2023 Pegasus Day Recap

2023 Pegasus Day Recap: Away from the seven-figure purses at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, there was a host of compelling Graded stakes led by the G3 Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf, won by California shipper Queen Goddess. Mike Maker was the trainer to watch, sending out Endorsed to make his stakes breakthrough in the G3 Fred W. Hooper and nailing the trifecta in the G3 William L. McKnight with the evergreen veteran Red Knight leading the way.

Elsewhere, two mares signed for their first Graded-stakes wins, with track specialist Maryquitecontrary (G2 Inside Information) and Personal Best (G3 La Prevoyante) stepping into the spotlight on a marquee afternoon.

Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf Invitational

G3, $500,000, 1m 1/16 turf, 4yo+ females

Queen reigns supreme: She had never won outside California, so Queen Goddess picked the perfect time to end her highway blues when running out an authoritative winner of the G3 Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, turning back the late threat of Shantisara with little difficulty.

The 4-1 third-choice is usually a front-runner but she thrived on different tactics, sitting behind the speed as the field split in half, with four horses well clear of the others. Queen Goddess was in the right spot, cruising into the lead at the top of the stretch and quickening away to win by a length and a half from the rallying second-choice Shantisara, with Lady Rockstar keeping on for third, two and three-quarter lengths back.

Horse Race Video

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The California Shipper Queen Goddess wins the G3 Pegasus F&M turf 2023 #PegasusWorldCup2023 #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #pegasusworldcupturf #Horses

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Fourth-placed Dalika will now be retired and could head to a date in the breeding shed with Horse of the Year Flightline; the favourite Wakanaka was a never-dangerous fifth.

“We knew she had a lot of speed but inside they had speed too, so the plan was to be right behind them and everything went according to that plan. It was perfect,” said jockey Luis Saez.

Queen Goddess was signing for the biggest purse of her career, although not the most prestigious as she already had the 2021 G1 American Oaks on her resume. The five-year-old mare, trained by Michael McCarthy, will now ship back west for a schedule that may include the G1 Gamely at Santa Anita on May 29, and will likely culminate in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, this year run over ten furlongs at the Los Angeles circuit.

Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf Results

HorseWinPlace Show
1. Queen Goddess10.404.603.60
2. Shantisara4.003.20
3. Lady Rockstar4.00

Winning time: 1m 41.91s

Inside Information Stakes

G2, $200,000, 7f dirt, 4yo+ females

Mary quite classy: Horses for courses. Maryquitecontrary has never raced anywhere other than Gulfstream Park, and took her record to six-for-seven at the Florida circuit when making her Graded-stakes breakthrough in the Inside Information, easily fending off longshots Colorful Mischief and Fire On Time.

All the talk and most of the money was for Obligatory, but the odds-on shot turned in probably the worst performance of her life when short of speed early and trailing in sixth. Don’t let that detract from the performance of the winner, the 5-2 second-choice, who was in a similarly remote position until surging into contention around the turn.

Fire On Time quickened clear but was running on fumes in the final furlong and Maryquitecontrary swept to the lead, winning going away by two and a half lengths, as Colorful Mischief rallied past the emptying Fire On Time and beat her a length for second.

Horse Race Video

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Maryquitecontrary wins the Inside Information 2023 #PegasusWorldCup2023 #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #pegasusworldcupturf #Horses

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“When I got into the clear she started to kick, and she kept kicking until the end,” said jockey Luca Panici of the Joseph Catanese-trained filly. “She’s improving race after race, and today she really showed what she can do.”

Maryquitecontrary and Panici are quite a team; the only time Maryquitecontrary has failed to find the winner’s circle – runner-up in a stakes on her second start – Panici took another ride in the same race. He’s unlikely to make that mistake again, and trainer Catanese is just as keen to stick with a winning formula. “We’ll keep finding races for her here,” he said.

Inside Information Results

HorseWinPlaceShow
1. Maryquitecontrary7.204.203.20
2. Colorful Mischief10.206.60
3. Fire On Time8.00

Winning time: 1m 23.64s

William L. McKnight Stakes

G3, $200,000, 1m 4f turf, 4yo+

Red strikes gold again: There’s a golden oldie back at the top of the charts. Red Knight came out as fresh as paint at the grand old age of nine, going last to first in the William L. McKnight to put away barnmates Value Engineering and longshot Wicked Fast with the vigour of a horse half his age, as trainer Mike Maker swept the board.

None of Maker’s trio – he also saddled fifth-placed Temple – had anything to do with the early fractions laid down by the favourite Abaan, and Red Knight, partnered by Irad Ortiz, was stone last as they went out on the final circuit.

Horse Race Video

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Red Knight wins the G3 William McKnight under Irad Ortiz Jr #PegasusWorldCup2023 #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #pegasusworldcupturf #Horses

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The 3-1 second-choice did his running around the turn, and although Value Engineering got a head start on him Red Knight ran him down inside the final furlong to win by a length, with the same margin back to the late-closing Wicked Fast. Abaan dropped right away, finishing ninth.

“We just missed the superfecta,” said Maker, winning his fifth McKnight, all in the last seven years. “I’m proud of them all. Red Knight loves his job and likes to go fresh.”

That’s now 32 starts for Red Knight and 11 wins, with last year’s G2 Kentucky Turf Cup taking pride of place. His next objective is likely the G2 Pan American over the same course and distance on April 1, in which he will probably be joined by either or both of Value Engineering and Wicked Fast.

McKnight Results

HorseWinPlaceShow
1. Red Knight 8.605.00   4.00
2. Value Engineering9.806.60
3. Wicked Fast14.00

Winning time: 2m 25.11s

Fred W. Hooper Stakes

G3, $150,000, 1m dirt, 4yo+

Endorsed stamps ticket at last: Endorsed, a half-brother to the celebrated dual G1 winner Cody’s Wish, finally lived up to the family name when making his stakes breakthrough – at the venerable age of seven – in the Fred W. Hooper, rallying hard to pull clear of the longshot Octane and Dean Delivers.

The old boy has come in from the wilderness in a big way, with this his second successive strike after a scarcely credible 23-race losing streak. It didn’t look likely on the far turn, with Luis Saez working hard to lift the 9-2 chance out of mid-division, but it all came together in the stretch and Endorsed ran on strongly to win going away by two and three-quarter lengths.

Octane and Dean Delivers were separated by a nose, while on a pretty rough day for chalk players the favoured Miles D was never a factor, checking in seventh.

Horse Race Video

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In the G3 Fred Hopper 2023 Endorsed gets the victory under Luis Saez #PegasusWorldCup2023 #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #pegasusworldcupturf #Horses

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“He’s lost a few tough races, and maybe now he’s figuring out how to win,” said trainer Mike Maker, for whom this was the middle leg of a Graded-stakes treble on the day.

Endorsed only took his chance in the Fred W. Hooper after he failed to get off the also-eligible list for the Pegasus World Cup, a race in which he had run fourth last year. That was just one of 17 stakes races that had eluded Endorsed before Saturday, the gelding embodying the wise advice to ‘try, try again’.

Hooper Stakes Results

HorseWinPlaceShow
1. Endorsed   11.806.404.40
2. Octane18.009.40
3. Dean Delivers6.60

Winning time: 1m 35.67s

La Prevoyante Stakes

G3, $150,000, 1m 4f turf, 4yo+ females

Personal Best raises the bar: The progressive Personal Best ran, well, a personal best when making her stakes breakthrough in the La Prevoyante, getting up in the closing stages to beat Transient and Adventuring by a neck and three-quarters of a length.

The 6-5 favorite – the only chalk to win at Graded level all afternoon – was kept away from the brisk fractions laid down by second-choice Adventuring, but the grey was always travelling sweetly in mid-pack and cruised through to deliver a challenge at the eighth pole. There was a brief tussle before she put away Transient and she was safely on top at the wire, her victory one of four on the day for jockey Irad Ortiz.

Horse Race Video

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Personal Best wins the La Prevoyante under Irad Ortiz for Shung McGaughey #PegasusWorldCup2023 #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #pegasusworldcupturf

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“She has a tendency to hang, so that’s why Irad waited with her,” said trainer Shug McGaughey. “Sometimes she’ll get there and she won’t go, but Irad did it all perfectly. I think we’ll have some fun with her as she goes along.”

Personal Best has put together a remarkably consistent resume, only out of the first three once in nine starts and that when fourth on debut. She was unraced at two and still has potential to improve, with McGaughey eyeing the G3 Orchid over the same course and distance on April 1 as the next step.

La Prevoyante Results

HorseWinPlaceShow
1. Personal Best4.603.002.20
2. Transient5.002.80
3. Adventuring2.40

Winning time: 2m 26.04s

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