Defending Champ to be Bred to Uncle Mo Following Sprint Stakes
Among Seven Graded-Stakes Worth $5.2 Million in Purses Saturday
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Emotions ran high after last year’s $200,000 Inside Information (G2) at Gulfstream Park, when durable mare Pacific Gale ended a 17-race losing streak with her first graded triumph for the widow of one of trainer John Kimmel’s longest clients, who passed away just a month before.
It could be a similarly emotional afternoon Saturday when the 7-year-old Pacific Gale returns to Gulfstream with a chance to defend her title in what will be the final start of a long and successful career.
The 43rd running of the seven-furlong Inside Information for fillies and mares 4 and older is among seven graded-stakes worth $5.2 million in purses on a blockbuster 12-race Pegasus World Cup Invitational Series program featuring the $3 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) presented by 1/ST BET on dirt, $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) presented by Baccarat and inaugural $500,000 TAA Pegasus Filly & Mare Turf (G3) presented by PEPSI. First race post time is 11:30 a.m. EST. NBC will provide live national coverage from 4:30 to 6 p.m. EST.
Kimmel said Holly Hill Stables’ Pacific Gale will be bred to champion Uncle Mo following the Inside Information, a race she won by 2 ¾ lengths at odds of 16-1 last winter after finishing sixth in 2019. Pacific Gale was booked to Not This Time for 2021, but was doing so well that Kimmel convinced the late Mike Morton’s widow, Tobey, to give her another try.
“The owner had passed away and she hadn’t won a race in two years at that point. I was very close with Mr, Morton and he had died in December. His wife was basically looking to disperse all the holdings and I’ve basically done it,” Kimmel said. “I told her it would take me about a year. He had like 30 horses and that’s how long it took me to get it done.”
Pacific Gale was sold after the Inside Information to Holly Hill, and she paid immediate dividends by winning Gulfstream’s Hurricane Bertie (G3) in her subsequent start – the first time she had ever won back-to-back races.
“We sold her to these new clients and she won for them first time out in the Hurricane Bertie. She’s been running for them all year and she’s got a date with Uncle Mo this winter,” Kimmel said. “This will be her last start. I’ve had her since she was 2.”
Pacific Gale has gone winless in five tries since the Hurricane Bertie, beaten 2 ¼ lengths when third to Victim of Love after a belated start in the Vagrancy (G3) last May at Belmont Park, and four lengths when second to Chub Wagon in the Roamin Rachel last fall at Parx. Most recently, she finished fifth in the Oct. 21 Floral Park at Belmont.
“I think she’s doing well. We gave her a little freshening at the end of the fall and she went to the farm. I think she was there for six weeks or eight weeks. They started breezing her and got a couple breezes into her and sent her in to me and I’ve given her four breezes now,” Kimmel said. “I think she’s ready to go. For an older mare, she likes that racetrack. She’s run very well at Gulfstream. We’ll be looking forward to the engagement.”
Overall, Pacific Gale has five wins, seven seconds and six thirds with $651,160 in purse earnings and six other graded-stakes placings. Junior Alvarado is named to ride from Post 6 in a field of 10.
“She’s just a class act. She’s really a kind hose to be around. Some owners bring their little kids around and she’ll come up and nuzzle them. She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body,” Kimmel said. “Any horse that’s stayed healthy for that many campaigns, you hope she can pass that on to her offspring. She’s just a nice physical specimen. She’s stayed sound, raced multiple campaigns, she’s a multiple stakes winner, a Grade 2 winner, a Grade 3 winner and multiple graded-stakes placed. She always showed up and gave it a good effort.”
Whitham Thoroughbreds’ homebred Four Graces is also a dual graded-stakes winner, having captured the seven-furlong Dogwood (G3) and Beaumont (G3) in successive starts in the summer of 2020. She ran twice more than year, finishing second in the Eight Belles (G2), before going to the sidelines.
Four Graces raced just once last year, finishing fourth in the mid-June Roxelana behind Bell’s the One, who would go on to win three more stakes including the Honorable Miss (G2) and TAA (G2). Four Graces made her 5-year-old debut in a six-furlong optional claiming allowance Jan. 6 at Gulfstream, running second by a nose as the favorite to Starship Nala, who also returns in the Inside Information.
“We were very happy with her race, except for not getting the bob of the head. I actually thought I did, but that’s racing,” trainer Ian Wilkes said. “That was just her second race in 15 months. It was good that that race went. We were able to use it to just knock the cobwebs off and as a way to get ready for this next race.
“She’s always shown ability and been very talented, just unfortunate to have been on the sidelines a few times,” he added. “We’re still getting there. We’ve had that one race now. Do I think that she’s at 110 percent yet? No, but she’s better. She’s doing good. The only way I’m going to get her there is to get some races into her.” Julien Leparoux has the assignment from Post 5.
Prior to going after a second straight victory in the Pegasus World Cup with Knicks Go in what will be the presumptive 2021 Horse of the Year’s final start before starting a stud career, trainer Brad Cox will send out multiple stakes-winning homebred Just One Time in the Inside Information.
The 4-year-old daughter of Not This Time was purchased privately following her victory in the Oct. 22 New Start on the dirt at Penn National, her second stakes victory over fellow Pennsylvania-breds. The other came over the all-weather surface at Presque Isle Downs.
“She’s doing really well. I like her a lot. This is going to be our first opportunity to run her. I think she’s going to be a good filly. She pretty much hasn’t run farther than three-quarters, so the seven-eighths is always a question mark until you try it. She showed me enough in the mornings to put her on a van and lead her over there,” Cox said. “She’s a pretty good work horse. She showed me training what I like to see in regard to making the jump and attacking graded-stakes company.”
Joel Rosario, the favorite to win his first Eclipse Award as champion jockey, will be the irons from Post 8.
A five-time winner of the Inside Information, most recently with Ivy Bell in 2018, Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher chases No. 6 with St. Elias Stable’s A G Indy. Like Just One Time, the 5-year-old Take Charge Indy mare is a recent private purchase that will be making just her second start on dirt after 12 consecutive tries on the turf, where she had a record of 4-4-2.
Last out, A G Indy won the Senator Ken Maddy sprinting five furlongs Nov. 5 at Del Mar. She has been on the work tab since late December in South Florida, including a sharp half-mile breeze with 5-year-old gelding Fearless, whose graded-stakes wins include the Dec. 18 Harlan’s Holiday (G3) at Gulfstream.
“She’s been training superbly on the dirt, so we’re excited about that. She put in another good work with Fearless the other day and looked good doing it, so we’re going to give her a try on the dirt,” Pletcher said. “She was kind of purchased with the idea of seeing if she might transition to the dirt, and every breeze that we’ve had with her so far has been really, really strong on the dirt.
“I just feel like it’s a good opportunity,” he added. “We can always go back to the grass, but she’s certainly been training like a horse that appreciates the dirt. To work head and head in company on the dirt with a horse like Fearless, who’s coming off the Harlan’s Holiday, kind of emphasized to us that she’ll seem to handle it well. Luis Saez rides A G Indy from Post 2.
Three Diamonds Farm’s Jakarta is a 7-year-old mare with three previous stakes wins, including the Dec. 28 Mrs. Claus at Parx in her first start for trainer Mike Trombetta. Third in the 2020 Buffalo Trace Franklin County (G3) at Keeneland, Jakarta is 3-for-5 lifetime at Gulfstream including wins in the 2020 Powder Break and Claiming Crown Distaff Dash.
“She worked the other day and she worked good,” Trombetta said. “I didn’t have her real long. I only had her two weeks and the first time she ran, she just ran lights out. What I’ve learned is it looks like she enjoys the dirt as much as anything. I’m looking forward to running her. Three-time defending Eclipse Award winner Irad Ortiz Jr. has the call from Post 7.
Crumb Bun, on a two-race win streak; Dance d’Oro, exiting a victory in the one-mile Rampart Dec. 18 at Gulfstream; Starship Nala, seeking her first stakes win after seven runner-up finishes; Family Time, making her stakes debut off a Jan. 7 allowance win at Gulfstream; and Mon Petit Chou, third in Gulfstream’s 2021 Game Face, complete the field.
Gulfstream Park Press Release
Photo: Pacific Gale wins the 2021 Inside Information/ (Derbe Glass Photo)