Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence’s Bricks and Mortar, racing for just the second time off a 14 ½-month layoff and first back in graded-stakes competition, rallied from mid-pack with a powerful run through the stretch to capture the inaugural $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
The debut of the 1 3/16-mile Pegasus Turf for 4-year-olds and up immediately preceded City of Light’s romp in the third running of the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) – the richest races on either surface in North America – on a blockbuster 12-race $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series program at Gulfstream Park.
Ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. for trainer Chad Brown – each of whom were crowned 2018 Eclipse Award champions two days prior at Gulfstream’s Sport of Kings Theater – Bricks and Mortar ($7.60) completed the distance in 1:54.59 over a yielding course to win by 2 ½ lengths.
Irish import Magic Wand, one of three females in the race, put in a frantic late run to catch fellow Grade 2 winner Delta Prince by a neck for second. It was 1 ¾ lengths back to Catapult in fourth, followed by Channel Maker, 2-1 favorite Yoshida, Next Shares, Dubby Dubbie, Japanese mare Aerolithe and Fahan Mura.
“Irad rode him beautiful,” Brown said. “The horse came ready and handled the course. Everything worked out perfectly.”
Pegasus World Cup Turf Replay
Front-running California-based mare Fahan Mura, sent off at 40-1, sprinted to her customary spot on the lead and took the field of 10 through a quarter-mile in 22.94 seconds and a half in 47.93, pressed by Aerolithe and 99-1 long shot Dubby Dubbie, but all three were overtaken by a bold move from Catapult on the outside as they approached the far turn.
Ortiz had Bricks and Mortar settled in seventh between horses but well within striking range, putting the 5-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway in the clear four wide and moving into third straightening for home. Just as Delta Prince wrested a short lead from rail-running Catapult, Bricks and Mortar swooped by on the outside and slingshot past, separating from his rivals with every stride.
“I got a perfect trip. My horse put me in a good position and just held it together, saving ground,” Ortiz said. “When I got him kicked out, he exploded.”
Bricks and Mortar Perfect at Gulfstream Park
Bricks and Mortar was making just his eighth career start, improving to 3-0 over the Gulfstream course. He broke his maiden at first asking in February 2017 and won a one-mile optional claiming allowance Dec. 22 in his first race since finishing third behind Yoshida in the Hill Prince Oct. 7, 2017 at Belmont Park.
“The horse is good, but the trainer we have to get him credit,” Ortiz said. “He gave him some time off and brought him back, gave him one race in the allowance race and brought him back ready for this race. That’s a lot of work. Not too many trainers can do that. He’s got good horses, but he knows what he’s doing.”
Known for his success with turf horses, Brown was patient bringing back Bricks and Mortar, winner of the Manila Stakes and National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame (G2), the latter over Yoshida, in successive starts in the summer of 2017.
“For a little while there, I didn’t think I’d have a horse for the race. I had been resting a lot of them. Bricks and Mortar came in fresh when I was resting other ones. Thanks to Seth [Klarman] and Bill [Lawrence], they were game enough to put up a big entry fee and give it a shot. The horse just performed beautifully,” Brown said.
“Ian Brennan at Stonestreet Farm did a terrific job rehabbing this horse,” he added. “Dr. Larry Bramlage worked on this horse about 16 months ago when it looked like he might have a career-ending injury. He fixed him. There was a lot of teamwork, a lot of patience. When you go into a race this big take a big gamble – it paid off today.”