Some horses don't put as much into their work because natural athleticism alone is enough for them to get the job done. That's just what Tom's d'Etat did for trainer Al Stall, Jr. on Saturday morning in his penultimate work for the Grade I $9 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park.
Under mostly cloudy skies at the Fair Grounds, the G M B owned 6-year-old son of Smart Strike hit the track immediately following the renovation break and drilled through five furlongs in 1:00.00 over a fast main track under Shaun Bridgmohan.
The move was his second breeze since a triumph in the Tenacious Stakes on December 22. Last Saturday, he went a half-mile in 49.00.
“We designed a five eighths work for Tom's d'Etat and it was executed properly,” Stall said. “He had a target about four or five lengths in front of him. He turned off, relaxed and kicked on past him. As in all his works, the best thing about it was the gallop out. His gallop out around the turn and around the backside was just beautiful. This is the one where we let him do something, in a nine million dollar race you don't want to leave anything on the field.”
Lightly raced for a 6-year-old, Tom's d'Etat scored his fourth victory in a row in the Tenacious Stakes last time out. Ankle issues put him on the shelf for 16 months following a nine-length allowance win at Saratoga in July 2017, where he defeated graded stakes winner Far From Over. He was able to return from the hiatus in winning fashion when defeating stakes winners Pioneer Spirit and Guest Suite over a fast main track at Churchill Downs in November in a third-level allowance race. Tom's d'Etat will attempt his fifth consecutive victory in the Pegasus World Cup, which will be his graded stakes debut.
“Things come easy to him,” Stall said. “He can't even blow out a match right now. He just lengthened his stride and went on about his business. He was ready for his meal. He's like that on a day-to-day basis; he just hangs his numbers up when we ask him to.”
Depending on the forecast, Tom's d'Etat will breeze for the final time before the Pegasus World Cup either Saturday or Sunday of next weekend.
Tom's d'Etat is out of the Giant's Causeway broodmare Julia Tuttle, whose dam Candy Cane (Arg.) is a full-sister to multiple champion producing stallion Candy Ride (Arg.).He was a $330,000 purchase from the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2014 from the consignment barn of Hunter Valley Farm and was bred in Kentucky by SF Bloodstock.
Also drilling through five-eighths in 1:00.00 is fellow Pegasus World Cup aspirant Seeking the Soul.
Fifth in last year's Pegasus, the Charles Fipke-owned 6-year-old son of Perfect Soul (Ire.) was third in the Grade I Clark Handicap last out, a race which he won in 2017 for trainer Dallas Stewart.
Seeking the Soul is out of the Grade I placed Seeking the Gold broodmare Seeking the Title, who is a maternal granddaughter of iconic Hall of Fame mare Personal Ensign.
Both Tom's d'Etat and Seeking the Soul recorded the fastest of 77 works at the five-eighths distance.
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