June 18, 2024

Performer meets seven in Hooper; Thisismytime faces open rivals in Inside Information

Performer wins the 2019 Discovery
Performer wins the 2019 Discovery (Coglianese Photography)

A pair of graded stakes on the main track, the $125,000 Fred W. Hooper (G3) and $200,000 Inside Information (G2), will be offered on Saturday’s Pegasus World Cup undercard.

Fred W. Hooper Stakes – Race 4 (1:05 p.m. ET)

Grade 3 winner Performer, who had his five-race streak snapped when third at odds-on in the Dec. 5 Cigar Mile H. (G1) at Aqueduct, will be the horse to beat at a one-turn mile. Shug McGaughey trains the 5-year-old son of Speightstown, and regular rider Joel Rosario has the call in the Hooper.

After easily capturing the Discovery S. (G3) in his 2019 finale, Performer was preparing for a much-anticipated 2020 campaign when sidelined by injury in late spring. He didn’t make it back to the races until mid-October, winning an allowance prior to the Cigar Mile, and Performer appears to be training forwardly his return from a 49-day freshening. The chestnut has won 5-of-7 career starts for Phipps Stable and Claiborne Farm.

His seven rivals include Eye of a Jedi and Phat Man, second and third, respectively, in the Dec. 12 Harlan’s Holiday S. (G3) at Gulfstream. The winner of that race, Tax, is the 5-1 third choice in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) later on the program.

Multiple Gulfstream stakes victor and Florida Derby (G1) runner-up Shivaree enters on the upswing, posting a convincing stakes win over Florida-bred rivals at Tampa in mid-December. The 4-year-old will make his third start off the layoff for Ralph Nicks.

Inside Information Stakes – Race 9 (3:40 p.m. ET)

An 11-length romper in the restricted Millions Turf Preview S. at Gulfstream West two back, Thisismytime comfortably handled open company leading wire-to-wire in a Dec. 24 allowance at Gulfstream. The 4-year-old will bring high speed to her first graded attempt in the 7-furlong Inside Information.

Edgard Zayas guides the Kathleen O’Connell-trained filly.

Multiple Grade 3 winner Sally’s Curlin will be running late. A 2 3/4-length scorer in the Hurricane Bertie (G3) at Gulfstream last March, the Dale Romans-trained mare went on to finish third in the Derby City Distaff (G1) on the Kentucky Derby undercard in early September. The chestnut will need to rebound from an unplaced finish in the Dec. 12 Rampart S. (G3).

Rampart runner-up Dream Marie is also entered. Bronx Beauty and Cinnabunny, second and third in the 6-furlong Sugar Swirl S. (G3) on Dec. 12, can’t be dismissed from consideration in the competitive field of eight.