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Flavien Prat celebrates aboard National Treasure after winning the 2024 Pegasus World Cup
The 8th running of the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) presented by Baccarat for older horses was contested on Saturday afternoon at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach. Conditions were excellent in South Florida, with cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 80's, with the main track rated fast. National Treasure was sent off as the 5-2 favorite in the field of 12 off his close second place finish to Horse of the Year Cody's Wish in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1). In to challenge him included 11-4 second choice First Mission, second in the Clark Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs, and 8-1 third choice Skippylongstocking, third in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile after winning the Charles Town Classic (G2).
Shortly after the start of the Pegasus World Cup
Jockey John Velazquez sent 9-1 Hoist the Gold to the lead first time by through fractions of 23.18, 46.32, and 1:11.21 while pressed by National Treasure and stalked by 33-1 O'Connor and 20-1 Trademark. Turning for home, Hoist the Gold tired allowing National Treasure to inherit a 2 1/2 length lead through 1 mile in 1:50.51. 9-1 Senor Buscador, 11th early, put in a strong late rally but National Treasure held him off to win by a neck in 1:50.51. It was a long 4 1/2 lengths back to 34-1 longest shot Crupi third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 7 National Treasure Prat 7.20 5.40 3.80 6 Senor Buscador Alvarado 7.20 5.20 11 Crupi Dettori 12.60 Winning Time: 1:50.51 $1 Exacta 7-6 35.00 $1 Trifecta 7-6-11 581.90 $1 Superfecta 7-6-11-4 5,197.00Results Chart
Left: National Treasure heads to the winner's circle. Winning jockey Flavien Prat said, "He's very brave. Obviously, a great job by Bob [Baffert]. He's always on point. It's been a great pleasure to be riding him."
Right: The trophy presentation for the Pegasus World Cup. Winning trainer Bob Baffert said, "I'm proud of him. He ran his race. He showed up. That's all you can ask for as a trainer. He was prepping well for it. I've always thought he was that good a horse. He was just very immature and he's getting better and better, the way he's been training. He trained much better than he was going into the Breeders Cup. We felt good about it, but you still need a lot of luck. You have to ship well. You have to break well. I knew there was going to be a hot pace and but Prat and I we talked about it. You can't take his speed away. You can't be worried about one horse. Just let him do his thing and he did. That's why he won."
Left: National Treasure walks over before the race. Baffert added, "I loved our post and the way he broke. He broke well. Prat, he's really good out of the gate. He's a smart rider. We picked different scenarios. I said, 'The only scenario is when the gate comes open, you've just got to get away from there. We know that Johnny (Velasquez aboard Hoist the Gold) is going to be really aggressive and you need to be aggressive also.' He did and he was in a good spot. I knew they were flying but when is saw :23 and change I said, 'well that's manageable.' Good horses, they keep running."
Right: National Treasure in the post parade.
Left: Flavien Prat celebrates after the race.
Right: National Treasure heads back to the barn after the race. Winning co-owner Jack Wolf said, "I think they were moving pretty quickly. He moved quickly in the Preakness too. He's a very game horse. Bob has done a terrific job of placing him here. I think a few of us wanted to try to go to Saudi, but Bob chose this spot, which was perfect. This distance with the post position -- thank God we had the good post position -- and it all turned out great.
Left: Second place finisher Senor Buscador in the post parade. Jockey Junior Alvarado said, "It's very hard to come from way back on this track. But I was happy when he was picking it up and I'm excited. But I could feel the last 1/16 mile he was getting tired from making that huge run from the back. My horse ran his eyeballs out. He gave me a helluva run. He gave me everything he had today. My horse ran his heart out today."
Right: Third place finisher Crupi returns after the race. Trainer Todd Pletcher said, "I thought Crupi ran great. He was obviously way back early but he closed really well to be third, so we're pleased with that. No plans yet. We'll let the dust settle and come up with one."
The start of the Pegasus World Cup. John Velazquez aboard pacesetter and fourth place finisher Hoist the Gold said, "I broke well and did what I needed to do to get there, and it wasn't good enough for him to hold off the winner. A mile is perfect for him. One turn. He got to the first turn pretty well. We got to the backstretch and the second turn and he had to switch to his right lead on the turn and he got messed up in his own stride."
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