Cyberknife Looking to Follow Sire’s Formula for Victory
O’Connor Brings Owner from Chile to G1 Pegasus World Cup
Prevalence Looks to Rebound in Saturday’s G3 Fred Hooper
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – If Gold Square LLC’s Cyberknife succeeds in emulating his sire Saturday by closing out his racing career with a victory in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) presented by Baccarat, the son of Gunner Runner will do so after breaking from the same post position as his dad did in 2018.
Cyberknife, the 5-2 favorite in a field of 12, will break from Post No. 10, from which Steve Asmussen-trained Gun Runner departed quickly to press the early pace set by Bobb Baffert-trained Collected before drawing off to a 2 ½-length victory in the 1 1/8-mile stakes for older horses.
“I’ve always said post position can be a touch overrated. I’m more interested in where they finish as opposed to where they begin,” Cyberknife’s trainer Brad Cox said.
Cyberknife, who won the Haskell (G1) at Monmouth and the Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park coming from off the pace, figures to have plenty of pace in front of him Saturday with the likes of Baffert-trained Defunded, a front-running winner of the Awesome Again (G1) at Santa Anita two starts back, and Bill Mott-trained Art Collector, who captured last year’s Woodward (G1) and this season’s Charles Town Classic (G2) on the front end, in the field
“They’re good horses. They both have speed. I think they’re going to be a factor early in the race. Any time you have speed, you’re always dangerous, so they’re definitely players in the race,” said Cox, who saddled Knicks Go for a front-running victory in the 2021 Pegasus World Cup.
Cyberknife, who will retired to stallion duty at Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Ky., will be ridden by Florent Geroux, who also happened to guide Gun Runner to his 2018 Pegasus World Cup victory.
Cyberknife is scheduled to school in Gulfstream’s paddock and walking ring during Thursday’s Race 4.
O’Connor Brings Owner from Chile to Pegasus World Cup
Fernando Vine Ode, a civil engineer from Chile and majority owner of O’Connor, was asked recently what it would be like if his 6-year-old was to win Saturday’s $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) presented by Baccarat at Gulfstream Park.
“I don’t know how I could describe it,” he said. “There are no words.”
Vine Ode calls horse racing his “hobby…my passion.” He has seven horses in partnerships and works for the Nestle company. But Saturday he will have a chance to win one of racing’s biggest prizes. Since coming to the U.S. and stabling with trainer Saffie Joseph Jr., O’Connor, a Group 1-winning multiple-stakes winner in Chile, has been a horse with lots of buzz. After winning his U.S. debut by six lengths Oct. 16, O’Connor finished fourth Dec. 31 when one of his glue-on shoes separated.
O’Connor, 10-1 on the morning-line, has worked well since and Vine Ode is excited. He purchased O’Connor at public auction because he wanted to buy a son of the stallion Boboman, because most of the sire’s sons run longer distances. Vine Ode admits he didn’t know if O’Connor would run in the Pegasus when he first arrived in the U.S.
“The horse had some hard time adapting, but after his victory in the allowance race we always had in mind to run him in the Pegasus World Cup,” he said. “I’m a fan of American horse racing. I have gone to see the most important races in the United States, but in the case of the Pegasus World Cup, I have seen it through HIPICA TV. This is the first time that I am going to enjoy it at Gulfstream Park and representing Chile.”
O’Connor will be racing in the silks of Michael and Jules Iavarone, who Vine Ode said acquired 20 percent of O’Connor.
“That’s the advantage of being in a team with Saffie Joseph,” Vine Ode said. “Since he has important connections, it was Mike and Jules who approached us to buy the horse. They have won the most prestigious races in the world, but they are missing the Pegasus World Cup.”
Prevalence Looks to Rebound in Saturday’s G3 Fred Hooper
Godolphin homebred Prevalence, who parlayed a Gulfstream Park allowance win last winter into a Grade 3 triumph in the spring, looks to get back on the winning track in Saturday’s $150,000 Fred W. Hooper (G3) presented by Whispering Angel.
Trained by Brendan Walsh, Prevalence had won three of his four lifetime starts at Gulfstream until finishing seventh in the seven-furlong Mr. Prospector (G3) Dec. 31, his second start off a five-month layoff.
“He kind of got stuck a little down inside which I don’t think he likes. Hopefully we get a little more running room early on in the race,” Walsh said. “It was a very similar race to what he ran last year in his first start off the layoff. He stumbled leaving the gate last year [and] got caught in the kickback.”
Prevalence, a 5-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro, ran fourth as the favorite, beaten more than nine lengths, in his comeback race last October at Keeneland. Despite the outcome, Walsh was encouraged by the way he finished in the Mr. Prospector.
“The nice thing was I thought he started to run at them again at the end of the race last time. At Keeneland, he seemed like he ran out of gas and I was a little bit concerned,” he said. “But I did like what we saw from that the last race. He’s still got to step up and do it on the big day.”
Prevalence drew Post 12 in a field of 13 for the mile Hooper and will be ridden by Tyler Gaffalione.
Gaffalione has been aboard for each of Prevalence’s nine lifetime starts, including debut and allowance wins during the 2021 Championship Meet as well as another allowance victory last March followed by the seven-furlong Commonwealth (G3) at Keeneland.
In his career, Prevalence has two wins from three starts at the one-mile distance, both of them coming at Gulfstream.
“I think the mile will suit him better, the one-turn mile, and I feel like he’s doing really well,” Walsh said. “So, I wouldn’t write him off just yet.”