Pegasus World Cup Turf Favorite Warm Heart Settles in at Gulfstream Park

January 24, 2024

Warm Heart gets a taste of the Gulfstream Park main track (Ryan Thompson)

David Joseph/Gulfstream Park

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.— Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) favorite Warm Heart had a low-key get-acquainted tour of Gulfstream Park Wednesday morning. In her career finale, Warm Heart is facing males again in the $1 million Turf Saturday at 1 1/8 miles.

With her regular work rider, Rachel Richardson, up, the 4-year-old Irish-bred filly went out for some light exercise at 9 a.m. Richardson trotted the daughter of Galileo to the one-mile pole on the main track, turned her around and had her canter seven furlongs to the wire.

Warm Heart, 9-5 on the morning line, trained by the legendary Aidan O’Brien at Ballydoyle in Ireland, was flown from Europe to Miami on Sunday and arrived at the track on Tuesday evening.

“She was in quarantine for two days and this was just to give her a look and see her surroundings and she was very relaxed,” Richardson said. “She looked at the surface. It worked very well. I was very happy.”

Pat Keating, who has worked for O’Brien for nearly 30 years and has accompanied horses to races all over the world, said Warm Heart is a very good traveler and handled the trip well. She has put on some miles in the past few months. After competing in Ireland and England in her first seven starts, Warm Heart followed her Yorkshire Oaks (G1) win with the trip to Longchamp in Paris on Sept. 10, where she won the Prix Vermeille (G1). Two months later in California, she finished second by a neck to Inspiral at Santa Anita Park in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1). Off the big performance in the Breeders’ Cup, she went to Asia in December and finished third, beaten 3 ¼ lengths, against males in the Hong Kong Vase (G1).

Richardson spent 13 years working for trainer Tim Easterby in England and rode 123 winners as a professional jockey. She retired three years ago and began working for O’Brien. While she was still riding professionally, Richardson said she spent some time at the Palm Meadows Training Center working for trainer Brendan Walsh.

“It was a great experience,” she said. “It sets me up well now traveling with Aidan’s horses, knowing the tracks and the way things work out here. It’s really good.”

Richardson has been on the road with Warm Heart and knows her well.

“She’s a big personality,” Richardson said. “She loves to work. She’s on the go all year and she loves to gallop. She has a real great attitude.”

Warm Heart is out of the Fastnet Rock mare Sea Siren, the winner of three Group 1 race in Australia before the was purchased by the Coolmore partners and imported to Europe. Ryan Moore will ride Warm Heart – who owns a 5-2-1 record with $1 million in earnings – in her final appearance on the track before she is retired to become a broodmare.

“She deserves a good retirement,” Richardson said. “Hopefully we can send her out on a high.”

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