O’Connor, Simplification Breeze for Harlan’s Holiday (G3)
$3 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) Goal for Both Horses
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Fernando Vine Ode’s O’Connor tuned up for a much-anticipated start in the Dec. 31 Harlan’s Holiday Saturday morning, breezing half-mile in 46.50 seconds at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream Park’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County.
“He went fast, but he was just cruising,” trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said. “He did it the right way – the last quarter in 23 [seconds] and change. He’s in good order now. We would like the race to be this week or next week, but we have to wait a bit longer.”
Saturday’s breeze was the fifth in a serious of workouts since the Chilean-bred 5-year-old’s auspicious U.S. debut. Jockey Edgar Zayas was aboard for Saturday’s breeze.
The Harlan’s Holiday, a 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-olds and up, is the key prep for the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) Jn. 28 at Gulfstream Park.
“The Pegasus is our main goal, but the Harlan’s Holiday is first,” said Joseph, who is also pointing Florida Derby (G1) winner White Abarrio to the Pegasus.
O’Connor, a Group 1 winner in Chile, made a splash in his Oct. 16 U.S. debut at Gulfstream Park, where the son of Boboman relaxed several lengths off the early pace in a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance before making an eye-catching three-wide sweep to take the lead entering the stretch and drawing clear by six lengths.
The Joseph trainee finished second in the Gran Premio Hipodromo Chile (G1) in his Chile finale, beaten by Super Corinto, also a candidate for the Pegasus, who captured a two-turn optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream Thursday. O’Connor defeated Super Corinto in their prior meeting in the Longines Gran Premio Latinoamericano (G1).
At Gulfstream Park Saturday morning, Tami Bobo and Tristan de Meric’s Simplification breezed five furlongs in 1:00.42 for a planned start in the Harlan’s Holiday. The breeze, the third fastest of 35 at the distance, was his third in a series since the 3-year-old son of Not This Time finished seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Keeneland.
“It was a nice easy breeze,” said trainer Antonio Sano, whose ultimate goal for Simplification is the Pegasus. “I’m very happy with him.”
Simplification captured the Fountain of Youth (G2) and finished third in the Florida Derby at Gulfstream prior to a late-closing fourth in the Kentucky Derby (G1).