HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – To trainer Mike Maker, you can never have enough horses for Gulfstream Park’s $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1), so imagine his delight when owner Michael Iavarone called and told Maker that he’d purchased Flavius for $230,000 at Keeneland’s November sale.
Maker said Flavius is his kind of horse, but one that just dropped into his shedrow out of the blue.
“I had nothing to do with it. They called me up and asked if I’d like to take him. That was it,” he said, adding cheerfully, “Good day for me.”
While owned by breeder Juddmonte Farms and trained by Chad Brown, the 6-year-old Flavius won four of 14 starts, with three seconds and two thirds, earning $737,673. After starting out in Ireland, he won his first U.S. stakes in Kentucky Downs’ $750,000 Tourist Mile. Flavius finished fifth as the favorite in his attempt to repeat at Kentucky Downs, where the stakes now is the $1 million WinStar Mint Million Mile (G3). His only start since that Sept. 6 race was a third in Aqueduct’s $150,000 Artie Schiller before being sold.
Flavius had his first recorded workout for Maker Dec. 11, powering five-eighths of a mile in 59.44 seconds, the fastest of 20 works at the distance that morning. He recorded another ‘bullet’ work Saturday, going five furlongs in 1:00.11. The horse has raced once before at Gulfstream Park, finishing fourth by a length in the 2019 Fort Lauderdale (G2) in his second U.S. start.
The Maker-trained Field Pass earned the right to pursue the Pegasus Turf by capturing Del Mar’s Sea Biscuit (G2). Field Pass, owned by Three Diamonds Farm, has raced all over the country but only once before at Gulfstream, winning the 2020 Dania Beach.
“He’s a model of consistency, sound, danced every dance,” Maker said. “Travels all over.”
Three Diamond Farms’ Atone and Cross Border, both owned by Three Diamonds Farm, also are possible for the Pegasus Turf, Maker has said. Atone finished second Saturday in the Fort Lauderdale (G2). Cross Border, third in the 2021 Pegasus Turf, captured Saratoga’s Bowling Green (G2). The 7-year-old horse won the Prairie Bayou Saturday at Turfway.
Maker said the Pegasus Turf fills an important void on the stakes calendar by offering a big-money Grade 1 grass race in January.
“There aren’t very many options on the grass in the winter,” he said.
Gulfstream Park Press Release
Photo: Flavius (Joe Labozzetta)