GISW Proxy Heads Pegasus Workers

Proxy winning last fall | Coady

Godolphin's Proxy (Tapit) had his last major workout at the Fair Grounds Saturday in preparation for the GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Jan. 28. The 5-year-old official time for the six-furlong move to the seven-eighths pole was 1:13.20, the fastest of two works at the distance Saturday morning.

Working in tandem with stablemate Global Sensation (Into Mischief), the pair covered five-eighths in 1:00.40, with Proxy working an additional eighth-mile past the wire. With a crush of horses working right after the track's renovation break, exercise rider Arturo Aparicio ran into traffic past the wire and had to steer Proxy around a couple of horses galloping out from their own workout.

“Basically Proxy had to go around those horses and weave a little bit to navigate around the turn,” Stidham explained. “It probably cost him a length or two in the final time. But a very nice work. He finished up well and went on out real nice and continued to gallop out well down the backside.”

He added, “The last work [five-eighths in a minute flat] and this work were the two important works. I just wanted to see him finish up willingly and then continue around the turn with good energy. He did that last time and this time really well.”

Runner-up in the GIII Lecomte S. and GII Risen Star S. in the spring of his sophomore season, the homebred finished fourth in the GII Louisiana Derby and GIII Lexington S. before bowing out for the remainder of the season. In 2022, he returned with an allowance win in New Orleans in February before hitting the board in his next four starts, including a third in the GII Stephen Foster S. last summer. Trying Grade I company for the first time in the Nov. 25 Clark, he came home a 3/4-length winner going nine furlongs, the same distance as the Pegasus.

“We talk about it, that Proxy wasn't quite where he needed to be to go into the Triple Crown,” Stidham explained. “It wasn't 'Oh well, why don't we do this or that?' It was a done deal. Believe me, the reason [2021 G1 Dubai World Cup scorer] Mystic Guide [Ghostzapper] did what he did was because of that, allowing us to go slow with him and skip some of the big races, including the Breeders' Cup. With Proxy, skipping the Triple Crown has allowed us to get to winning the Clark. I don't think a lot of people realize how important those decisions are in a horse's career, for their future.”

Also working toward the Pegasus, Saffie Joseph Jr. sent out Daniel Alonso's Skippylongstocking (Exaggerator) and Fernando Vine Ode and Michael and Jules Iavarone's O'Connor (Chi) (Boboman) to the main track at Palm Meadows for easy half-mile breezes Saturday morning.

Skippylongstocking breezed a half-mile in :48.50 (18/99), while O'Connor was caught in :51.05 (88/99) at Gulfstream's satellite training facility in Palm Beach County. Both horses were breezing for the first time since running in the GIII Harlan's Holiday S., won by Skippylongstocking. O'Connor finished fourth in the 8 1/2-furlong test Dec. 31. Joseph Jr. also trains White Abarrio (Race Day), who prepped for the Pegasus at Gulfstream Friday morning with a five-furlong work in :59.24.

Joseph also sent Ken Ramsey and the Estate of Sarah Ramsay's Artie's Princess (We Miss Artie) to Palm Meadows' main track for a half-mile breeze in :48.45 in preparation for a start in the GIII Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf invitational.

At Santa Anita Saturday, GI Awesome Again winner Defunded (Dialed In) also worked in advance of the Pegasus World Cup. The Bob Baffert trainee drilled six furlongs in 1:12.6.

Taking on the Pegasus Turf

At Santa Anita Saturday morning, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners' Speaking Scout (Mr Speaker), victorious in the Dec. 3 GI Hollywood Derby, breezed a half-mile in :48.20 for a start in the GI Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational. Also pointing toward the Turf, Three Diamonds Farm's Atone posted his third straight bullet workout Saturday at Gulfstream, powering through five-eighths of a mile in :59.96 (1/48). The prior two weeks, Atone worked in :59.04 and :59.20.

A $130,000 Fasig-Tipton July purchase, he led all the way through a leisurely pace to win his last start, an Aqueduct turf allowance Nov. 10.

“He's in top form. The freshening did him well, so I expect another big performance from him,” said trainer Mike Maker, who won the 2020 Pegasus Turf with Zulu Alpha. “He's always been a straightforward horse, works well, puts a bunch into his gallops.”

For the second straight year, Atone needed defections from the Pegasus Turf's original invitees in order to run. Last year, he finished fourth, losing by a total of 1 3/4 lengths to two-time winner Colonel Liam (Liam's Map).

While the 6-year-old gelding has never won a stakes, he has hot the board five times in graded-stakes over the past 13 months.

“He's been a little bit of a hard-luck horse,” Maker said. “He's a lot more mature this year than he was last year.”

Maker also indicated Mark Breen's Endorsed (Medaglia d'Oro), fourth in last year's Pegasus World Cup at 85-1 odds, and Nice Guy Stables' GIII Knickerbocker S. winner King Cause (Creative Cause), who is awaiting a spot in the Pegasus Turf, would run if they get into their respective races.

Both horses are currently on the reserve list. The final invitational lists will be released Wednesday, Jan. 18 with the draw for all Pegasus races to take place Sunday, Jan. 22.

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