Queen Goddess Takes The Pegasus F&M Turf

Queen Goddess | Lauren King

Lightly raced Queen Goddess (Empire Maker) rewarded her connections' faith to successfully invade from California and annex Saturday's GIII Pegasus F/M Turf. Originally campaigned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and her breeder, Geoff Nixon's TOLO Thoroughbreds, after RNA'ing for $285,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling, the Michael McCarthy trainee made the grade in the rained-off GI American Oaks two Decembers ago and added the GIII Santa Ana S. on the Arcadia lawn last March. She was second in May's 1 1/2-mile GIII Santa Barbara S., but hadn't been back on the track since then when she fetched $1,525,000 at Fasig-Tipton November, with Gary Barber essentially buying out TOLO's piece. Resurfacing on New Year's Eve, the dark bay dominated Santa Anita's GIII Robert J. Frankel S. on the front end going a sixteenth farther than this.    Taken in hand by Luis Saez to try and avoid a four-way scramble into the first turn, Queen Goddess settled nicely within striking distance and out in the clear behind splits of :23.76 and :48.03. She ranged up three deep under confident Luis Saez handling nearing the lane, quickly blew the race apart and held safe a late bid from Shantisara to get the job done.

“She ran pretty big,” Saez said. “Today she proved she's a beautiful and special filly. We knew she had a lot of speed but inside they had speed, too, so the plan was to try to follow the speed and be right behind, and everything went according to plan. It was perfect.”

Eclipse's Aron Wellman said, “She's matured. She's a filly we always thought would get better with age. The two times we sent her east were a very ambitious run [when fifth at 41-1] in the [2021 GI] Queen Elizabeth [II Challenge Cup] and a dirt try in the [2022 GIII] Bayakoa [at Oaklawn, where she also finished fifth]. She wasn't quite ready for it. Today we felt good about our chances.”

Pedigree Notes:

Queen Goddess is one of 39 Northern Hemisphere graded winners for her late, great sire, but the only out of a Lemon Drop Kid mare. Lemon Drop Kid is the damsire of 28 graded/group winners worldwide.

The winner's dam hails from the family of GISW Persistently (Smoke Glacken) and GSWs Good Reward (Storm Cat) and Pure Prize (Storm Cat)–the latter sired Saturday's GIII William L. McKnight S. winner Red Knight. Royal Story was acquired privately by Nixon after finishing second by a head in the 2015 Hut Hut S. at Gulfstream Park West, but failed to pan out on the track after that. She sold to Leopoldo Fernandez Pujals's Yeguada Centurion for $125,000 in foal to Mendelssohn at the 2019 Keeneland November sale and was exported to France. The resulting foal sold for €235,000 to agent Daithi Harvey for Highland Yard at the 2021 Arqana August Yearling sale.

Saturday, Gulfstream Park
TAA PEGASUS WORLD CUP FILLY AND MARE TURF INVITATIONAL S. PRESENTED BY PEPSI-GIII, $490,300, Gulfstream, 1-28, 4yo/up, f/m, 1 1/16mT, 1:41.91, fm.
1–QUEEN GODDESS, 121, m, 5, by Empire Maker
1st Dam: Royal Story (SP), by Lemon Drop Kid
2nd Dam: Bauble, by Tale of the Cat
3rd Dam: Just Reward, by Deputy Minister
($285,000 RNA Ylg '19 FTSAUG; $1,525,000 4yo '22 FTKNOV). O-Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners & Gary Barber; B-Tolo Thoroughbreds (KY); T-Michael W McCarthy; J-Luis Saez. $291,000. Lifetime Record: 11-6-2-1, $761,580. Werk Nick Rating: B. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Click for the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Shantisara (Ire), 119, m, 5, Coulsty (Ire)–Kharana (Ire), by Dalakhani (Ire). (10,000gns 2yo '20 TATGBR). O-Madaket Stables LLC, Michael Dubb & Robert V LaPenta; B-Mr Oliver Donlon (IRE); T-Chad C Brown. $97,000.
3–Lady Rockstar (GB), 119, m, 5, Frankel (GB)–Noozhah (GB), by Singspiel (Ire). O-Steven Parkin; B-Branton Court Stud (GB); T-Brendan P Walsh. $48,500.
Margins: 1HF, 2 3/4, 2 3/4. Odds: 4.20, 2.50, 7.50.
Also Ran: Dalika (Ger), Wakanaka (Ire), Artie's Princess, Justify My Love (Brz), Sweet Enough (GB). Scratched: Bay Storm, Mona Stella, Perseverancia. Click for the Equibase.com chart or the TJCIS.com PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

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