D. J. Stable Look to Win Pegasus Turf With Webslinger

January 23, 2024

Webslinger captures the Audubon June 3, 2023, at Churchill Downs (Jenny Doyle/Past The Wire)

David Joseph/Gulfstream Park

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.— On its own or in a partnership, D. J. Stable has campaigned 10 graded-stakes winners since 2000, including three millionaires and three Grade 1 winners, and has been represented in two Classics and a year-end champion.

One thing the father and son team of Leonard and Jonathan Green haven’t done in that time is win a Grade 1 on the grass, an achievement they’ll try to cross off their list with Webslinger in Saturday’s $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park.

Webslinger, bred by Ken and Sarah Ramsey and purchased for just $50,000 as a 2-year-old in training in 2022, represents the Greens’ first foray into a Pegasus World Cup day program that also features the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) presented by Baccarat and $500,000 TAA Pegasus Filly & Mare Turf (G2).

“We’ve never even campaigned in any of the Pegasus races. When we got the invite, we thought about it for all of five seconds because it is a race that is on our bucket list and we feel like we finally have the right horse to compete and to represent our silks,” Jonathan Green said.

“We’re excited about it. I honestly think that the turf race is coming up a little tougher,” he added. “Maybe I’m being biased, but it’s going to be a great card, and it sounds like things are setting up perfectly for Gulfstream and hopefully for us.”

A 4-year-old son of Constitution, winner of the 2014 Florida Derby (G1) and 2015 Donn Handicap (G1) at Gulfstream – the latter the forerunner to the Pegasus World Cup – Webslinger has been third or better in eight of 10 career starts with four wins and $1,115,320 in purse earnings.

Webslinger broke his maiden in the 2022 Nownownow at Monmouth Park, his third start and second on the grass, ending his 2-year-old season beaten four lengths at odds of 27-1 when 11th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1).

Last year Webslinger put together a 3-3-2 record from nine starts, winning the 1 1/16-mile American Turf (G2) on the Kentucky Derby (G1) undercard and 1 1/8-mile Audubon, both at Churchill Downs. He placed in five other stakes, including seconds in the Saratoga Derby Invitational (G1) and Hollywood Derby (G1) and thirds in the Twilight Derby (G2) and Transylvania (G3), beaten a total of three lengths. He also ran fourth by 1 ½ lengths in the Belmont Derby (G1).

Webslinger wins the American Turf (G2) May 6, 2023, at Churchill Downs (Via @TwinSpires on Twitter)

“There’s no way you can expect a horse to break his maiden in a stakes race and then expect him to be in Grade 1 competition throughout his entire 3-year-old year,” Green said. “We weren’t surprised that he won [first time out] but we were impressed with the race that he put in. That really springboarded him through his 3-year-old campaign.”

Webslinger is the latest success story for D. J. Stable, whose top horses include millionaires Jaywalk, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2018 campaigned with Cash is King, and 2022 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner Wonder Wheel; and Songandaprayer, who captured the 2001 Fountain of Youth (G1) at Gulfstream and ran 13th in the Kentucky Derby.

D. J. Stable also went to the Derby with Grade 2 winner Helium, who was eighth in 2021, and finished seventh in the 2018 Preakness (G1) with Diamond King, a stakes winner at both 2 and 3 at Laurel Park.

Trained by Hall of Famer Mark Casse, Webslinger drew Post 5 in a field of 12 for the Pegasus Turf and will be ridden for the first time by Gulfstream regular Edgard Zayas. They are listed at 15-1 on a morning line topped by multiple Grade 1-winning Irish filly Warm Heart (9-5) and multiple graded-stakes winner Integration (3-1), undefeated in three starts.

“The one thing I can say about Webslinger is, on the good side, he tries every time. On the bad side, he’s got a really difficult running style,” Green said. “He doesn’t really start to get into motion until a half-mile into the race, so you have to hope for the seas to part and for him to have an opening. I think that he’s learning how to be a little closer and he’s maturing as a horse. That’s why we gave him a quick turnaround time, because we just wanted to continue to build on that success.”

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