City of Light Wins the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1)

City of Light Wins the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1)

Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren Jr.’s City of Light concluded his racing career in electric fashion Saturday at Gulfstream Park, scoring a brilliant 5 ¾-length triumph in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1).

The third edition of the Pegasus World Cup, the richest race in North America, co-headlined Saturday’s 12-race program with the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), North America’s richest turf race won by Bricks and Mortar.

The $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series was offered in concert with world-class entertainment provided by Snoop Dogg and Golden Globe-winning artist Mark Ronson at Gulfstream’s Pegasus LIV Stretch Village,

Having split his first two meetings with Accelerate, City of Light got the better of Saturday’s 3-2 favorite in their final showdown before both multiple Grade 1 winners head off to Lane’s End Farm in Versailles, KY to begin their new careers as stallions.

Sent to post as the 9-5 second betting choice in a field of 12, City of Light stalked the pace set by Patternrecognition around the first turn and along the backstretch past fractions of 23.23 and 46.84 seconds for the first half-mile. The Michael McCarthy-trained 5-year-old inherited the lead on the far turn when Patternrecognition dropped back and opened a clear lead on the turn into the homestretch, where Joel Rosario put Accelerate into a full drive after tracking City of Light throughout the running of the race. Set down for the drive by Javier Castellano entering the stretch, City of Light responded to draw away with compete authority.

“I had a perfect trip.  That’s what I was looking for today. I know Patternrecognition on the outside has speed. I had to use him a little bit early to get the positon I was looking for. Watching all the races, speed was holding pretty good. The track is in good condition. We got a lot of rain, nothing we can do. I think it worked out perfect,” said Castellano, who rode City of Light in a 2 ¾-length triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs. “I used the horse a little bit to get my spot, and then tried to control the race all the way. This is just amazing. It’s what we all want, to be able to win a race like this.”

Charles Fipke’s Seeking the Soul, who finished second behind City of Light in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, rallied from off the pace along the rail to finish second again behind the McCarthy trainee.
“He ran great. Nice horse, a great horse that beat us. He [jockey John Velazquez] said he got stopped on the turn; that might have cost us a little bit,” Seeking the Soul’s trainer Dallas Stewart said. “It would have been great to have been first, but our horse ran great. I’m very proud of him.”

City of Light ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.71 over a sloppy track to conclude his career with his sixth victory and fourth Grade 1 success in 11 starts. 

“It’s just wonderful. When he broke well and was able to kind of ease out outside of horses coming to the mile pole, I was very, very happy. Turning up the backside, Javier eased him off the fence. It looked like everybody was content with their position up the backside,” McCarthy said. “When Javier started moving at the half-mile pole, it didn’t appear that anybody was really pressuring him. He was able to go ahead and hold off his run for a little bit. Once he switched leads coming into the lane, you saw what happened. It was over. I’m very happy for the horse. He’s an amazing animal, an amazing athlete.”

Accelerate finished third, another 1 ½ lengths back and 4 ¾ lengths ahead of Bravazo. John Sadler-trained Accelerate, who earned the Eclipse Award as 2018’s outstanding older dirt male Thursday evening at Gulfstream, entered the Pegasus on a streak of four Grade 1 stakes wins, including a victory in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) last time out.

“This horse you have to ride him the whole time, and he was comfortable. I thought he was fine where he was and turning for home he looked OK, but Javier had so much horse,” Rosario said. When he turned him loose he just went on. My horse kept trying but the horse in front had a better trip.”

Audible finished fifth, followed by Gunnevera, True Timber, Imperative, Tom’s d’Etat, Something Awesome, Kukulkan and Patternrecognition.

TRAINER QUOTES

Michael McCarthy (City of Light, 1st): “It’s just wonderful. When he broke well and was able to kind of ease out outside of horses coming to the mile pole, I was very, very happy. Turning up the backside, Javier eased him off the fence. It looked like everybody was content with their position up the backside. When Javier started moving at the half-mile pole, it didn’t appear that anybody was really pressuring him. He was able to go ahead and hold off his run for a little bit. One he switched leads coming into the lane, you saw what happened. It was over. I’m very happy for the horse. He’s an amazing animal, an amazing athlete.”

Dallas Stewart (Seeking the Soul, 2nd): “He ran great. Nice horse, a great horse that beat us. He said he got stopped on the turn; that might have cost us a little bit. It would have been great to have been first, but our horse ran great. I’m very proud of him.”

John Sadler (Accelerate, 3rd): “We thought he ran a really good race. It was tough conditions out there today. You saw most of the winners on the dirt all day were in front so he’s not really a speed horse per say. The winner ran a beautiful race, you have to give him credit. He was the better horse today. But our horse certainly didn’t disgrace himself. We’re headed out to dinner with our heads high.”

(On Watching City of Light’s trip): “He (City of Light) was outside of a horse who couldn’t get the distance. That other speed horse couldn’t go that far so he was able to kind of cruise out there. We were kind of down in between some mud and dirt. I think [Accelerate] put in a good effort.”

(On What Accelerate Has Meant to the Barn): “He’s been a tremendous horse. He’s a champion, an Eclipse Award winner. We’re just thrilled with the whole package. Today wasn’t our day to get the last one but he ran well and we’re really proud of him.”

Todd Pletcher (Audible, 5th): “I thought he handled the surface fine. We didn’t get the position we were hoping for in the first turn but I was happy that he kept trying to the wire.”

Kiaran McLaughlin (True Timber, 7th): “We ran wide and outrun. Can’t say much else. This was a tough race.”

OWNER QUOTES

Charles Fipke (Seeking the Soul, 2nd): “He’s a mile and a quarter horse, and he got blocked. He was coming on. But still, a mile and a quarter, he’ll have a good chance winning the Dubai World Cup.”

JOCKEY QUOTES

Javier Castellano (City of Light, 1st): “I had a perfect trip.  That’s what I was looking for today. I know Patternrecognition on the outside has speed. I had to use him a little bit early to get the positon I was looking for. Watching all the races, speed was holding pretty good. The track is in good condition. We got a lot of rain, nothing we can do. I think it worked out perfect. I used the horse a little bit to get my spot, and then tried to control the race all the way. This is just amazing. It’s what we all want, to be able to win a race like this.”

John Velazquez (Seeking the Soul, 2nd): “He ran good, I wish I had a better trip going through the three eighths pole. When Jose Ortiz stopped, everybody gathered up at the same time, so I had to steady there, go to the outside, come back to the inside again and he still ran a good race. It’s just a shame we didn’t have the best trip.”

Joel Rosario (Accelerate, 3rd): “He was traveling really well. He’s the kind of horse you have to keep riding and…the winner, he had a lot of horse today. It looked like it was easy for the winner.

“He was (handling the track). He was responding really good. He’s a horse you have to ride him a little bit and then he gives it to you. But the winner, after he took off again, he ran a big race. Turning for home he was in hand (City of Light) and I was just riding my horse. He was the best today.”

Irad Ortiz Jr. (Gunnevera, 6th): “I don’t think I had the right trip. I felt so sorry for him because he wanted to run today. But I didn’t really get him in the right place at the right time. I had to check a bit, and I think it cost me a lot. Probably I don’t win the race, but I’d have had a better position.”

Joe Bravo (True Timber, 7th): “I’m so proud of the whole Kiaran McLaughlin team. He came over here feeling like a beast. He ran a big race and we’ll get them next time.”

Tyler Gaffalione (Imperative, 8th): “I had a good trip, just came from behind – pretty smooth. We were just a notch below these horses today, but he put in a big effort and great job by the team having him ready.”

Shaun Bridgmohan (Tom’s d’Etat, 9th): “Thought I had a perfect trip right off the speed, he was laying third. Whenever Tom’s d’Etat travels he’s always pulling, I think he’s spun his wheels a bit.”

Frankie Dettori: (Kukulkan, 11th): “He jumped good, but didn’t have the speed to keep up with the pace and we started to get the kick back and it was all over.”

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S. Jack Heffernan Ph.D. Funds Manager at HEFFX holds a Ph.D. in Economics and brings with him over 25 years of trading experience in Asia and hands on experience in Venture Capital, he has been involved in several start ups that have seen market capitalization over $500m and 1 that reach a peak market cap of $15b. He has managed and overseen start ups in Mining, Shipping, Technology and Financial Services.

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