Heart Melted. Warm Heart Beats Boys in Grade 1 Pegasus WC Turf

January 27, 2024

Champion jockey Ryan Moore finds a loops and threads right up the rail to take Warm Heart (IRE) to the victory in the Grade 1 $1 Million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational. (Coglianese Photo)

By Maribeth Kalinich

Having one U.S start under her belt for trainer Aidan O’Brien, a second place in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf last November, the Irish bred daughter of the great Galileo, Warm Heart, took the boys to task today in the Grade 1 $1 Million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational.

“We’re absolutely delighted. It’s incredible. Ryan [Moore] obviously gave her an incredible ride and everybody has done such an incredible job. We’re just so delighted for everyone and for her to go off now to Justify is just so exciting. She’s absolutely made for him,” said O’Brien. 

A good start for the field with Jerry the Nipper going to the lead on the rail. The two favorites in good shape, Integration hyped as the favorite and cleanly broke from gat three into second position on the rail. Warm Heat three wide moved up between horse two off the leader as Jerry the Nipper on lead with on lap to go 

From post 13 Catnip rallied up from behind around the field three wide. Warm Heart was now third, angled over to the two path. From the outside around the turn, it was Catnip marching forward under Dettori.

Adhamo was between horses as now three deep was Shirl’s Speight, only three lengths off.  

Master Piece was second to last, trailing was webslinger as they chase the speed of Main Event who had moved into the lead with Javier Castellano as Jerry the Nipper was now second. 

Ryan Moore was delighted with his spot with Warm Heart tracking the top two. Back fourth and wide was Catnip, then Integration, then Adamo. I’m Very Busy stays parked on the inside, Shirl’s Speight on the outside Toward the back of the field was Webslinger as they make their way by a half in 46.04.

With a quick pace Main Event did things his own way still on the lead, Jerry the Nipper second. Warm Heart now has a decision to make, where will she race from here? 

At the top of the stretch Castellano and Main Event still going strong on the rail, Warm Heart needed a way out. Integration trying to work to the clear. Catnip trying to shut the door with an eight of a mile to go.

Eyeing the loop of the needle, Champion jockey Ryan Moore threads right up the rail. I’m Very busy charged late but it was all Warm Heart at the wire by half a length completing the 1-1/8 mile in 1:44.02 setting a new track record.

“(Warm Heart) broke smart, and she was able to put herself in that spot, and I was always happy. “The leader, he was always leaning out, and he was weakening, and I knew I had plenty of horse, so no problem. I was happy to wait,” remarked Moore.

Fractions: :23.47, :46.86, 1:09.55, 1:32.88.

Order of finish: Warm Heart, I’m Very Busy, Catnip, Atone, Integration, Webslinger, Kingmax, Shirl’s Speight, Jerry the Nipper, Adhamo, Main Event, Master Piece. Grand Sonata and Anglophile were both scratched.

Warm Heart rewarded her faithful with $6.80. I’m Very Busy paid $12.60 and 7.20 for place Catnip gave punters a nice $13.20 for third creating a tidy trifecta paying $417.45.

Prior to her Breeders’ Cup start Warm Heart had won two Group 1 races: the Qatar Prix Vermeille at Longchamps and the Pertemps Network Yorkshire Oaks at York. 

After kicking off her sophomore year with a second place, the bay filly broke her maiden, both at Leopardstoen, and proceeded to rack up two victories in stakes. The Haras De Bouquetot Fillies Trial Stakes at Newbury and her first Group 2 at Ascot in the Ribblesdale. 

Owned by Mrs. John Magnier Westerberg, Derrick Smith and Michael B. Tabor, Warm Heart was bred at Coolmore out of the Fastnet Rock (AUS) mare Sea Siren (AUS). 

With 10 career starts, the 4-year-old now has six wins hitting the board also at second twice with one third, her 3-year-old closer in the Longines Hong Kong Vase (Gr1) at Sha Tin. 

TRAINER QUOTES

Aidan O’Brien (Warm Heart, 1st): “We’re absolutely delighted. It’s incredible. Ryan [Moore] obviously gave her an incredible ride and everybody has done such an incredible job. We’re just so delighted for everyone and for her to go off now to Justify is just so exciting. She’s absolutely made for him.”

“Ryan gave her an incredible ride. He was always very anxious that she went there for that race. We enjoyed watching it. It looks like an incredible day. I wish I was there.”

“He’s an incredible professional rider, the way he does everything, the way he analyzes everything. His fitness and his experience are incredible. We’re just so lucky to have him. He sums up everything so well. Incredibly hard on himself, he doesn’t forgive himself for anything, but I think that’s what makes him the rider he is. Every year he’s getting better, which is incredible.”

“She’s an incredible filly. Ryan said it just didn’t work for her the last race, but she’s tactical, she’s tough and she quickens. She doesn’t do an awful lot when she gets there but that’s the way she’s always been. She’s very classy and very hardy, loves the fast ground, fast track. She’s incredible. We’d love to have her and to be racing her, but the lad’s business is breeding these horses and she’s an absolutely incredible broodmare to be going to Justify, who looks probably the most incredible stallion that ever was based on what he’s done so far. It’s so exciting, really.”

“She’s won two other Group 1s here [in Europe] and big ones, as well. She’s shown everything. She’s tough, she’s durable, she travels, she’s sound. I don’t think you can ask for anything more from a filly. She’s strong, she handles all types of ground, she’s tactical and she’s tough. I’m just so delighted watching it all. The atmosphere is there, and I’m delighted for everybody. We feel very privileged to be part of her story.”

Chad Brown (I’m Very Busy, 2nd): “I’m just really pleased with his effort. I thought he got a really good trip. Our goal was to follow one of the live horses. Drawn next to Integration, that was the horse to follow and Irad executed it perfectly. He had to pause just momentarily in the stretch to wait for a seam and it might have cost him the win there. We’re very proud of the win there.”

JOCKEY QUOTES

Ryan Moore (Warm Heart, 1st): “She’s always traveling very comfortably. I didn’t want to be there too early, and I didn’t want to be tipping out into the straight, and I thought I’d rather just wait. She’s a great filly. She’s had an incredible year. She hasn’t had a bad race.

“The leader, he was always leaning out, and he was weakening, and I knew I had plenty of horse, so no problem. I was happy to wait.”

“This is the second day I’ve ridden here. I’ve ridden plenty of places now, so it would be a poor excuse if I had lost.”

“She broke smart, and she was able to put herself in that spot, and I was always happy.”

Irad Ortiz Jr. (I’m Very Busy, 2nd): “Perfect trip, what can I say? I had a beautiful trip. He just cut the corner and when he cut the corner that was the key move. He was brilliant when he cut the corner. Ryan is a master at what he does and he’s a champion. He cut the corner and he got me right there, but I’m happy with my horse.”

Frankie Dettori (Catnip, 3rd): “He was very good to me. I had good position in fourth. I had to use a bit of energy to get into position. At the top of the lane I thought I’d win. He ran a super race. With a better post, it could have been a different story.”

Oisin Murphy (Atone, 4th): “He had a very good trip inside. I managed to get on the back of Ryan [Moore] turning into the stretch. He finished very well. For a big outsider, it was great to see him back with such a great performance.”

Tyler Gaffalione (Integration, 5th): “Just not the cleanest trip into the stretch.”

David Egan (Kingmax, 7th): “I felt the pace was a lot quicker today than it was in the Fort Lauderdale and it told. I was going as quick as I could most of the way. With the pace I needed to make my move, I had to go a little wide and it took its toll against top-class horses, but he will have his day.”

Contributing Authors

MariBeth Kalinich, Senior Editor, Past the Wire

Maribeth Kalinich, Senior Editor, Graphic Designer

Maribeth Kalinich grew up in a family with a love for horses, a passion for Thoroughbred horse racing and a taste for playing the ponies....

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