Pegasus Turf Preview by Kaitlin Free

January 24, 2019

It is the inaugural running of the Pegasus Turf, a logical and welcomed compliment to the Pegasus World Cup. We’ve got an Aidan O’Brien runner, another from Japan, and horses from the top turf barns of Bill Mott and Chad Brown. Jimmy Jerkens has one along with a few coming in from the west coast. Kaitlin Free looks at the horses and runs down who she thinks are the contenders for the win. The weather should be clear although you never know. We are probably looking at fast and firm conditions with the temperature a bit on the cool side for South Florida at 70-75 degrees. 

Magic Wand (IRE)

(Aidan O’Brien & Wayne Lordan)

Magic Wand comes into this race with an extensive turf record. She raced at many distances and tracks in 2018, with two wins and numerous placings. Magic Wand is a gritty filly that unfortunately has faced nothing but tough competition. Nearly every race she has had to battle the likes of Kitesurf, Sea of Class, Wild Illusion and Coronet. She is definitely in the same class as that group, but routinely finds trouble in almost every start. Often she is drifted out wide, stopped, or not sent early enough. The distance of the Pegasus Turf (1 3/16 miles), could end up being a bit short for Magic Wand. Her best results have came at a 1 ¼ + miles or longer. Although she has never faced males, the races she have been in against fillies have been tougher than this race came up. Another thing in Magic Wand’s favor is the extreme weight break she receives in the Pegasus Turf. She will carry 112 pounds, nearly every other competitor giving her 12 pounds. Given this, if she can stay out of trouble and not get too far back she will be right there at the end. Look for Magic Wand to be flying on late.

Win Contender : Yes

Yoshida (JPN)

(Bill Mott & Jose Ortiz)

Many are excited to see Yoshida return to his turf roots in the Pegasus Turf. As good as he has progressed on the dirt, Yoshida seems to be better on the turf. He has finished in front of two competitors in this field – Channel Maker and Bricks and Mortar. The distance of this race, 1 3/16 miles, hits Yoshida between the eyes. His best performances on the turf have come at a mile, but there is nothing suggesting he can’t handle the extra 3/16. The draw worked in his favor as well. As long as Yoshida can avoid trouble he should relish in his return to the grass. He will carry 124 pounds.

Win Contender : Yes

Channel Maker

(Bill Mott & Javier Castellano)

Other than a disappointing performance in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, Channel Maker had a pretty consistent 2018. Winning both the Bowling Green Stakes and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, he won or placed in more than half of his starts. Despite that consistency, Channel Maker is a horse that could be labeled one dimensional. He makes one powerful run at the end with a devastating turn of foot. Most of his big wins or placements have came at 1 ¼ miles or greater. That being said, the distance of the Pegasus Turf will simply be too short for Channel Maker. He will be powering home late and has a huge chance to grab a piece in the end. A win for him at this distance would be shocking. Channel Maker does enjoy a soft turf course that he could get on Saturday. He gets a slight weight break at 119 pounds.

Win Contender : No

Aerolithe (JPN)

(Takanori Kikuzawa & Florent Geroux)

Aerolithe comes into the Pegasus Turf as a question mark horse. Anyone without international knowledge probably has little to no information on her. Aerolithe is a tough competitor that has won or placed in many graded stakes in Japan. Japanese runners should never be taken lightly and are historically known as the best bred turf horses in the world. One unknown factor that may scare bettors away from Aerolithe is travel. She has never traveled or trained outside of Japan. Racing counterclockwise instead of clockwise is another first for her. Switching directions usually is not a problem for horses. Aerolithe seems to have acclamated to Gulfstream well since arriving last week and has posted a work. The Pegasus Turf distance is a perfect one for this versatile filly and the weight break she receives makes her even juicier in this spot. She will carry 112 pounds, the same as Magic Wand. Overlook this one at your own risk.

Win Contender : Yes

Next Shares

(Richard Baltas & Tyler Gaffalione)

After avenging his poor Breeders’ Cup performance in the San Gabriel Stakes, Next Shares is right back on track. He really found his best stride last fall and is known to be a pretty good shipper. Next Shares comes into the Pegasus Turf with a lot of things to like. This distance is a great one for him and gives him a bit more ground than his normal mile. As long as Next Shares can avoid trouble that he sometimes does find, he will be right in the mix. One important bonus Next Shares carries into this race is his jockey. Tyler Gaffalione is perhaps the best jockey in the country when it comes to Gulfstream Park. He has superior knowledge of the turf course and has had the mount on Next Shares. The pair click together and everything indicates they should run up to their potential here. If he is anywhere near his morning line odds, that is a shot worth taking. Next Shares will carry 124 pounds.

Win Contender : Yes

Fahan Mura

(Vladimir Cerin & Edwin Maldonado)

Aside from a 12th place finish in the Matriarch Stakes, Fahan Mura had a sneaky good 2018. She won or hit the board in every start but two. She has early speed and likes to be up and on the pace. This race looks like it could end up with not much early speed, so Fahan Mura could get things her own way from the start. This distance is about as far as she can probably go and in this field a win would be a tall order. In a filly and mare division that has certainly taken a big hit for 2019, Fahan Mura should move up in the ranks. This is an ambitious spot to start and she has never faced open company. Acting as the lone speed in the race would be her only chance to try to hang on and take them all the way. Unlike the other fillies in the race, Fahan Mura will not benefit from much of a weight break and will carry 119.

Win Contender : No

Bricks and Mortar

(Chad Brown & Irad Ortiz Jr.)

Did you really think Chad Brown would be without an entry in the inaugural Pegasus Turf? Bricks and Mortar was an exceptional talent at age three and was among the top in his division. He has won or hit the board in all of his starts. Unfortunately he suffered a setback in the fall of 2017, forcing him to take more than a year off. He returned in December 2018 at this very track in an allowance race. He was wide throughout but his class prevailed and he won impressively. After so much time away and coming off just an allowance win, this is quite an ambitious spot. Should Bricks and Mortar return to his old form he could absolutely be in the mix. Chad Brown doesn’t enter unless he thinks he has a chance to win, so Bricks and Mortar is obviously here for a reason. His resume speaks for itself, but this is the toughest field he has seen in a long time. He will carry the standard 124.

Win Contender : Yes

Delta Prince

(Jimmy Jerkens & Frankie Dettori)

Delta Prince has earned a reputation on the turf much like Hoppertunity on the dirt. He shows up every time and always picks up a check. Delta Prince has never finished worse than 4th in any start. He has four wins to his credit, two of them being at Gulfstream. Something has always seemed to be missing to get Delta Prince that final push. Frankie Dettori flying in to pick up the mount is a huge bonus, and he could be the guy to figure out this quirky horse. The Pegasus Turf has come up tough and there will be no room for error if they want to be in contention for the win. The extra distance shouldn’t be much of a problem for Delta Prince and worse than 5th finish would be very shocking. That being said, a win would also be very shocking. Also carries 124 pounds.

Win Contender : No


(John Sadler & Joel Rosario)

Is there a hotter team in racing right now than Joel Rosario and John Sadler? Catapult comes into the Pegasus Turf riding an all time high. After being off for nine months, he returned to the races in 2018 in career best form never finishing worse than second. Kitten’s Joy progeny love Gulfstream Park and there is no reason to think Catapult won’t follow that trend. He travels well and has the strongest herd dynamics in the race. The extra distance won’t be an issue for Catapult and he may need it after drawing extremely wide. His draw is the only obvious achilles heel that can be seen, and with his type of talent it may not be much of a hinderance. The Pegasus Turf sets up incredibly nicely for Catapult and he is certainly at the forefront of the leading contenders. Carries 124 pounds.

Win Contender : Yes

Dubby Dubbie

(Bob Hess Jr. & Luca Panici)

The famous Ron Paolucci is new and rebranded in his return to Pegasus Saturday. He is the life of the party and likes to be around no matter how long of a shot his horses may be. That is why Dubby Dubbie turns up here in the Pegasus Turf. He finished 2018 with an extremely credible allowance win at Churchill Downs, probably his best win to date. Dubby Dubbie seems to be a horse that will improve with age and he has a lot of room to grow as a fresh 4YO. To say this is an ambitious start to 2019 is understating it. He has never raced at Gulfstream Park and has only ever raced in two graded stakes races, a third in the G3 American Derby being his best result. It is obvious that Dubby Dubbie is in over his head in this race, and drawing the 12 post all but eliminates any chance he had. That being said, we are still glad he is here! A top five finish and a confidence boost would be a victory to this team. Dubby Dubbie carries 124.

Win Contender : No

@PastTheWire bingo!!! 9/2 easy winner!!!

Rick St. Pierre @rstp354 View testimonials