Hall of Fame Trainer Bill Mott has two chances to win Saturday’s inaugural running of the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) with Yoshida and Channel Maker.
Yoshida, the 5-2 morning line favorite, is a rare Grade 1 winner on both turf and dirt. He comes into the Pegasus off a fourth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) behind Accelerate, the favorite in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup (G1). Channel Maker, a Grade 1 winner on turf, comes into Saturday’s race off a disappointing 11th place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) over a good course.
Gulfstream host and analyst Acacia Courtney recently visited Mott at the Payson Park Thoroughbred Training Center to talk about Yoshida, Channel Maker and the Pegasus World Cup.
Video Interview: click here to watch.
Trainer John Sadler (Accelerate, PP #5, 9-5): “It’s a good post. We didn’t want to be on the outside and we didn’t want to be on the inside. We were hoping for 5 or 6, so we’re very happy with the draw. He has a style that doesn’t get in trouble, typically. Hopefully, he gets away good and gets a good trip from there.”
Trainer Mike McCarthy (City of Light, PP #3, 5-2): “I’m very pleased to be drawn into the three-hole. It got down to the wire there with the three or the 12, so we were obviously very grateful to have the three-hole. He’s a horse that carries his speed a long way, so hopefully we get a nice, clean break and find ourselves in a good position going into the first turn and turning up the backside.”
“Very pleased with the way he’s settled in. I was happy with the way he got over the racetrack Saturday morning. I thought his work was dynamite. He came out of it well and seems to be enjoying himself here. I don’t know if a horse could have come into a race better than he did coming into the Breeders’ Cup. Obviously, 10 or 11 weeks between races certainly seems to me like he is holding his form. Very pleased with what I’ve seen so far.”
Trainer Antonio Sano (Gunnevera, PP #8, 8-1): “I like the post. He’s not outside or inside. He’s close to the middle, so it’s good. The horse comes from the back, so we hope to have a good pace.”
Co-Owner Elliott Walden, WinStar Farm (Audible, PP #10, 10-1): “It’s not ideal, but it’s not a killer, either. Gun Runner won out of it last year. I think it’s fine. I didn’t really want the 12 but, other than that, everything else seems to be OK. A little further out than we wanted, but there’s some pluses to that, as well. You get a clean break and he’s tactical, so we’ll see where he puts himself and go from there.”
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas (Bravazo, PP #1, 12-1): “We have to take care of the things we can control and that’s something we can’t control, so we just leave it alone. Here, I think with this field and everything, the way it shook out I don’t think it’s all that bad. It’s a short run to the turn. We’ve got good gate speed. I don’t know that it’s that big a disadvantage. Normally, I wouldn’t like it. I wouldn’t like it in the Derby or the Preakness or a race like that, but it might not fit too badly here.”
Trainer Jose Corrales (Something Awesome, PP #2, 20-1): “I think it’s OK. You wish to be in the middle, but it’s very difficult to get what you want. It’s not the best position that you can get at that distance, but I go in with a rider that’s won all kinds of races. When you have a rider like him, he knows what to do. They have to break and they have enough time before the first turn to make a decision where he wants to be. He’s a horse that you can put anywhere. I think he’s going to perform well. I go in with a good feeling that they have to run to beat him, because he’s going to compete. It’s not easy, but if everything was easy everybody would win the Pegasus.”
Owner Ron Paolucci (Imperative, PP #11, 30-1): “Most people wouldn’t be happy with 11, but I was happy with 11. Imperative is not a horse that likes to be down inside or in between horses. Every race that he has ever run that is a big race, he’s been outside of horses. I was worried with as much speed in the race if he drew inside they would come down on him with the quick run to the first turn. We got three horses that don’t have a lot of speed directly inside of us and a fast horse on the outside of us. I think that will allow us to come out and set our own tempo and maybe lay fifth or sixth, right off the speed. We should get a clean trip from out there.”
Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) Post-Position Draw Quotes
Co-Owner Elliott Walden, WinStar Farm (Yoshida, PP #2, 5-2): “We’re happy with that. I always like saving ground, especially on the turf, and we’ll go from there. I always like to be the favorite, because it feels like you’re in the right spot if you’re the favorite. It doesn’t mean he’s going to win but it means he’s in with a big chance. I think he’s training extremely well. Couldn’t be happier with the way he’s done since the Breeders’ Cup. He’s so versatile, he runs on the dirt and runs on the turf. That’s a real plus for him.”
Trainer John Sadler (Catapult, PP #9, 7-2): “Catapult drew on the outside, but that’s not a bad draw from him. He’s a turf horse at a long distance that settles and then puts his run in.”
Trainer Takanori Kikuzawa, through interpreter Kate Hunter, Pegasus World Cup field representative for the Japan Racing Association (Aerolithe, PP #4, 8-1): “Since Yoshida and Magic Wand are on the inside of her, the post-position will be good because she’s on the outside of them. She’ll go forward more likely at the beginning of the race, so I’m very happy with the post position.”
Co-owner Michael Iavarone (Next Shares, PP #5, 15-1): “I think it is great. I don’t think it was that incredibly important to us. I didn’t want to be all the way on the outside. But I think it ended up being really, really good. Speed is outside of us, so I don’t think we are going to be trapped on the rail.”
Owner Ron Paolucci (Dubby Dubbie, PP #10, 30-1): “I love the post. The filly coming from California [Fahan Mura] is very fast. My horse has blinkers and he’s a little keyed up sometimes and if a horse was to go by him on the outside and come over, he might try to go after him. Whereas with this post we can kind of relax and let [Fahan Mara] do her thing and act like she isn’t in the race.”