All six graded stakes on Saturday’s Gulfstream card, topped by Mucho Gusto’s dominant win in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup (G1), went to Kentucky-bred horses.
Mucho Gusto, trained by Bob Baffert for HRH Prince Faisal Bin Khaled, was much the best in the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus. He shot right to the lead out of the gate, then eased back to fourth before making a big move on the final turn and pulling away in the stretch to win by 4 1/2-lengths under Irad Ortiz, Jr.
“He looked great in the warm up, and Irad Ortiz did a pretty masterful job. He had me a little bit worried the way he was down inside like that, but he knew what he was doing,” said Baffert.
Mucho Gusto is the first Grade 1 winner for his sire Mucho Macho Man, who stands at Adena Springs. Purchased for $625,000 at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale had four Grade 3 victories prior to Saturday. His record is now 6-2-2 in 11 starts, with earnings of $2,579,800.
The second Grade 1 on the card was the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1), won by Michael Hui’s Zulu Alpha. A son of Street Cry (IRE), Zulu Alpha took the 1 3/16-mile race by two lengths, coming from tenth with three furlongs to run. Like Mucho Gusto, Zulu Alpha had four graded stakes on his resume before getting his first Grade 1 win on Saturday. He was bred by Calumet Farm from the A.P. Indy mare Zori, who is a half-sister to Eclipse Award winner Ajina.
The lone Grade 2 on the card, the Inside Information S. (G2), went to 5-year-old Pink Sands, a daughter of leading sire Tapit out of Grade 1 winner Her Smile. Pink Sands was bred by KatieRich Farms and is owned by Gainesway Stable (where Tapit stands) and Andrew Rosen. Winner of last year’s Rampart S. (G3), Pink Sands is 6-3-4 in 18 starts and has earned $468,300.
Saturday’s races included three Grade 3 events: the Fred Hooper S., the La Prevoyante S. and the W. L. McKnight S.
The Hooper was won by Marianne Stribling, et al’s Phat Man, the first graded stakes win and third black type victory overall for the 3-year-old bred by Kim and Rodney Nardelli. Phat Man, by Munnings is out of Nicole’s Dream, a turf sprint specialist who won 11 stakes in her career. After selling most recently for $20,000, Phat Man has gone on to earn $461,853 to date.
The La Prevoyante S. went to Mean Mary, a 4-year-old daughter of the late Scat Daddy bred by her owner Alex Cambell, Jr. Mean Mary took the 1 1/2-mile turf marathon by a commanding five lengths in what was her first graded stakes win. She is a daughter of Ashland S. (G1) winner Karlovy Vary.
Spooky Channel, a son of Calumet Farm’s English Channel, won the McKnight by a neck, running down Cross Border in deep stretch in the 1 1/2-mile turf contest for older males. Spooky Channel was bred by Calumet and is owned by Terry Hamilton. The McKnight also marked Spooky Channel’s first graded score, following a trio of listed stakes wins.