Godolphin’s Proxy (Tapit) and Gold Square LLC’s Cyberknife (Gun Runner) figure to be the top couple of betting choices in next Saturday’s GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational S. at Gulfstream Park and each tuned up for the battle with breezes over the Fair Grounds main track Saturday.
Beneath his regular work rider Arturo Aparacio, the homebred Proxy was clocked a half-mile in :49.40, but so strong was his gallop-out to the seven-eighths pole that he was actually given a time of 1:01.80 for five furlongs.
“The two important works were the last two,” trainer Michael Stidham said. “This was important, but we weren’t looking for anything special. We were just looking for maintenance here. He handled it well. He always is a big gallop-out horse, and the best part of the work was the finish and the gallop out. That’s what we were looking for, and we got it. He cooled out well, and all is a go as of right now.”
Proxy, a 5-year-old son of the versatile Panty Raid (Include), enters the Pegasus on the heels of a maiden Grade I success in the Clark H. at Churchill Downs last November, but Stidham believes that Proxy have to find yet another level next weekend.
“Certainly, I feel like the Pegasus is going to come up tougher overall, a tougher race, so we have to pick our game up from the Clark,” Stidham said. “I don’t think we can run the same race we ran in the Clark and expect to win. I think we need to do a little bit better, and I’m hoping my horse will move forward from the Clark. That’s what we need to see.”
Cyberknife has not been seen since finishing a bang-up second to Cody’s Wish (Curlin) in the GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile Nov. 5 and was a bit sharper in his move Saturday, covering the five furlongs in 1:01 flat with Florent Geroux up. The 4-year-old, who is scheduled to retire to Spendthrift Farm following the Pegasus, was out three-quarters of a mile in 1:13 2/5.
“It was a good work,” Geroux said. “He’s always been a good work horse. So for him, it was just a maintenance work and keeping him busy and fit. He’s had plenty of time to get ready and now we’re a week from the race.”
Geroux added, “The horse is definitely maturing now. He’s stronger physically. I think he put on some weight. He’s developing very nicely and made another step forward over the winter, physically and mentally. So we’re hoping he’s better than he was last year.”
The Pegasus horses due from California also tuned up Saturday in the Golden State. Defunded (Dialed In), last year’s GI Awesome Again S. hero, breezed five furlongs in :59.40 for two-time Pegasus-winning trainer Bob Baffert, while GI Cigar Mile H. runner-up Get Her Number (Dialed In) went a similar distance in 1:00.60 at San Luis Rey Training Center. Stilleto Boy (Shackleford) worked five-eighths of a mile in 1:04.60 for trainer Steve Moger at Golden Gate Fields.
In Arkansas, Last Samurai (First Samurai) went five furlongs in :59.40, and in Florida, Skippylongstocking (Exaggerator) went a half in :50.45 at Palm Meadows and Simplification (Not This Time) drilled five furlongs in 1:00.22 at Gulfstream Park.
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