Sunday, January 13, 2019
HALLANDALE BEACH - Audible, the 2018 Florida Derby winner, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.91 Saturday morning at Palm Beach Downs in preparation for the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 26.
“Audible’s training really well," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "I’ve been pleased with all of his works, particularly this morning. It was a good, solid five-eighths with a strong gallop-out that we were looking for. All indications are he’s in good form and coming up to the race very well.”
Audible worked in company inside Impact Player before drawing clear in the stretch and galloping out well ahead of his workmate.
Owned by China Horse Club, WinStar Farm, Head of Plains Partners LLC and Starlight Racing, Audible followed up his Florida Derby triumph with a troubled third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby before going to the sideline for six months. The son of Into Mischief fired fresh to win the seven-furlong Cherokee Run on the Breeders’ Cup undercard at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3 but faltered in his most recent start, finishing second in the 1 1/16-mile Harlan’s Holiday on Dec. 15 over a sloppy Gulfstream track.
“It wasn’t what we were hoping for," Pletcher said. "We needed a race to build him up for the Pegasus. It didn’t go as planned. He was a prohibitive favorite. Unfortunately, before the race, the skies opened and we got a downpour into a harrowed track. They tried to seal it after that but it was too late. I think, more than anything, he didn’t like the condition of the track. He didn’t fire his best shot. He came out of it well and has trained better than ever coming into the Pegasus. It served its purpose in terms of conditioning.”
Pletcher noted that the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus will be Audible’s third start off a layoff, widely viewed as a positive from handicapping and conditioning perspectives. “We eased back into it after the Harlan’s Holiday," Pletcher said. "We’ve put some good, solid five-eighths into him and I’ve been particularly pleased with the way he’s galloped out. This will be his third start off the layoff. I think a mile and an eighth is ideal for him, especially if there’s a good contested pace. That’s important for him. He likes to settle early. If we can get some good solid fractions. Some of the main contenders have a lot of speed. If they mix it up a little bit, I think he’ll benefit from that.”
Gunnevera ‘a Different Horse’ Heading into the Pegasus
Gunnevera continues to please trainer Antonio Sano with his preparation for the Pegasus World Cup. The 5-year-old son of Dialed In breezed six furlongs in 1:15.80 under Irad Ortiz Jr. Saturday morning at Gulfstream Park West. “I feel very happy with him,” said Sano, whose trainee finished third in last year’s Pegasus. “He’s a different horse. He’s a stronger horse.”
Gunnevera, who concluded his 2018 campaign with a runner-up finish behind Pegasus contender Accelerate in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, worked in company with stablemate Cometin.
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“He worked really good," Ortiz said. "He’s doing everything right. Hopefully, he comes back to racing the way he is right now.” Ortiz has the return mount on Gunnevera after guiding him to his runner-up finish in the Classic. Gunnevera, who has $4.1 million in career earnings, captured the 2017 Fountain of Youth. He also won the 2016 Saratoga Special and the $1 million Delta Jackpot and has been Gr. 1 stakes-placed in the 2017 Travers and the 2018 Woodward at Saratoga, as well as the Classic.