by Gulfstream Park Press Release
January 5, 2019
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Stronach Stables’ millionaire homebred Something Awesome breezed Saturday morning for the first time since arriving in South Florida ahead of his next scheduled assignment in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park.
Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado was aboard as multiple graded-stakes winner Something Awesome went one mile in 1:42 over Gulfstream’s main track. Prado will ride in the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus, the richest race in North America.
“I had another horse at the half-mile pole and they finished together,” trainer Jose Corrales said. “He did it very comfortable. Everything looks good.”
It was the first work for Something Awesome since going 1 1/8 miles in 2:01 at his home base of Laurel Park Dec. 15. He shipped to Gulfstream on Christmas Day and has been getting acclimated to his surroundings.
“I don’t care about the time; I just care about the horse and how he reacts and how he finishes and how he comes back,” Corrales said. “He’s handled everything very, very good. Everything is good so far.”
Something Awesome won five of his first six starts since joining Corrales in the fall of 2017, including victories in the seven-furlong General George (G3) and Harrison E. Johnson Memorial at Laurel and $1.2 million Charles Town Classic (G2), the latter two at 1 1/8 miles.
The 8-year-old Awesome Again gelding has made one start since the Pimlico Special (G3) May 18, finishing second to Maryland Coalition Stakes winner Colonel Sharp in an open seven-furlong allowance Nov. 16 at Laurel. Colonel Sharp came back to win the Dave’s Friend Stakes Dec. 29.
Overall, Something Awesome has nine wins and $1.093 million in purse earnings from 26 career starts. He has raced twice previously at Gulfstream, running third in a pair of seven-furlong optional claiming allowances Jan. 7 and Feb. 17, 2017.
Also working for Corrales Saturday at Gulfstream was another Stronach Stables homebred, 7-year-old gelding Unbridled Juan, who went seven furlongs in 1:04.44. Winner of the Richard W. Small and Grover ‘Buddy’ Delp Memorial Stakes in his last two starts, he is being considered for the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), the richest grass race in North America.
Unbridled Juan, second in the 2018 Dixie (G3) and third in the 2017 Eclipse (G2), has seven wins and $505,323 in purse earnings from 26 career starts. In his lone try on turf he was fourth in the 2017 King Edward (G2) at Woodbine, but he has also raced five times over its all-weather surface, including the Eclipse.
“He did OK. Everything is good with him,” Corrales said. “I think with the way he’s training, he can compete in that kind of race.”
LAUREL, MD – At the height of his career as a jockey, which included more than 1,000 wins during stops and starts between 1981 and 1998, Jose Corrales never earned more purses in a single season than the $972,180 his mounts banked in 1988. With Something Awesome, the horse he helped turn from a former claimer into a multiple graded-stakes winning millionaire, Corrales has the unique opportunity to earn more than four times that amount – in a single race. Stronach Stables’ homebred Something Awesome is set to make his 8-year-old debut in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park. It is a fitting stage for both horse and trainer, whose success has been intertwined since they were first united in the fall of 2017 at Laurel Park. “I remember back about four years ago, I was at the Preakness and I sat with Mr. Frank [Stronach] and my son, J.T. Mr. Frank came to me and said, ‘You’re a good trainer. I’m going to make you famous.’ But I never thought I’m going be this famous to go to a big race like the Pegasus. To me, I was just lucky to watch it on television. To be participating in it, I think it’s very good to have this opportunity and I’m very thankful to everyone.” Corrales, 58, knew he wanted to become a jockey at the age of 7, learning the trade in his native Panama, a country that has exported the likes of Hall of Famers Laffit Pincay Jr., Manny Ycaza, Braulio Baeza, Jorge Velasquez, Jacinto Vasquez, Javier Castellano and Alex Solis and Gulfstream’s record-setting two-time Championship Meet leading rider, Luis Saez. Riding primarily at tracks in the state of Washington during the mid-1980s, Corrales became friends with Wesley Ward, the Eclipse Award-winning apprentice jockey of 1984. Ward turned to training in 1991 and hired Corrales as his assistant, but when Ward relocated to California, Corrales went to train in Macau. Soon Corrales returned to the United States and by 2011 finally got his big break. Owner-trainer Burton Sipp introduced him to Andy Stronach, a breeder and owner and the son of Pegasus founder Frank Stronach, and the two began a solid working relationship. “The first time I met Andy, it was at midnight at Beulah Park,” Corrales said. “He was in a truck with a driver, and they were delivering a horse to me. A filly. Can’t recall her name. But we won with her. And then he started sending me horses.” One of them was Bodhisattva, a horse Andy Stronach bred and gave to Corrales as a gift. The horse whose hard-to-pronounce name means “enlightened being” won three stakes for the owner-trainer and was among seven opponents defeated by eventual Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the 2015 Preakness Stakes (G1) at legendary Pimlico Race Course. “Andy has helped me the most, no doubt. He has been the biggest influence in my career,” Corrales said. “To run against a horse that wins the Triple Crown is quite an experience. I’m so grateful. And to do it with a horse that Andy bred and gave to me as a present … at a track owned by the Stronach family made it even more exciting. We’ll be in the record books forever.” Enter Something Awesome. A gelded son of Awesome Again – a Frank Stronach homebred that won nine of 12 career starts, including the 1998 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), and purses of more than $4.3 million – Something Awesome is out of the Dance Floor mare Somethinaboutlaura, both multiple graded-stakes winners. Something Awesome began his career in southern California with trainer John Shirreffs before the Ontario-bred was sent to Danny Vella at Woodbine in the spring of 2016. Overall, he won four of his first 18 races and ran for a tag four times between April and October of 2016, for as little as $32,000. Corrales got Something Awesome at his Laurel barn after the horse finished seventh in a seven-furlong optional claimer over Woodbine’s synthetic surface in August 2017 – the 14th time in 18 races the horse had run at distances of a mile or less. Something Awesome debuted for Corrales Nov. 5, 2017, coming from last to win a six-furlong second-level optional claiming allowance by four lengths in 1:10 flat with Hall of Famer Edgar Prado aboard. Prado is named to ride for the sixth time and fifth in a row in the Pegasus. “When the horse came over here, he was like any other horse. I thought he was going to run maybe for allowance or claiming or wherever the horse would fit, and if he’s not doing it he’d probably go to a lower level,” Corrales said. “But when he came, the horse changed. The horse was working really good and when I really started running him, he showed me. He won the first time in 1:10 and I said, ‘Wow, this horse can run.’ Prado was excited about it. If a Hall of Fame jockey can get excited about this horse, we can go somewhere.” Corrales kept Something Awesome sprinting, where he reeled off another optional claiming allowance win and was third in the Fire Plug Stakes, both at six furlongs, before his gutsy neck triumph over late-running Fellowship in the seven-furlong General George (G3). It was the first graded-stakes victory for both trainer and horse, now ridden by Elvis Trujillo. “That was exciting. My mother was here, and my nephew was riding the horse,” Corrales said. “It was snowing so bad and we really could not see. I was sitting watching the race and I didn’t really see where the horse was coming. Somebody said, ‘You won.’ The other horse came flying, and I thought maybe he got me. But it was very exciting and a touching moment for me because my mother was there.” From there, Corrales stretched Something Awesome out to 1 1/8 miles in the Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Stakes, where he cruised by 2 ¼ lengths, and then the Charles Town Classic (G2), taking a short lead into the stretch and staying resolute to the wire in a neck triumph that marked the first for the trainer in a race with a seven-figure purse. “First of all you have to thank God for that because it’s rare. It’s like trying to win the lottery and you don’t get enough time to get the ticket. It’s special for where I’ve come from and what I’ve done to reach that level. It’s not that easy,” Corrales said. “You have to be able to appreciate getting there, and I appreciate Andy Stronach who put me in this situation with his father and everything. He’s always been so helpful to me. Maybe the horses just like Maryland water or whatever, but they have improved and I’m so glad to have been able to do that.” Something Awesome has raced just twice since then, getting a break after finishing eighth in the Pimlico Special (G3) last May. He returned to be second behind subsequent stakes winner Colonel Sharp in an open seven-furlong allowance Nov. 16 at Laurel, and has been preparing for Pegasus at Gulfstream since Christmas. “The Pimlico Special came and I think he ran too much and he was a little tired then. The horse came back and bled a little bit. We gave him a couple months and brought him back,” Corrales said. “It was a little difficult to get him back. I couldn’t get him right. With a few prayers and everybody’s help, the horse got good. I had him ready for the race. We hooked a little horse and got a lot of competition. The time was fast and he ran a very good race. Since then, he just got better. “At the beginning, the horse went three-quarters and then we tried seven-eighths, and he did it. Then we’re not sure if he’d go a mile and an eighth, and he did,” he added. “Then we’re not sure if we were going to run at Charles Town and we did, and he won it. The horse has given me so much all the way through.” In the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus, Something Awesome will be part of a field that includes 2018 Horse of the Year finalist and likely race favorite Accelerate and fellow Grade 1 winners Audible, City of Light, Patternrecognition and Seeking the Soul; Preakness and Clark Handicap (G1) runner-up Bravazo, and Mexican Triple Crown winner Kukulkan, undefeated in 14 starts. “Like everything else, it is a race and you want to win as many as you can. But, it’s a race that if you win it would help your whole life. It would be nice for me and my family and everybody just to win this kind of race,” Corrales said. “It would mean a lot, but I would be the same person. “I’m just happy to [represent] Laurel Park to come and participate in this kind of race. [It shows] all the little people have a chance, and to have that opportunity is great,” he added. “My family will be there, and a lot of friends. All over the world, friends will see you that you haven’t seen. They say, ‘I thought he was dead. But he’s still alive, and look where he’s running.’ That’s what we’ve got to do; keep going.”
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Hronis Racing LLC’s Accelerate will face 11 rivals in Saturday’s $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park in an attempt to become the third straight Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner in a row to capture North America’s richest race. The Pegasus World Cup will co-headline Saturday’s 12-race program with the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), North America’s richest turf race. The $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series will be supported by seven other stakes, including four other graded stakes. First-race post time Saturday is set for 11:30 a.m. John Sadler-trained Accelerate, who capped a sensational 2018 season with a length triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs Nov. 3, has been rated as the 9-5 morning-line favorite in a field of 12 and will break from the No. 5 post position. The 1 1/8-mile Pegasus World Cup will be Accelerate’s final career start before embarking on a new career as a stallion at Lane’s End Farm in Versailles, KY. “We’re going to be a little bit sad, but happy that he has a great book of mares at Lane’s End in Kentucky,” Sadler said. “It’s a pretty good scenario. We’re just looking at it as an opening of a second career for him.” The 6-year-old son of Lookin At Lucky showed talent right from the start of his career, debuting at Los Alamitos on April 17, 2016 and finishing second, a neck ahead of third-place finisher Arrogate, who would go on to capture the inaugural running of the Pegasus World Cup in 2018. The Sadler trainee returned later in the year to win the Los Alamitos Derby (G2) before capping his 3-year-old campaign at Santa Anita with a third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), a neck behind runner-up Gun Runner, who went on to win the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar and last year’s Pegasus World Cup. Accelerate has kept the best of company thoroughout his career and has fared extremely well but not nearly as dominating as he was during his 2018 campaign, in which he won six of seven starts, notched four Grade 1 victories, highlighted by his triumph in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs. In 22 starts, Accelerate has won 10 times, including eight stakes, and finished second or third in 10 other races, amassing career earnings of $5,792,480. “He was a little late getting to the races. He got to the races as a 3-year-old. He was a stakes winner at 3 and he was a stakes winner at 4, but his year, at 5, he really took off. He showed he could go the classic distance in America of a mile and a quarter,” said Sadler, whose stable star won four times at the 1 ¼-mile distance last season. “He had the maturity to do it and keep doing it.” Accelerate, a lock to be honored as the outstanding older horse in 2018 at Thursday’s Eclipse Awards dinner in Gulfstream’s Sport of Kings Theater, compiled a Horse of the Year-caliber record last year but has imposing competition for Thoroughbred racing’s top honor in 2018 Triple Crown champion Justify. “I have nothing but respect for the other horse, obviously. He’s an undefeated Triple Crown winner, and I saw him breeze all winter at Santa Anita, my home base, so I’m pretty familiar with him. He’s a great horse,” Sadler said. “That being said, my horse was a great horse last year. He won at a mile and a quarter four times. In the handicaps, he was always the highweight. In the weight-for-ages, he was always giving weight. He spotted weight to all his rivals, which means something at a mile and a quarter, being so dominant. “We laid out a script of the races we were going to run, and he ran in them all. He beat all the horses that came up to him,” he added. “It’s a shame Justify went to the sideline early. We were hoping we’d have a chance of meeting in the Breeders’ Cup, but it unfortunately didn’t happen. Whatever the vote, we’re fine with it. We’re just delighted with our horse.” Joel Rosario, who won the mount when regular rider Victor Espinoza was seriously injured in a mishap last summer, has been a perfect 3-for-3 aboard Accelerate, who captured the Pacific Classic (G1) by 12 ½ lengths, the Awesome Again (G1) by 2 ½ lengths and the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) by a length. The only horse to beat Accelerate last year will try to repeat that feat in the Pegasus. City of Light, who registered a neck decision over Accelerate in the Oaklawn Park Handicap (G2) last April, is rated second at 5-2 in the morning-line and will break from the No. 3 post. Owned by Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren Jr., the 5-year-old son of Quality Road would subsequently finish third behind a victorious Accelerate six-weeks later in the 1 ¼-mile Santa Anita Gold Cup. “We’ve met twice. It’s a tie ballgame so far,” trainer Michael McCarthy said. City of Light, who won the seven-furlong Triple Bend (G1) at Santa Anita in March, raced twice following the Santa Anita Gold Cup, finishing second in the seven-furlong Forego (G1) at Saratoga Aug. 25 and winning the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) by 2 ¾ lengths. Although he’s shown brilliance in one-turn races, McCarthy is confident City of Light will have no difficulty stretching out for the two-turn Pegasus. “I don’t think he’ll have any problem,” McCarthy said. “He won the [1 1/8-mile] Oaklawn Handicap.” City of Light, who will also be retired and begin his stallion career at Lane’s End, will be ridden by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, who was aboard for his Dirt Mile romp. Margoth’s Gunnevera, who finished a late-closing second behind Accelerate in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, will be one of two starters in last year’s Pegasus to return this year. The Antonio Sano-trained Gunnevera, who finished third behind Gun Runner last year, finished second in the Whitney (G1) at Saratoga prior to his strong Classic showing. “I’m so proud of my horse,” said Sano, Venezuela’s winningest trainer who became a U.S. citizen last week. “We need to win a Grade 1. I think my horse can do it in the Pegasus. The Pegasus will be my first stakes since I am a citizen.” Based at Gulfstream Park West, Gunnevera won the 2017 Fountain of Youth (G2) over the Gulfstream Park racetrack and has earned in excess of $4.1 million in purses. Irad Ortiz Jr. has the return mount aboard the 5-year-old son of Dialed In. Todd Pletcher-trained Audible will also be running on familiar ground in the Pegasus, having won the $1 million Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull (G2) and the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) last year at Gulfstream. “I think based on Audible’s success last year, winning the Holy Bull and the Florida Derby, [the Pegasus] would be the logical target,” Pletcher said. “He had the summer off and he didn’t get started until November, so we thought the timing was good as well. But mainly his success at Gulfstream made it a good first target.” Owned by China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners, Starlight Racing and WinStar Farm, the 4-year-old son of Into Mischief finished third after closing from far back in last year’s Kentucky Derby (G1), a head behind runner-up Good Magic. He went to the sidelines for six months following the Derby before returning with a two-length score in the Cherokee Road Stakes at Churchill Downs on the Breeders’ Cup undercard. Best down to 1-10 in his next start at Gulfstream Dec. 15, Audible was upset by a half-length following a wide trip over a sloppy racetrack in the Harlan’s Holiday (G3). Flavian Prat will ride Audible for the first time in the Pegasus. Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence’s Patternrecognition enters the Pegasus on a three-race winning streak. The late-developing 5-year-old son of Adios Charlie captured a second-level optional claiming allowance Aug. 11 at Saratoga before winning his stakes debut with a front-running score in the Kelso Handicap (G2) Sept. 22 at Belmont Park. The Chad Brown-trained Florida-bred came right back to win the Dec. 1 Cigar Mile (G1) at Belmont leading the way throughout the one-turn mile stakes. “I think on this track a horse that has positional speed. I’m happy the horse we have has been running on the front, but I don’t think he has to be on the lead. He fits that profile of a speed horse that can get position at the very least,” Brown said. “He seems to be in really great form coming off the Cigar Mile. The timing worked for us. At his point of his career he seems to be peaking,” he added. “It’s the right time to take a big swing at a huge purse.” Calumet Farm will be represented by a pair of starters, Bravazo and True Timber. For Bravazo the Pegasus will be his ninth consecutive Grade 1 stakes appearance. Although the D. Wayne Lukas-trained 4-year-old has gone winless at racing’s highest level, the son of Awesome Again has been highly competitive. No horse finished closer to undefeated Justify than Bravazo, who closed strongly to finish just a half-length behind the eventual Triple Crown winner in the Preakness Stakes (G1). The Calumet homebred also finished in the money in the Haskell (G1), Travers (G1), Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) and the Clark Handicap (G1). Gulfstream’s leading rider Luis Saez has the mount. True Timber enters the Pegasus off a second-place finish behind Patternrecognition in the Cigar Mile. “We have a nice horse that run second in the Cigar Mile. We’re trying to stretch him out a little bit, but he galloped out great. We’re hoping he can get the trip,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “He’s improving all the time. He’s never left Belmont Park since he got there as a 2-year-old,” he added. “This will be different. He’ll be getting on a van this time, but he’s a straightforward horse and he’s doing really well.” Charles Fipke’s Seeking the Soul returns to Gulfstream for another crack at the Pegasus World Cup, in which he finished fifth last year. The Dallas Stewart-trained 6-year-old, who earned Grade 1 credentials with a win in the 2017 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs, finished second behind City of Light in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, before finishing third in the Clark Handicap. Hall of Famer jockey John Velazquez, who won aboard the son of Perfect Soul in the 2017 Clark, has the mount. G M B Racing’s Tom’s d’Etat will make his Grade 1 stakes debut in the Pegasus for trainer Al Stall Jr. The 6-year-old son of Smart Strike, whose career had been compromised by chronic ankle issues, has won four straight races, including a 3 ½-length victory in the Tenacious Stakes at Fair Grounds last time out. Shaun Bridgmohan has the return mount. Stronach Stables’ Something Awesome has blossomed since joining Laurel Park-based trainer Jose Corrales, who has saddled the son of Awesome Again for graded-stakes victories in the General George (G3) at Laurel and the $1.2 million Charles Town Classic (G2). Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado has the return mount. Kukulkan, Cuadra San Jorge’s undefeated Mexican Triple Crown champion, returns to Gulfstream Park, where the 4-year-old son of Point Determined captured the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe Dec. 8. Kukulkan, who has won all 14 career starts, will be ridden by Frankie Dettori. Ron Paolucci Racing’s Imperative, who captured the 2017 Charles Town Classic, brings a career bankroll of more than $2.99 million into the Pegasus. The Anthony Quartarolo-trained 9-year-old will be ridden by Tyler Gaffalione.