Sunday, January 27, 2019
HALLANDALE BEACH - Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren Jr.’s City of Light concluded his racing career in electric fashion Saturday at Gulfstream Park, scoring a brilliant 5 ¾-length triumph in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational.
The third edition of the Pegasus World Cup, richest race in North America, co-headlined the 12-race program with the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, North America’s richest turf race won by Bricks and Mortar.
The $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series was offered in concert with world-class entertainment provided by Snoop Dogg and Golden Globe-winning artist Mark Ronson at Gulfstream’s Pegasus LIV Stretch Village,
Having split his first two meetings with Accelerate, City of Light got the better of the 3-2 favorite in their final showdown before both multiple Gr. 1 winners head off to Lane’s End Farm in Versailles, KY to begin their new careers as stallions.
Sent to post as the 9-5 second betting choice in a field of 12, City of Light stalked the pace set by Patternrecognition around the first turn and along the backstretch past fractions of 23.23 and 46.84 seconds for the first half-mile. The Michael McCarthy-trained 5-year-old inherited the lead on the far turn when Patternrecognition dropped back, and opened a clear lead on the turn into the homestretch, where Joel Rosario put Accelerate into a full drive after tracking City of Light throughout the running. Set down for the drive by Javier Castellano entering the stretch, City of Light responded to draw away with compete authority.
“I had a perfect trip," Castellano said. " That’s what I was looking for today. I know Patternrecognition on the outside has speed. I had to use him a little bit early to get the position I was looking for. Watching all the races, speed was holding pretty good. The track is in good condition. We got a lot of rain, nothing we can do. I think it worked out perfect.”
Castellano also rode City of Light to a 2 ¾-length triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs. “I used the horse a little bit to get my spot, and then tried to control the race all the way," he said. "This is just amazing. It’s what we all want, to be able to win a race like this.”
Charles Fipke’s Seeking the Soul, who finished second behind City of Light in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, rallied from off the pace along the rail to finish second again behind the McCarthy trainee. “He ran great," trainer Dallas Stewart said. "Nice horse, a great horse that beat us. He [jockey John Velazquez] said he got stopped on the turn; that might have cost us a little bit. It would have been great to have been first, but our horse ran great. I’m very proud of him.”
City of Light ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.71 over a sloppy track to conclude his career with his sixth victory and fourth Gr. 1 success in 11 starts. “It’s just wonderful," McCarthy said. "When he broke well and was able to kind of ease out outside of horses coming to the mile pole, I was very, very happy. Turning up the backside, Javier eased him off the fence. It looked like everybody was content with their position up the backside. When Javier started moving at the half-mile pole, it didn’t appear that anybody was really pressuring him. He was able to go ahead and hold off his run for a little bit. Once he switched leads coming into the lane, you saw what happened. It was over. I’m very happy for the horse. He’s an amazing animal, an amazing athlete.”
Accelerate finished third, another 1 ½ lengths back and 4 ¾ lengths ahead of Bravazo. John Sadler-trained Accelerate, who earned the Eclipse Award as 2018’s outstanding older dirt male Thursday evening at Gulfstream, entered the Pegasus on a streak of four Gr. 1 wins, including a victory in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic last time out.
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“This horse you have to ride him the whole time, and he was comfortable," rider Joel Rosario said. "I thought he was fine where he was and turning for home he looked OK, but Javier had so much horse. When he turned him loose he just went on. My horse kept trying but the horse in front had a better trip.”
Audible finished fifth, followed by Gunnevera, True Timber, Imperative, Tom’s d’Etat, Something Awesome, Kukulkan and Patternrecognition, who had nothing left after setting all the pace.