Pegasus connections get to see horse for the first time
Contenders Keen Ice, Neolithic Breeze Saturday
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Pegasus World Cup contender Breaking Lucky became acquainted with the Gulfstream Park paddock Saturday afternoon, and at the same time some of the newest partners in the graded stakes winner had the opportunity to see him in the flesh for the first time.
Earlier this week it was announced that Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and West Point Thoroughbreds partnered with Breaking Lucky’s owner, Tom Keithley of Gunpowder Farms LLC, to run the 5-year-old in the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park Jan. 28.
On hand Saturday to watch Breaking Lucky paddock school was Dean Reeves of Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, one of the original Pegasus stakeholders, and Terry Finley of West Point Thoroughbreds. Also joining Reeves to see Breaking Lucky was Randy Hill, Reeves’ partner as a stakeholder.
“Here we are and hooked up with a couple of other partners,” Reeves said as he waited for Breaking Lucky’s arrival in the paddock. “I had never met Tom, and I will get to meet him today. Terry I knew, and Randy and I have had horses together, so now the four of us are in on this horse and all of it is because of the Pegasus. I think part of the whole uniqueness of the Pegasus is bringing a lot of owners and trainers, and so forth, together, who may or may not have ever gotten together.”
Breaking Lucky’s trainer, Reade Baker, was pleased with the schooling session, even though the son of Lookin At Lucky got warm. Baker shipped Breaking Lucky to Gulfstream Park from his Palm Beach Downs base on Saturday morning.
“He gets hot the first time we school him,” Baker remarked. “We’ll school him again next week and he will be better. And then we’ll school him again right before the race, and he will be fine.”
The trainer remarked that the Ontario-bred, who has won three of 16 starts, including the Seagram Cup (G3) at Woodbine last year, has flourished as he has gotten older.
“The Clark was a huge effort,” Baker said. “There were some very, very good horses in there that he beat. He is getting better as he has gotten older. I’m definitely excited about this race. It’s big money . . . we’re in the big time here.”
Pegasus Contenders Keen Ice, Neolithic Breeze Saturday
Grade 1 winner Keen Ice and Todd Pletcher-trained stablemate Neolithic, an impressive allowance winner Dec. 14 at Gulfstream, each put in their penultimate Pegasus work Saturday morning at Palm Beach Downs.
Keen Ice, with Javier Castellano aboard, went five furlongs in 1:00.80 in company with fellow Grade 1 winner Greenpointcrusader. Neolithic, breezing under Hall of Famer John Velazquez, was clocked in the same time working with multiple graded stakes winner Madefromlucky. Both jockeys will retain the mount for the Pegasus.
“Both of them worked very well. I was pleased with both of them. Everything seems in good order,” Pletcher said. “Everything’s gone according to plan. We’re satisfied with the way they’ve been training, so hopefully they have another good two weeks.”
Coming off a runner-up finish to stablemate Stanford in the Harlan’s Holiday (G3) Dec. 17 at Gulfstream, Keen Ice was third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) behind 2016 Horse of the Year finalists Arrogate and California Chrome, who are poised for a rematch in the Pegasus.
Representing Pegasus stakeholder Ronald and Jerry Frankel in partnership with Donegal Racing, Keen Ice’s has not won since his upset of Triple Crown champion American Pharoah in the 2015 Travers (G1) at Saratoga.
Owned by Pegasus stakeholder Starlight Racing, Neolithic ran second in the Discovery (G3) in mid-November at Aqueduct before rolling to a front-running nine-length victory in a 1 1/16-mile allowance in 1:41.58.
“All you can really do is hope to have your horse prepared to run the best race that they’re capable of and see how they stack up against two of the best horses in the world,” Pletcher said.