Pegasus: Proxy, Simplification, Double Crown Among Early Hopefuls For $3 Million Race - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
Closex

Pegasus: Proxy, Simplification, Double Crown Among Early Hopefuls For $3 Million Race

November 01, 2022: Simplification, trained by Antonio Sano, exercises in preparation for the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky on November 01, 2022. Candice Chavez/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup

Trainer Michael Stidham believes the “obvious spot” for Grade 1 Clark winner Proxy to make his next start would be Gulfstream's $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) Jan. 28, reports the Daily Racing Form.

“It's good timing at the end of January, and if he were to run well it's good timing to the Dubai World Cup,” Stidham told DRF of the homebred Godolphin-owned 4-year-old by Tapit.

The seventh running of the 1 1/8-mile event for 3-year-olds and up is the richest of seven graded-stakes worth $5.2 million in purses on the World Cup program that includes the $1 million Turf Invitational (G1) and $500,000 Filly & Mare Turf Invitational (G3).

Trainer Antonio Sano is also optimistic about the winter season at Gulfstream Park, and a big part of it could be Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2) winner Simplification.

Owned by Tami Bobo and Tristan De Meric, Simplification was back on the work tab last week for the first time since finishing seventh Nov. 5 in the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1). The 3-year-old son of Not This Time, third in the Florida Derby (G1) and fourth in the Kentucky Derby (G1), is doing well, Sano said, and is being trained for a winter campaign at Gulfstream.

“He worked well, and the plan is to go [Dec. 31] in the Harlan's Holiday (G3),” said Sano, referring to the 1 1/16-mile event that has been used as a prep for the Pegasus. “He came out of the Breeders' Cup perfect. I was happy with the way he ran. We're going to see what happens in the Harlan's Holiday and after December we will think about Pegasus.”

Norman 'Lynn' Cash and Lola Cash's Double Crown, a two-time stakes winner at Gulfstream Park in the summer of 2020, could be headed for a return to South Florida for the Pegasus, as well.

Also trained by Lynn Cash, Double Crown most recently upset the one-mile Kelso (G2) at odds of 42-1 Oct. 29 during the Belmont Park at Aqueduct meet, just seven days after finishing fourth in the Maryland Million Classic at Laurel Park. The 5-year-old Bourbon Courage gelding is entered in Saturday's Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct.

“If the invite comes, absolutely, we're there,” Cash said. “I would love that invite to come our way.”

Bred in Maryland, Double Crown won his career debut in a September 2019 maiden special weight for trainer Lacey Gaudet at Laurel. Following the race, he was purchased privately by Dean Reeves and sent to Kathy Ritvo at Gulfstream, where he won the 2020 Roar and Carry Back and was third in the Smile Sprint (G3) in successive starts.

On behalf of his family's Built Wright Stables, Cash claimed Double Crown for $40,000 out of a runner-up finish June 4 at Churchill Downs. He has won two of six starts since, including his 1 ¾-length triumph over favored Baby Yoda in the Kelso.

“It didn't just shock the world, it shocked me, too,” Cash said. “My wife and I weren't there. Her uncle had passed, so we were in Utah at a funeral. The funeral service finished, and we got to the car and got it pulled up, and they were a minute out from loading.

“My wife had no idea the level of race it was. After he won and she's watching the replay and hearing the announcer she was like, 'Oh my gosh, it's a Grade 2,' so she really went wild right there I the parking lot. Everybody probably thought we were crazy. We were jumping and fist pumping and everything else.”

Cash said his familiarity with Bourbon Courage, a Grade 2-winning millionaire raced from 2012-15 by Bourbon Lane Stable, led to him putting in a slip to claim Double Crown.

“The first horses that I bought back in 2011 or 2012, my bloodstock agent was Mike McMahon of Bourbon Lane Stables,” he said. “I was very familiar with Bourbon Courage. I followed him intently as I was just getting in the business as an owner. I followed his career pretty closely, and Double Crown being his offspring is pretty cool.”

Overall, Double Crown has six wins, eight seconds and a third with $548,265 in purse earnings from 24 lifetime starts.

“I describe him like this: he gives you the same 100, 102, 98 [speed figure] output every time,” Cash said. “He's a measuring stick to where if a race falls below that measuring stick he's going to win; if it falls above it, he's going to be right there.”

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