City Man takes the G2 Fort Lauderdale over Decorated Invader (Coglianese)
Clement-Trained Stablemates Ran 1-2 in G2 Fort Lauderdale
Gulfstream Park Press Release
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.— Christophe Clement-trained stablemates City Man and Decorated Invader will be pointed to the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) Jan. 28 at Gulfstream Park following their respective 1-2 finish in Saturday’s $200,000 Fort Lauderdale (G2).
Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Peter and Patty Searles’ City Man got a patient ride from jockey Joel Rosario to find room inside late and surge to a 1 ½-length victory, while West Point Thoroughbreds, William Freeman, William Sandbrook and Cheryl Manning’s Decorated Invader emerged from a three-way photo to get second by a neck.
The Fort Lauderdale serves as Gulfstream’s local prep for the Pegasus Turf for 4-year-olds and up. Both races are contested at 1 1/8 miles.
“The two horses came back in good shape and looked good to me this morning,” Clement said Sunday. “We’ll speak to the owners, but the idea would be to train them for the Pegasus.”
Now 6, City Man’s win was his eighth career stakes win and third in a row following back-to-back stakes victories over fellow New York-breds at Aqueduct. He earned his first graded triumph last summer in the Forbidden Apple (G3) at Saratoga.
“He had some very good races [last] year and we just hope we can keep his form for one more race,” Clement said. “The idea is to run in the Pegasus then we’ll pull the plug, send him to Ocala and give him a break afterward.”
Co-owner Dean Reeves was excited about City Man’s performance, both as a prelude to the Pegasus and as a tribute to his sire, Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Mucho Macho Man, who Reeves also campaigned.
“We were thrilled. It’s just such a satisfying win and I’m just so proud of City Man and of course his stallion,” he said. “It’s a double win for me.”
Reeves praised both Rosario – aboard for 17 of City Man’s 26 starts including seven of his nine wins – and Team Clement for their contributions to City Man’s success.
“They do such a great job. They’ll have him ready for the Pegasus. There was always [talk about] the race in Dubai, but I think we’ll just stay right here. They’ve got the track in great shape The turf course, they’ve done a nice job with that. Right now we’ll just come on back and run in the Pegasus,” Reeves said. “Joel is just a consummate professional. His ability, he just moves your horse up. You’ve just got a heck of a shot when he’s on your horse.”
Decorated Invader had to overcome drawing the outermost post in a full field of 12 but was put into contention right away by jockey Tyler Gaffalione pressing 34-1 long shot pacesetter Winfromwithin and still there at the end.
It was the fourth race this year for the 6-year-old Decorated Invader since coming back Sept. 24 at Pimlico after 16 months between starts. He won the 2019 Summer (G1) at Woodbine as a juvenile in his stakes debut and won three more stakes in 2020 – the Cutler Bay at Gulfstream, Pennine Ridge (G2) at Belmont Park and National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2) at Saratoga.
“I thought he ran very well because he had the terrible post. It was very encouraging. Let’s not forget he was a very nice 2-year-old. It took me a while to get his form back but I loved the race yesterday,” Clement said. “As long as both horses are doing well and training well, hopefully we’ll be able to run them in the Pegasus.”
The Fort Lauderdale was just the third time Decorated Invader had gone as far as 1 1/8 miles, also the distance of his Hall of Fame victory.
“Everybody is just thrilled. It was a tough post, but we just couldn’t be happier with the ride Tyler gave him and the fight he showed down the lane, because they went pretty quick,” said West Point executive vice president Tom Bellhouse. “It was really the dynamic of being forwardly placed and his tactical speed. It’s an element I think he’s always had but he always had such a powerful kick that he just kind of did his own thing before.
“I think everybody was thrilled with the way he ran and I think that dynamic will keep him competitive in a lot of big races,” he added. “We always thought all along that if we could compete at a high level in the Fort Lauderdale that the Pegasus would be on the horizon.”
Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher said following the Fort Lauderdale that he would train sixth-place finisher Colonel Liam with the Pegasus Turf in mind. Colonel Liam won the Pegasus Turf in 2021 and 2022, and the race Saturday was his first since running ninth in the Dubai Turf last March.