Senor Buscador Tunes up for Pegasus World Cup

January 18, 2024

Senor Buscador ahead of the Breeders’ Cup Classic (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Full Count Felicia Works for Pegasus Filly & Mare Turf

Pegasus-Bound Il Miracolo Tops List of FTHA’s 2023 Champions

David Joseph/Gulfstream Park

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.— Joe Peacock Jr.’s Senor Buscador breezed five furlongs at Gulfstream Park Thursday in preparation for a start in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) Jan. 27.

The multiple graded stakes-winning 6-year-old son of Mineshaft, who is coming off a late-closing runner-up finish in the Dec. 2 Cigar Mile (G2) at Aqueduct was clocked in 1:01.08 on the main track at Gulfstream Park. Junior Alvarado was aboard for the homebred veteran stakes campaigner’s fourth workout since arriving at Gulfstream since shortly after his strong effort in the Cigar Mile.

“Junior was very happy with him. He said he galloped out strong. He said, ‘We went way past the wire and let him gallop out,” trainer Todd Fincher said from his training base at Sunland Park in New Mexico. “He said he wanted to keep going. He was very happy with him.”

Senor Buscador, who was beaten by 5 ¼ lengths while finishing seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) before returning in the Cigar Mile, captured the San Diego Handicap (G2) at Del Mar in July.

The Fincher trainee is on the final invitation list for the Pegasus World Cup that includes National Treasure, First Mission, Skippylongstocking, O’Connor, Ny Traffic, Dynamic One, Grand Aspen, Hoist the Gold, Il Miracolo, Saudi Crown, and Trademark.

Full Count Felicia Works for Pegasus Filly & Mare Turf

Full Count Felicia wins the Suwanee River (G3) Dec. 30 at Gulfstream Park (Coglianese)

Gold Square’s multiple -takes winner Full Count Felicia put in her final work Thursday morning ahead of a scheduled start in the $500,000 TAA Pegasus Filly & Mare Turf (G2) Jan. 27 at Gulfstream Park.

Trained by Brittany Russell, the 5-year-old War Front mare went four furlongs in 48.50 seconds over the main track at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County. It was the third-fastest of eight works at the distance.

“Felicia is a good-training filly. She doesn’t miss a beat. She’s the kind of girl that wakes up in the morning and she goes to work,” Russell said. “She doesn’t have a bad day. She’s been full steam ahead training in the morning. A lot of things are going to have to go right for her, but she’s earned her way into this race.”

Full Count Felicia was winless in seven starts in New York before joining Russell, primarily based in Maryland with a string at Palm Meadows this winter, in the summer of 2022. She won first time out on the turf at Colonial Downs and then capped a three-race win streak in the 1 1/8-mile All Along last fall at Pimlico Race Course.

In November Full Count Felicia ran fourth, beaten three lengths by four-time Grade 2 winner Closing Remarks, in the one-mile Goldikova (G2) at Santa Anita. Second in that race was Queen Goddess, who will return to make a title defense in the Pegasus Filly & Mare Turf.

Full Count Felicia capped 2023 by overcoming traffic trouble to rally for a popular three-quarter-length victory under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. in the one-mile Suwannee River (G3) over a Gulfstream turf course rated good.

It was the first graded victory for Full Count Felicia and third for the 34-year-old Russell, the first female to finish as Maryland’s overall leading trainer last year who previously won the 2021 Bold Ruler (G3) with Wondrwherecraigis and 2023 Carter Handicap (G1) with Doppelganger.

“We’ve always liked this filly. From the time she broke her maiden for us we thought she had loads of ability. I think she just needed to get on track,” Russell said. “We were looking to ship her and run her in a stake down south and she just had a little setback, so we just stopped on her. It looks like hopefully patience has paid off. She is a talented filly. She belongs, and I know she’s going show up and run her race.”

The 1 1/16-mile Pegasus Filly & Mare Turf is one of seven graded-stakes worth $5.2 million on a spectacular program headlined by the $3 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) presented by Baccarat and $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1).

Entries will be taken and post positions drawn between Sunday’s races in Gulfstream’s Carousel Club for all three Pegasus races.

Pegasus-Bound Il Miracolo Tops List of FTHA’s 2023 Champions

Il Miracolo victorious in the Smarty Jones (G3) Aug. 22, 2023, at Parx (EQUI-PHOTO)

Alexandres’ Grade 3 winner Il Miracolo, scheduled to open his 4-year-old season in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) presented by Baccarat Jan. 27 at Gulfstream Park, was named champion 3-year-old of 2023 by the Florida Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association.

The FTHA annually recognizes horses that compete year-round in South Florida. All winners raced and won during the non-championship meets from April to November.

Based at Gulfstream with trainer Antonio Sano, Il Miracolo had two wins, two seconds and two thirds with $465,025 in purses last year. He made his first five starts at Gulfstream, including the Mucho Macho Man, Holy Bull (G3), Fountain of Youth (G2) and Florida Derby (G1), later winning the Smarty Jones (G3) and running third in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) at Parx. He was beaten a head when second in Keeneland’s Fayette (G2) and third in the Clark (G2) at Churchill Downs.

Laurie Plesa and Glassman Racing’s Time Passage, trained by Eddie Plesa Jr., was named champion 3-year-old filly after winning five of nine starts including four in a row last summer and fall including the Soaring Softly overnight handicap, Miss Gracie and Cellars Shiraz.

Top 2-year-old male honors went to Leon King Stable Corp.’s Bentornato, who has raced exclusively at Gulfstream where he reeled off four consecutive wins to open his career highlighted by victories in the Proud Man, FSS Dr. Fager and FSS Affirmed before suffering his lone defeat in the FSS In Reality.

Averill Racing and Two Eight Racing’s R Harper Rose won three of four starts to be selected top 2-year-old filly. She won each of her first three races capped by the FSS Susan’s Girl in October and was second in the FSS My Dear Girl in December.

Champion older male honors went to Stonehedge homebred Dean Delivers, winner of the Smile Sprint (G3) and Big Drama at Gulfstream that placed in four other stakes including thirds in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1) at Saratoga and Gulfstream’s Fred Hooper (G3).

Named top older female of 2023 was e Five Racing Thoroughbreds’ Three Witches, 10-1 upset winner of the Princess Rooney Invitational (G3) at Gulfstream. The victory earned her an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1), where she ran third.

Soldi Stable and Ohana Racing Stable’s Amstrong, winner of the Not Surprising, Showing Up and Bear’s Den, and Skull Stable’s Battle Cry, who went five-for-nine including a three-race win streak, were respectively named top Tapeta colt and filly.

Jonathan Stettin is a New York Legend. He's been a Horseplayer, earning his living at the track, since he was 19 years old. @jonathanstettin

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