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Irad Ortiz Jr. gives Atone a pat after winning the 2023 Pegasus World Cup Turf
The $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) presented by Qatar Racing was contested on Saturday afternoon at Gulfstream Park in south Florida. Conditions were excellent in South Florida, with cloudy skies and temperatures in the high 70's, and the turf course firm. A field of 12 older horses went to post for this 1 1/8 mile contest, with City Man sent off as the 7-2 favorite off his win in the Fort Lauderdale Stakes (G2) on New Year's Eve. In to challenge him included 15-4 second choice Ivar, unraced since finishing fourth in the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1), and 4-1 third choice Atone, an allowance winner after finishing 8th in the Coolmore Turf Mile (G1).
Down the stretch in the Pegasus World Cup Turf
Jockey Mike Smith sent 38-1 One More Bid to the lead first time by through fractions of 23.26, 47.30, and 1:11.36 while pressed by 74-1 longest shot King Cause and stalked by 11-1 Wit. Turning for home, One More Bid continued to lead through 1 mile in 1:34.73 but tired badly. Atone, fifth early under Irad Ortiz Jr., came out 7 wide and outfinished Ivar late to win by 3/4 length in 1:46.19. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to 24-1 Speaking Scout third, while favorite City Man was bumped early, trailed throughout and finished last beaten 5 lengths.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 3 Atone Ortiz Jr. 9.60 5.40 4.40 10 Ivar Castellano 4.80 3.80 7 Speaking Scout Lopez 10.40 Winning Time: 1:46.19 $1 Exacta 3-10 20.90 $1 Trifecta 3-10-7 295.90 $1 Superfecta 3-10-7-6 1,622.70Results Chart
Left: Atone heads to the winner's circle. Winning co-owner Caril Fiebig said, "All the credit goes to Mike [Maker] and his staff. Irad is an Eclipse Award winner for a reason. It was flawless execution. Most importantly, for the Wycoffs, this win is for them. We're glad to be a small part of this. For myself and my family to be a part of this, I just want to thank Jordan and Kirk [Wycoff] who put a lot of energy, money and everything into this business and I'm glad to see them rewarded on days like this."
Right: Atone heads back to the barn after the race. Winning trainer Mike Maker said, "It feels great to win. It doesn't get old. Irad looked like he wanted to be forwardly placed out of the gate and it looked like a couple of others had the same idea. He settled in nice, saved some ground and got lucky to get some racing room when it counted. He was a hard-luck horse last year. He's always been right there, and today was his day. It's been a great day, and I've got two more tonight at Turfway."
Left: Second place finisher Ivar leaves the paddock before the race. Jockey Javier Castellano said, "He ran good. It was a good race. I felt the other horse a little bit but my horse kept running. He never gave up. The winner ran a huge race. I'm not disappointed in my horse at all. I'm very proud of the way he did it. I know it was a little far, but I don't think it was too far because he finished good."
Right: Third place finisher Speaking Scout rallies in the stretch. Trainer Graham Motion said, "I thought he ran super. Paco [Lopez] gave him a great ride. He was coming on. He's gotten good, this horse."
The Mike Maker trained trio of W.L. McKnight winner Red Knight, Fred W. Hooper winner Endorsed, and Pegasus World Cup Turf winner Atone pose with their grooms in their winner's blankets on the track.
Queen Goddess wins the Pegasus World Cup Filly and Mare Turf
Jockey Junior Alvarado sent 26-1 Sweet Enough to the lead first time by through fractions of 23.76, 48.03, and 1:12.27 while pressed by 5-1 fourth choice Dalika and stalked by 16-1 Artie's Princess. Turning for home Sweet Enough tired badly as Queen Goddess, 4th early under Luis Saez, swept 3 wide to the lead through 1 mile in 1:35.86. Kept to task by Saez, Queen Goddess cruised the rest of the way to win by 1 1/2 lengths over late-running Shantisara in 1:41.91. It was another 2 3/4 lengths back to 15-2 Lady Rockstar third, while favorite Wakanaka checked in 5th beaten 7 1/4 lengths.
Left: Queen Goddess heads to the winner's circle. Winning owner Aron Wellman said, "She's matured. She's a filly we always thought would get better with age. The two times we sent her east were a very ambitious run in the Queen Elizabeth and a dirt try in the Bayakoa. She wasn't quite ready for it. Today we felt good about our chances."
Right: Queen Goddess heads back to the barn after the race. Winning jockey Luis Saez said, "She ran pretty big. Today she proved she's a beautiful and special filly. We knew she had a lot of speed but inside they had speed, too, so the plan was to try to follow the speed and be right behind, and everything went according to plan. It was perfect."
Left: Second place finisher Shantisara in the post parade. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said, "I had to drop in and wait. I could have made the first move outside, but I didn't want to. The winner opened up on me, but my filly was closing."
Right: Third place finisher Lady Rockstar in the post parade. The Brendan Walsh trainee improved her record to 3 wins, 4 seconds, and 2 thirds in 12 starts, earning $181,389 for owner Steven Parkin.
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