City of Light — $5.80–$4.30–$3.00 – lit up a dreary, rainy South Florida Saturday in commanding style, dispatching eleven rivals in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup. His final time was 1:34.35 for the one mile and one eighth over a surface labeled sloppy (sealed). However, it was Hidden Scroll who may have stolen the thunder — with an eye-popping, wire to wire maiden score in an earlier race that now has race fans thinking he’s a legitimate Kentucky Derby contender.
Hidden Scroll Now On Kentucky Derby Radar
Hidden Scroll –$18.00 –$9.60 — $6.20 — posted a wickedly fast, 14-length maiden win over a full field of 12 rivals. The three-year-old son of Hard Spun stopped the timer in 1:21.95 for the mile event. The Bill Mott student immediately stamped himself as a Kentucky Derby hopeful, likely to be one of the favorites on the South Florida path toward Churchill Downs, the first Saturday in May.
Mott, one of North America’s leading trainers, is known for his deliberate training style. His training style does not push young horses too fast, too soon. That’s why Hidden Scroll’s huge victory margin despite only mild urging from jockey Joel Rosario produced immediate Kentucky Derby chatter. Additionally, Hidden Scroll’s breeding suggests the one mile and a quarter Kentucky Derby distance will not be a problem for the bay colt.
Hidden Scroll joins War of Will, last week’s Lacomte Stakes winner at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans among 2019 starters currently building a reputation for speed and stamina. Neither may meet the 2018 two-year-old champ, Bob Baffert’s California-based Game Winner or each other until the Kentucky Derby because the three are currently on different paths to Louisville.
The Florida road to Kentucky Derby glory continues with the Fountain of Youth Stakes on March 2 and the Florida Derby on March 30. Both races are at Gulfstream Park.
City of Light and Accelerate off to Breeding Shed
Both Horse of the Year runner-up Accelerate, who went off at odds of 3/2 and finished a game third, are retiring and headed to Kentucky to begin their stud careers.
The Pegasus winner is a five-year-old son of top sire Quality Road and his connections took home $4 million for the 5 ¾ length victory. Seeking the Soul — $19.20–$8.20 was second followed 2 ½ lengths behind by Accelerate — $2.80
Michael McCarthy trains City of Light and jockey Javier Castellano was in the saddle.
This was the third renewal of the Pegasus World Cup. This year, the connections of all twelve entrants paid $500,000 for the right to enter the starting gate in the unique “pay for play” event at one mile and an eighth event on the Gulfstream dirt course.
The first edition of the Pegasus went to Arrogate and last year’s to Gun Runner.
The Saturday card at Gulfstream also featured the first Pegasus Turf for a total purse of just under $7 million. The winner was Bricks and Mortar with Irad Ortiz, Jr. in the saddle for for 2018 Eclipse Award winning trainer Chad Brown. The final time for the son of Giants Causeway, over a yielding turf course, was 1:54.59 for the one-mile and three-sixteenths event.