Summer & Natalma Stakes
Prince of Wales Stakes
Del Mar Futurity Day
Del Mar Debutante Day
Red Knight just after the finish of the 2023 W.L. McKnight Stakes (G3)
Pegasus World Cup (G1) day at Gulfstream Park was conducted under typical racing conditions for south Florida in winter -- cloudy skies and temperatures in the high 70's, with the 1 1/8 mile main track rated fast and the turf course firm. There were 6 stakes races on the undercard, all graded.
A field of 11 older horses contested the $200,000 William L. McKnight Stakes (G3) presented by Davidoff Cigars at 1 1/2 miles around 3 turns of the turf course. Last year's winner Abaan was sent off as the 11-4 favorite over 3-1 second choice Red Knight, 11th in the Breeders' Cup Turf (G1), and 4-1 third choice Channel Maker, 7th in the Breeders' Cup Turf.
Jockey Luis Saez sent Abaan to the front first time by through fractions of 24.18, 48.27, 1:12.67, and 1:37.31 while pressed by 22-1 Agitare and stalked by Channel Maker. Turning for home the pacesetters tired as 10-1 Value Engineering moved up to gain the lead through 10f in 2:01.04. Red Knight, last early under Irad Ortiz Jr., came out 5 wide into the lane and rallied to win by a length over Value Engineering in 2:25.11. It was another length back to 45-1 longest shot Wicked Fast third, while favorite Abaan faded to finish 9th beaten 15 1/2 lengths.
Left: Red Knight heads to the winner's circle. Winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said, "Thank God I had a good trip from tough post 11," said Ortiz. "He's perfect for the distance because he relaxes very well. With five furlongs to go he started to gain ground on the outside and I just let him do his thing."
Right: Red Knight returns to the barn after the race. Trainer Mike Maker added, "Irad had Red Knight settled in the back of the pace. The pace was hot, which favored him. The rest is history. I had a lot of confidence in him, The first time he ran for us, he hadn't run in a year and won. He likes to run fresh. He loves his job. One, two, three and five. We just missed the superfecta. Every horse ran a great race and I'm proud."
The $150,000 La Prevoyante Stakes (G3) presented by Don Julio featured a field of 7 older fillies and mares also going 1 1/2 miles on the turf. Tropical Park Oaks third place finisher Personal Best was sent off as the 6-5 favorite in the field of 7 over 3-2 second choice Adventuring, third in the Cardinal (G3), and 4-1 third choice Beside Herself, fourth in the Via Borghese Stakes.
Jockey Joel Rosario sent Adventuring to the lead first time by through fractions of 23.48, 48.19, 1:13.57, 1:38.71, and 2:02.71 while pressed by Beside Herself and stalked by 15-2 fourth choice Transient. Turning for home Adventuring continued to lead but favorite Personal Best, fifth early under Irad Ortiz Jr. came out 5 wide for room and outfinished Transient to win by a neck in 2:26.04. It was another 3/4 length back to Adventuring third.
Left: Personal Best returns after the race. Winning trainer Shug McGaughey said, "I thought Irad rode her perfectly. There was a little speed in front of her and she was tracking really good. He said at the 3/8ths pole, he was loaded. She has a little bit of a tendency to hang, but he just didn't let her do that today. She's still kind of lightly raced and has some things to learn. In few of her races, she wanted to be in her bridle too much, not bad. Today she was very relaxed. I think as we go along, I think we should have some fun with her."
Right: Personal Best heads back to the barn after the race. Winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. added, "Another great start, and the mare was much more relaxed today; that was key to the perfect trip we had, and by the 3/8th's pole she was full of run and I let her go. I think the track is playing fair; it all depends on how fast or how slow the pace is."
The $150,000 Fred W. Hooper Stakes (G3) presented by Whispering Angel featured a field of 12 older horses going 1 mile around one turn of the main track. Mineshaft Stakes (G3) third place finisher Miles D was sent off as the 9-5 favorite over 9-2 second choice Endorsed off an allowance win, and 5-1 third choice Black Belt, making his stakes debut off two straight allowance wins.
Jockey Jose Ortiz sent 9-1 Picking Up Pennies to the lead exiting the chute through fractions of 23.73 and 46.79 while pressed by 10-1 Prevalence and stalked by 11-1 Dean Delivers and 23-1 Octane. Turning for home Picking Up Pennies tired allowing Octane to inherit the lead through 7f in 1:22.99, but Endorsed, sixth early under Luis Saez, came out 8 wide and rallied by to win by 2 3/4 lengths over Octane in 1:35.67. It was a nose back to Dean Delivers third, while favorite Miles D checked in seventh beaten 11 lengths.
Left: Endorsed heads to the winner's circle. Winning trainer Mike Maker said, "A nice speed duel developed. Luis had him in a nice position and he proved best. He's lost a few tough races, maybe now he's finally figuring out how to win."
Right: Endorsed returns after the race. Winning jockey Luis Saez said, "He's a great horse and on the improve. I really liked the way he beat me the last time I was on Legends Can't Die. All the speed was on the inside and they were cooking. I felt as if I was on morning workout just waiting to make my move. Everything just worked out great."
A field of 10 older fillies and mares contested the $200,000 Inside Information Stakes (G2) presented by Brightline at 7 furlongs on the main track. Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) fifth place finisher Obligatory was sent off as the 4-5 favorite over 5-2 second choice Maryquitecontrary, winner of the Rampart Stakes, and 10-1 third choice Famed, winner of the She's All In Stakes.
Jockey Tyler Gaffalione sent 16-1 Fire on Time was quickest out of the chute through fractions of 22.41 and 45.38 while pressed by 10-1 fourth choice R Adios Jersey and 25-1 Miss Speedy. Turning for home Fire on Time continued to lead through 3/4 in 1:10.37 but Maryquitecontrary, 8th early under Luc Panici, came out 7 wide and rallied by to win by 2 1/2 lengths over 13-1 Colorful Mischief in 1:23.64. It was another length back to Fire on Time third, while favorite Obligatory trailed early and checked in 6th beaten 8 1/4 lengths.
Left: Maryquitecontrary returns after the race. Winning jockey Luca Panici said, "I was squeezed after the break. She was a little bit nervous and I lost a half-length after the break but they were running in front and I was sitting confident like always with her. When I got to the clear she started to kick, and she kicked until the end. She's improving race after race, and today she showed what she can do."
Right: Sixth place finisher and beaten favorite Obligatory returns after the race. The Bill Mott trainee has a record of 5 wins, 3 seconds, and 1 third in 15 starts, earning $1,380,594 for owner-breeder Juddmonte Farms.
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