Pegasus World Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G3) — Race 9 (3:36 p.m. ET)
Regal Glory peaked too late last season to be in the discussion for a championship, but will look to get her 2022 campaign off to a faster start in the $500,000 Pegasus World Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G3) at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. Formerly the Marshua’s River but rebranded this year with an enhanced purse, the Filly and Mare Turf will be run at 1 1/16 miles.
Limited to five starts last season, Regal Glory made the most of it by winning three. Her two best runs were a half-length loss to stablemate Blowout in the First Lady (G1) at Keeneland, which was followed in November by a decisive, wire-to-wire victory in the Matriarch (G1) at Del Mar.
Classic-placed in Ireland last summer was Nicest, who’s displayed progression in each of her three U.S. appearances. After catching soft ground in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1), Nicest was beaten only a half-length by the older Neige Blanche and Luck in the Red Carpet H. (G3) at Del Mar. Last time, Nicest was second best in an off-the-turf renewal of the American Oaks (G1).
An actual classic winner in Europe last term was Wakanaka, who captured the Italian 1000 Guineas (G1) in Rome last April. It was the sixth win in eight starts for the daughter of Power, who has not raced since and debuts for new trainer Bill Mott on Saturday.
The top three finishers from the Dec. 18 Suwannee River (G3) — Sweet Melania, Shifty She, and In a Hurry — are back, while Bipartisanship and the once-beaten Lady Speightspeare exit respective first- and third-place finishes in the Dec. 26 Tropical Park Oaks.
Gift List, who captured the Edgewood (G3) at Churchill Downs last spring, makes her first since June in a challenging spot, while Summer in Saratoga steps up in class following a 2021 campaign in which she won stakes at Fair Grounds, Indiana Grand, and Keeneland. Completing the field is Alms, a dull seventh in the Suwannee River most recently.
Here are other stakes highlights on Pegasus World Cup Day:
*The $150,000 Fred W. Hooper S. (G3) for older horses over a mile on the main track looms as a showdown between Fearless and Speaker’s Corner. Fearless has won four of five at Gulfstream, including the Gulfstream Park Mile (G2) and Harlan’s Holiday (G3) last season.
Speaker’s Corner, an impressive multiple allowance winner for Godolphin and trainer Bill Mott, shortens up after showing distance limitations in the nine-furlong Discovery S. at Aqueduct in late November.
*Pacific Gale is back to defend her title in the $150,000 Inside Information S. (G2), a seven-furlong dash for fillies and mares. Rivals include multiple Grade 3 winner Four Graces, recent Rampart S. heroine Dance d’Oro, erstwhile turf performer A G Indy, and rising Pennsylvania-bred star Just One Time.
*A full and wide-open field of turf marathoners will contest the $200,000 W.L. McKnight S. (G3) over 1 1/2 miles. The Mike Maker-trained pair of Temple and Glynn County are among the more logical contenders, along with the speedy H. Allen Jerkens S. winner Abaan.
*Always Shopping looks a solid prospect to defend her title in the $150,000 La Prevoyante S. (G3), a 1 1/2-mile turf event for fillies and mares.