Wednesday, January 16, 2019
HALLANDALE BEACH - Sunday Racing Co. Ltd.’s Grade I-winning mare Aerolithe arrived at Gulfstream Park this morning at approximately 3:15 a.m. to prepare for the $7 million, Gr. I Pegasus World Turf Cup Invitational, North America’s richest grass race, on Jan. 26.
The mare’s excellent adventure began in Tokyo, then to South Korea to Anchorage to Miami. Total travel time, including layovers, was 21 hours and 25 minutes. “She traveled really well, much better than expected,” said Kate Hunter, Pegasus World Cup field representative for the Japan Racing Association.
Aerolithe, winner of the Gr. I NHK Mile Cup as a 3-year-old, has finished first or second in nine of 13 career starts, including a victory Oct. 7 in the Gr. II Mainichi Okan and a second-place finish on June 3 in the Gr. I Yasuda Kinen. The 5-year-old daughter of Kurofune, a son of French Deputy, is trained by Takanori Kikuzawa. Hunter confirmed that Florent Geroux will ride the mare. She will remain in quarantine at Gulfstream for approximately 42 hours.
“She’s going to stay inside the barn until her 42-hour quarantine is finished,” Hunter said. “But once that’s done, she’ll spend the day walking and the trainer, who is also going to be riding her in the mornings, gets in on the morning of the 20th, so he will be riding her on the morning of the 20th on the track.”
Hunter said there is a great deal of excitement regarding Aerolithe’s participation in the Turf Invitational. “To be able to bring over a Japanese horse to America, especially with the recent issues with Japanese cargo companies not being able to fly in or out of Japan, it’s a huge get,” she said. “The filly really wanted to go to the Breeders’ Cup but we were denied because of airplane issues. So they were really keen on coming to America and giving it a go. She’s a really game filly with good speed and a lot of heart so they were really keen on giving her a chance in the United States.”
Aerolithe is not the only international competitor on Pegasus World Cup Invitational day. Kukulkan, Mexico’s undefeated Triple Crown winner who was victorious in the Clasico del Caribe at Gulfstream in December, will return to compete in the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus while Ireland’s Magic Wand will compete in the inaugural running of the World Turf Cup.
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