Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren Jr.’s City of Light concluded his racing career in electric fashion Saturday at Gulfstream Park, scoring a brilliant 5 ¾-length triumph in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1).
The third edition of the Pegasus World Cup, the richest race in North America, co-headlined Saturday’s 12-race program with the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), North America’s richest turf race won by Bricks and Mortar.
The $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series was offered in concert with world-class entertainment provided by Snoop Dogg and Golden Globe-winning artist Mark Ronson at Gulfstream’s Pegasus LIV Stretch Village,
Having split his first two meetings with Accelerate, City of Light got the better of Saturday’s 3-2 favorite in their final showdown before both multiple Grade 1 winners head off to Lane’s End Farm in Versailles, KY to begin their new careers as stallions.
Sent to post as the 9-5 second betting choice in a field of 12, City of Light stalked the pace set by Patternrecognition around the first turn and along the backstretch past fractions of 23.23 and 46.84 seconds for the first half-mile. The Michael McCarthy-trained 5-year-old inherited the lead on the far turn when Patternrecognition dropped back and opened a clear lead on the turn into the homestretch, where Joel Rosario put Accelerate into a full drive after tracking City of Light throughout the running of the race. Set down for the drive by Javier Castellano entering the stretch, City of Light responded to draw away with compete authority.
2019 Pegasus World Cup Replay
“I had a perfect trip. That’s what I was looking for today. I know Patternrecognition on the outside has speed. I had to use him a little bit early to get the positon I was looking for. Watching all the races, speed was holding pretty good. The track is in good condition. We got a lot of rain, nothing we can do. I think it worked out perfect,” said Castellano, who rode City of Light in a 2 ¾-length triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs. “I used the horse a little bit to get my spot, and then tried to control the race all the way. This is just amazing. It’s what we all want, to be able to win a race like this.”
Charles Fipke’s Seeking the Soul, who finished second behind City of Light in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, rallied from off the pace along the rail to finish second again behind the McCarthy trainee.
“He ran great. Nice horse, a great horse that beat us. He [jockey John Velazquez] said he got stopped on the turn; that might have cost us a little bit,” Seeking the Soul’s trainer Dallas Stewart said. “It would have been great to have been first, but our horse ran great. I’m very proud of him.”
Fourth Grade 1 for City of Light
City of Light ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.71 over a sloppy track to conclude his career with his sixth victory and fourth Grade 1 success in 11 starts.
“It’s just wonderful. When he broke well and was able to kind of ease out outside of horses coming to the mile pole, I was very, very happy. Turning up the backside, Javier eased him off the fence. It looked like everybody was content with their position up the backside,” McCarthy said. “When Javier started moving at the half-mile pole, it didn’t appear that anybody was really pressuring him. He was able to go ahead and hold off his run for a little bit. Once he switched leads coming into the lane, you saw what happened. It was over. I’m very happy for the horse. He’s an amazing animal, an amazing athlete.”
Accelerate finished third, another 1 ½ lengths back and 4 ¾ lengths ahead of Bravazo. John Sadler-trained Accelerate, who earned the Eclipse Award as 2018’s outstanding older dirt male Thursday evening at Gulfstream Park, entered the Pegasus on a streak of four Grade 1 stakes wins, including a victory in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) last time out.
“This horse you have to ride him the whole time, and he was comfortable. I thought he was fine where he was and turning for home he looked OK, but Javier had so much horse,” Rosario said. When he turned him loose he just went on. My horse kept trying but the horse in front had a better trip.”
Audible finished fifth, followed by Gunnevera, True Timber, Imperative, Tom’s d’Etat, Something Awesome, Kukulkan and Patternrecognition.