record a convincing upset win.
He drew off to a 4 1/2-length decision with Junior Alvarado, who picked up the mount after Luis Saez opted to ride another runner in the 12-horse field. Art Collector returned a $33 win mutuel.
Along with dynamically switching tactics for Bill Mott, who trains the homebred for Bruce Lunsford, Art Collector improved to 8-for-10 at the 1 1/8-mile distance, stopping the teletimer in 1:49.44. He boosted his career earnings past $4 million with the $1.68 million payday.
Art Collector settled a couple of lengths back as Stilleto Boy sprinted forward at the break to show the way, establishing opening splits in :23.61, :47.71, and 1:11.82 while being chased by 2.90-1 second choice Defunded.
The early runners ultimately proved no match for Art Collector, who edged closer on the far turn while wide and quickly seized command while straightening for home, but Defunded held second, 1 1/4 lengths better than 45-1 Stilleto Boy in third.
Last Samurai, a 51-1 outsider, came next in fourth, and he was followed by Proxy, 2.10-1 favorite Cyberknife, Skippylongstocking, White Abarrio, Get Her Number, Simplification, O’Connor, Ridin With Biden.
Art Collector had been freshened since a disappointing fifth in the Lukas Classic (G2) at Churchill Downs in early October. The bay earned his first stakes triumph in the 2010 Blue Grass (G2), and he strung together three consecutive stakes wins during his four-year-old season, including the Woodward (G1) at Belmont Park.
After opening 2022 with a well-beaten effort in February’s Saudi Cup (G1), Art Collector came back to captured the Alydar S. and Charles Town Classic (G2) in August for the second straight year. His career record now reads 21-11-1-0 record.
Kentucky-bred Art Collector is the first stakes winner from the stakes-winning Distorted Humor mare Distorted Legacy, who finished second in the Flower Bowl (G1) on turf. She’s a half-sister to Grade 2 scorer Vision and Verse, runner-up in the 1999 Belmont (G1) and Travers (G1).