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Warm Heart Out to Make History in Pegasus Turf

Warm Heart , a 4-year-old daughter of Galileo (IRE), was tabbed as the 9-5 morning-line favorite for the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1T) at Gulfstream Park Jan. 27.

The Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and Westerberg-owned bay filly will break from post position No. 9 under jockey Ryan Moore in what is expected to be her final start before being retired.

Warm Heart will try to become the first female to win the 1 1/8-mile race since it was renamed from being the Gulfstream Park Turf in 2019.

Pegasus Turf - Draw - GP - 012124
Photo: Coglianese Photos

The field for the 2024 Pegasus Cup Turf Invitational

Aidan O’Brien also seeks to become the first European trainer to capture the race since it was rebranded.

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Bred by Coolmore and out of the Australian mare Sea Siren (AUS), Warm Heart has won five of 10 career starts. She finished a strong second to the brilliant Inspiral  in the Breeder’s Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1T) at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 4, then ran third in the Hong Kong Vase (G1) Dec. 10.

“She’s covered a lot of miles,” said Chris Armstrong, racing secretary for the Ireland-based O’Brien. “She’s a very tough filly. She’s been on the go since early last season, and she’s come through the ranks. Warm Heart has done very well for us.

“She obviously had a good run at the Breeders’ Cup and then again in Hong Kong. She’s been training well since, and after Hong Kong, Aidan thought this would be the perfect spot for her, so it’s all systems go.”

West Point Thoroughbreds and Woodford Racing’s Integration , a 4-year-old son of Quality Road  , will start from post position No. 3 under Tyler Gaffalione as the second choice at 3-1.

The lightly raced Integration, bred by Larkin Armstrong, has won all three career starts, including the Virginia Derby (G3T) at Colonial Downs Sept. 9 and the Hill Prince Stakes (G2T) at Aqueduct Racetrack Nov. 18, when he made the lead heading into the upper stretch before powering home.

Integration wins the 2023 Hill Prince Stakes at Aqueduct
Photo: Coglianese Photos/Walter Wlodarczyk

Integration wins the 2023 Hill Prince Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack

“We showed in New York he’s got enough speed if we want to use it to lay wherever we want to lay,” trainer Shug McGaughey said. “So, we’ll just have to kind of leave that up to Tyler.

‘But I’d rather be on the inside there with the kind of configurations of the turf course than be on the outside and something happens and you had to use him a little bit more, you got hung out the whole way.”

Atone , a 7-year-old Into Mischief   gelding who won the race last year, drew the inside post position with jockey Paco Lopez on Sunday. Trainer Mike Maker will be aiming for a third Pegasus World Cup Turf win. He also won in 2020 with Zulu Alpha.

“This race was always in the back of our mind,” said Nolan Ramsey, assistant to Maker. “This time of year, long-distance turf races are few and far between, especially one with this kind of purse, so that always makes you think about it. His form wasn’t quite what it was last year, so he really needed to tell us that he was ready to tackle this kind of race.”

Atone and Irad Ortiz win the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational S. presented by Baccarat (Gr. 1) Gulfstream Park, Hallandale Beach, FL, Jan. 28, 2023, Mathea Kelley
Photo: Mathea Kelley

Atone gets a pat from Irad Ortiz after his victory in the 2023 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational Stakes at Gulfstream Park

Owned by Three Diamonds Farm and bred by Godolphin, Atone has not won in six races since his Pegasus victory. His best finish in that time was a third in his last race, a $62,500 optional claiming one-mile turf race at Gulfstream Park Dec. 2.

“I wasn’t completely disappointed with his prep in the allowance. I don’t think it was necessarily the ideal spot, and the way the race unfolded really wasn’t to his advantage,” Ramsey said. “But just the way he came out of the race and being able to have that little bit of extra time from the allowance coming into this race, he showed us he’s ready.”

Jockey Irad Ortiz, who has won four of the last five Pegasus World Cup Turf races, will be aboard 15-1 I’m Very Busy  from post position No 4. The Team Hanley, Richard Schermerhorn, and Paul Braverman-owned 4-year-old son of Cloud Computing   is coming off a second-place finish in the Hill Prince, in which he finished five lengths behind Integration.

The remaining Pegasus Word Cup Turf field includes 20-1 Jerry the Nipper  in post position No. 2, 15-1 Webslinger  in post position No. 5, 12-1 Kingmax  in post position No. 6, 12-1 Adhamo  in post position No. 7, 8-1 Master Piece  in post position No. 8, 15-1 Shirl’s Speight  in post position No. 10, 10-1 Main Event  in post position No. 11, and 15-1 Catnip  in post position No. 12.

Entries: 1/ST BET Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational S. (G1T)

Gulfstream Park, Saturday, January 27, 2024, Race 12

  • Grade IT
  • 1 1/8m
  • Turf
  • $1,000,000
  • 4 yo’s & up
  • 4:55 PM (local)

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