Wrangler Racing Aces Blog
Going the Distance in the Pegasus Cup and Magnolia Stakes
By Jonathan Horowitz and Martha Claussen | February 1, 2017
Pegasus World Cup Impact on the Sport of Horseracing
By Jonathan Horowitz
Madonna and Justin Timberlake sang, “We only got four minutes to save the world.” Arrogate only needed one minute, forty-seven seconds. From when the gates opened at 5:46 p.m. Eastern for the inaugural Pegasus World Cup, the world’s richest horse race with a $12 million purse, to when Arrogate crossed the finish line at Miami’s Gulfstream Park at 5:48 p.m., the sport of horse racing changed dramatically.
Arrogate’s 4 3/4-length victory vaulted him into superstardom. He took complete hold of the baton of as best in American racing from California Chrome, who was making the final start of his career and who had suffered defeat to Arrogate in their previous meeting in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita. One of the remarkable aspects of horse racing that keeps the sport going is its ability to find new stars – from American Pharoah’s Triple Crown in 2015 to California Chrome’s becoming the richest racehorse of all time in 2016 to, well, the sky appears to be the limit for Arrogate in 2017.
The Pegasus World Cup also shed the spotlight on why big events are critical for horse racing’s viability and growth. Although horse racing is structurally regional with racing circuits and state racing commissions, the sports is at its finest for big events that bring the biggest stars together. With the exception of the Triple Crown, the Pegasus was the most-watched afternoon telecast the sport has seen since American Pharoah’s final career start in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic. The choice of MMA superstar Conor McGregor as spokesman for the race was a bold move that branded horse racing as hip and millennial.
Quarter Horse racing also understands the importance of big events that bring the best in the country together. The Bank of America Challenge Championships have been a tremendous foundation for the sport. With the right stars and large stage, horse racing will continue to grow.
Distance Specialists Square Off Saturday at Louisiana Downs
By Martha Claussen
Louisiana Downs will present the $25,000 Magnolia Stakes for accredited Louisiana-breds on Saturday, February 4. The 870-yard feature drew on overflow field of distance runners with two-also eligibles looking for a spot in the starting gate.
#1 Rakin In The Jax drew the enviable rail post position on Louisiana Downs’ one mile oval. The 5-year-old gelding is owned and bred by Angela Dowden and trained by Jason Magnon. He has won four of his 12 starts at 870-yards and ran third in Louisiana Downs’ opening day Marathon Stakes. Lucas Constantin is a very good “hook” rider and knows this gelding well.
Other than his wide draw, it’s hard to argue against #7 Im Mighty Fast, who had his four-race 870-yard win streak snapped in December at Evangeline Downs. Now 4-years-old, the son of Mighty Corona loves this distance with six wins from nine starts. Jose Rodriguez rides for trainer Guadalupe Tristan.
Tough post position as well for #8 Sir Lucky Strike, a 5-year-old son of Strong Hope, who has an excellent record at 870-yards. Jockey Donell Blake guided him to three consecutive victories at Delta Downs, Fair Grounds and Evangeline Downs. His has run fourth in his last two races, but could fire fresh in his first start in 2017.
#2 Shining Presence is making his debut at 870 yards for noted conditioner Kenneth Roberts, Sr. The First to Shine gelding is the highest earner in the field, largely from his runner-up finish in the rich 2015 Lee Berwick Futurity. Rider Donald Watson has done well pointing out the Roberts runners that might need a little more real estate, so don’t ignore this one, who is 8-1 in the morning line, and could surprise!
Post time is 1 p.m. (Central) with the Magnolia Stakes to run as the sixth race (3 p.m.) on the card.
Martha Claussen’s Top Four Selections:
#1 Rakin In The Jax
#7 Im Mighty Fast
#8 Sir Lucky Strike
#2 Shining Presence
Wrangler Racing Aces in February
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