by Bruce Lunsford Art collector (Bernardini) won the GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational on Saturday in good form, according to coach Bill Mott.
“He’s happy. He’s bright, alert and seems to feel pretty good about himself,” Mott reported from Payson Park on Sunday morning.
Art Collector, the 2021 GI Woodward S. winner, had been a solid-stock performer prior to his impressive 4.5-minute victory in the Pegasus Saturday.
“It was strange. I know he did a great job in the race. I feel like he trained well, but you really can’t predict the outcome in a race like that,” he said. Mott said, “There are some nice horses in there and you don’t know much about the rest. I know our horse is doing well. Did he exceed expectations? I won’t say that because I don’t know what to expect.
The plan for the 6-year-old is still up in the air.
“Whenever you have a well-bred horse and are a Class I bet winner, I think crossbreeding is always an option and it’s only a matter of time when you do that. I can’t say what happened in [Lunsford’s] head. I don’t think that was the first thing that popped into his mind,” Mott said. “I think Bruce enters the new year thinking that he’d love to see him on the track and I think he’s ready to continue down that path for the rest of the year if all goes well.”
Coach Mike Maker reported on Sunday that Three Diamonds Farm Expiate (Into Mischief) is also doing well after his breakout win in Saturday’s GI Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational.
Maker said: “He got through it just fine. “It’s impossible not to be impressed by the way he runs.”
Maker mentioned the March 25 GII Muniz Memorial Classic at Fair Grounds and the May 6 GI Turf Classic at Churchill Downs as possible upcoming targets for Atone.
Atone ended a great day at Gulfstream for Maker, who also finished sixth at Pegasus Turf with a 74-1 long shot. king cause (creative cause). A day earlier, Maker won GIII Fred W. Hooper with confirm (Medaglia d’Oro) and first, second, third and fifth in the GIII William L. McKnight led by the winner Red Knight (Spiritual Solution).
On that day, Maker had three wins, one second and two thirds and made $846,300 in the wallet. Before that, he had a 29-4-3-4 record with $154,615 in earnings at Championship Meet, which opens December 26.
“It was a great day,” Maker said. “We were in a slump there and getting out of it that way was great.”