National Treasure on Track To Give Baffert 3rd Pegasus Win

January 24, 2024

National Treasures captures the Preakness (G1) over Blazing Sevens (Maryland Jockey Club)

David Joseph/Gulfstream Park

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.— Preakness Stakes (G1) winner National Treasure arrived at Gulfstream Park from Southern California Wednesday evening to prepare for a start in Saturday’s $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) under the supervision of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s longtime assistant Jimmy Barnes.

National Treasure has been installed as the 9-5 morning-line favorite in a field of 12 older horses in the headliner of a 13-race program that will also feature the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), the $500,000 Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf Invitational (G2), and four other graded stakes.

National Treasure, who captured the 2023 Preakness in front-running fashion, came up just a nose short achieving a front-running triumph last time out in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Santa Anita, having to settle for second behind Cody’s Wish. The 4-year-old son of Quality Road will seek to give Baffert his third Pegasus World Cup win, following in the hoofprints of Arrogate (2017) and Mucho Gusto (2020).

Baffert has been one of the most enthusiastic, as well as successful, supporters of the Pegasus World Cup, in which he has been represented by two winners and two second-place finishers.

“Gulfstream, the Stronach Group, the 1/ST group, they put on a great show. It’s developing,” he said. “You’ve got that, you’ve got the Triple Crown series, the Breeders’ Cup. It’s good to have something like this to kick it off.

“Gulfstream has done a good job the way it’s marketed. it’s a good day and it’s fun. I remember going down there. I got beat, I ran second, but Post Malone was there. It’s always been a great party, a good atmosphere, making racing cool,” Baffert added. “It’s a cool sport. I think that’s what they’re trying to get across, and it is. It’s our time to shine down there in Florida.”

Baffert also credited the Pegasus World Cup as a ‘stallion maker’ while keeping older horses like National Treasure in training longer.

“I think he’s getting better, and you’re supposed to wait until they’re four, but unfortunately a lot of the good horses had to retire because they are so valuable. When they’re four, you’re going to have a big, stronger horse, a better horse,” Baffert said. “I think he’s the only one left that ran in those [Triple Crown] series. But he’s getting better. We’ve taken our time. We’ve spotted him right. I’ve let him really mature on his own. This is a perfect scenario for him, a perfect spot to come back.”

National Treasure will break from the No. 7 post position under Flavien Prat.

@jonathanstettin Your article re reading when a horse dead on board made me some $ just now. Untapable was, IMO, odds-on, but dead. TY!

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