Pegasus WC Well Represented in $20M Saudi Cup

February 21, 2024

Senor Buscador rallied from 11th to give a game challenge to National Treasure in the Pegasus World Cup. The pair will face nine other competitors in the Saudi Cup. (Coglianese Photo)

> Sire Stakes Winner Bentornato Faces 11 in Saudi Derby
> Socially Selective Back in the Winner’s Circle
> Rainbow 6 Estimated at $450,000 Thursday

Gulfstream Today

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Three of the first four finishers from Gulfstream’s $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), and a Florida Derby (G1) winner, will lead a field of 14 Saturday in the $20 million Saudi Cup.

Fans can watch and wager on the Saudi Cup at Gulfstream Park Saturday. Post time for the Saudi Cup is 12:40 p.m. Gulfstream will also show the Neom Turf Cup and Red Sea Turf Handicap prior to the Saudi Cup.

Pegasus winner National Treasure and runner-up Senor Buscador have made the trip for the Saudi Cup along with Hoist the Gold, who finished fourth. Bob Baffert, trainer of National Treasure, has also entered Defunded, second in the 2023 Pegasus World Cup. 

Joining those three is Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner White Abarrio, winner of the 2022 Florida Derby, and Japan’s Ushba Tesoro, winner of the 2023 Dubai World Cup (G1) and fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Earlier in the day, three-time stakes winner Bentornato, winner of the Dr. Fager and Affirmed divisions of the Florida Sire Stakes for trainer Jose D’Angelo, will meet 11 others in the Saudi Derby. 

Socially Selective Back in the Winner’s Circle

Socially Selective successful again. (Ryan Thompson)
Socially Selective successful again. (Ryan Thompson)

Nine Thirty Racing LLC’s Socially Selective, who returned from a nine-month layoff last month to win by seven lengths, took the lead Wednesday down the stretch to win the $92,000 featured eighth race.

A 4-year-old filly by Speightster, Socially Selective took the lead after stalking the pacesetter Drifaros past fractions of :23.17 and :46.23 to win by 1 ½ lengths while covering the 6 ½ furlongs in 1:16.73 under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.

The filly broke her maiden in her debut in 2022 at Saratoga before returning to finish second in March of last year in the Purple Mountain at Oaklawn Park. She finished second again at Keeneland in April before the nine-month layoff.

“She’s been a nice filly all along,” said trainer Bill Mott. “We’ve liked her from the beginning. We had some setbacks with her early on in her career after she had broken her maiden and it’s just taken a little time to get her back but it’s nice to see her back on track. Hopefully somewhere down the road she’s got a date with a stakes race.”

Charlie’s Wish was 1 ½ lengths behind Drifaros in third while Kathleen O. rallied for fourth.

The 20-cent Rainbow 6 is estimated at $450,000 Thursday. The sequence begins with Race 4, a maiden claiming event for 4-year-olds and up at a mile on the main track. The sequence includes two turf races and a $91,000 allowance optional claimer at a mile on the main track with Steel Racer the 9-5 favorite.

Jose Ortiz won three races Wednesday. Ortiz won aboard True Martini ($3) in the first, On the Dot ($4.60) in the seventh and Okay Fine ($6.20) in the ninth.

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