Salomon Del Valle's Margoth purchased a spot in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), confirming multiple graded-stakes winner Gunnevera for North America's richest race Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park.
Gunnevera, who finished third in last year's Pegasus World Cup, most recently ran second in the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) Nov. 3.
“I'm paying all the money myself,” said Del Valle, a Venezuelan businessman who entered Gunnevera in a partnership in last year's Pegasus. “I'm happy to be in the race.”
The Pegasus World Cup will be accompanied by the inaugural running of $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) on the Jan. 26 program in the newly created $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series. Owners can secure a spot in the starting gate for the Pegasus World Cup for a $500,000 fee and will be given preference in purchasing a spot in the Pegasus World Cup Turf for $500,000. A $1 million bonus is being offered if an owner should win both races.
Gunnevera, who has $4.1 million in career earnings, captured the 2017 Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream. The Antonio Sano-trained 4-year-old son of Dialed In has also won the 2016 Saratoga Special (G2) and the $1 million Delta Jackpot (G3) and has been Grade 1 stakes-placed in the 2017 Travers (G1) and the 2018 Woodward (G1) at Saratoga.
“I have a good chance. He just got beat by a length in the Breeders' Cup,” Sano said. “Maybe, there will be more speed in the Pegasus. One more chance. It's in my house.”
In addition to Gunnevera, Hronis Racing's Breeders' Cup Classic winner Accelerate, Charles Fipke's Seeking the Soul, and Calumet Farm's Bravazo and True Timber are confirmed for the Pegasus World Cup. Tabor, Magnier and Smith's Coolmore has also purchased a spot for a horse to be determined.
Audible, the 2018 Florida Derby (G1) winner, is also being pointed to the Pegasus World Cup and is scheduled to be entered in next Saturday's $100,000 Harlan's Holiday Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream to prep for the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus. Owned by China Horse Club International, WinStar Farm, Starlight Racing, and Head of Plains Partners, Todd Pletcher-trained Audible finished third in this year's Kentucky Derby (G1).
Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence's Patternrecognition, who defeated True Timber by three-quarters of a length in the Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct last time out, is also under consideration for the Pegasus.
The Stronach Group, currently negotiating with other groups, has only a few open spots remaining.
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