Gunnevera Prepares for $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park
Margoth’s Gunnevera continued to step up his preparation for the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park Jan. 27, breezing five furlongs in a sharp 1:00 at Gulfstream Park West Saturday morning.
The multiple graded-stakes winner turned in the fastest clocking of 23 recorded at the distance while being ridden for the first time by jockey Luis Saez.
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“He worked pretty nice. He’s a very nice horse. He’s doing perfect,” Saez said. “He switched leads and did everything very good, so I think he’s ready for the race.”
Trainer Antonio Sano said he made the final decision to name Saez to ride Gunnevera for the first time in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational.
Saez, currently atop the jockey standings at Gulfstream in a quest to defend his Championship Meet title, said he’s looking forward to participating in the world’s richest race aboard Gunnevera.
“I’ve seen him all the time when he’s been running and I know how he likes to run, so we’ll see what happens,” Saez said. “It’s exciting.”
Working in company with Contormar, Gunnevera took a narrow advantage on the far turn without encouragement. Leaving the turn into the homestretch, Saez shook his reins and the 4-year-old son of Dialed In drew away from his workmate by open lengths to the wire and galloped out well.
“He galloped out in 1:14 and a fraction. The jockey, Saez, liked the horse very well,” Sano said. “It was a very good work.”
The bullet breeze was Gunnevera’s seventh workout since finishing in a dead-heat for fifth with 2017 Pegasus World Cup Invitational winner Arrogate in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Del Mar Nov. 4.
Gunnevera, who broke his maiden and won the 2017 Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream, will race in the Pegasus World Cup for stakeholders Salomon Del-Vallee, William Gallo and Belle Inizio Farm.
Leavem in Malibu Possible Candidate for Pegasus World Cup
Possible to join the Pegasus lineup is Gary Barber and Conrad Farms’ Leavem in Malibu, a 5-year-old son of Malibu Moon that won the 1 ¾-mile Valedictory Stakes (G3) over Woodbine’s all-weather surface Dec. 10 for his second straight win to cap his 2017 campaign.
Trainer Mark Casse said Saturday a decision on the Pegasus will come after Leavem in Malibu breezes Monday morning at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County. His most recent work came over the dirt Dec. 27 at Casse’s training center in Ocala, a four-furlong move in 48.60 seconds.
Leavem in Malibu owns four wins, two seconds and four thirds from 12 career starts, 11 of them at Woodbine. His lone try on dirt came when he was runner-up in 1 3/16-mile Prince of Wales Stakes, the second leg of Canada’s Triple Crown, in 2016.