News and STORIES

Independence Hall Lining Up for the Pegasus Invitational

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Wednesday January 20, 2021

With the G1 Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational around the corner, it means Independence Hall is in the process of preparing for a big race. Of course, it was only the day after Christmas when the three-year-old was finishing second from last in the G1 Malibu race at Santa Anita Park, so it doesn't sound as if the form is there for a strong showing at the Pegasus.

Change of Trainer to Pay Dividends?

Independence Hall has had a change of trainer, but so far the relationship has got off to a rocky start. The change from the East Coast trainer, Michael Trombetta, to West Coast based trainer Michael McCarthy coincided with a poor showing at the Florida Derby. There, he was third choice, but was disappointing and finished down the field.

After that, the switch took place leading to a much improved showing at the Del Mar. According to McCarthy, the horse was showing solid form in training, so the disaster that was the G1 Malibu race came as a shock.

However, since then it's clear that McCarthy has been willing to simply strike off that Malibu outing as a blip. His form during training has been nothing but positive, so, there's no expectation that we will see another poor show at the Pegasus.

Build-Up Looking Promising

As his trainer has stated, you want to be careful with the build-up to a $3 million race, and that's exactly what McCarthy is doing with Independence Hall. So far this month, he has been taken out twice with the last being over six furlongs where McCarthy was more than happy with what he saw.

Of course, McCarthy himself knows what he is doing when it comes to the Pegasus. He was the winning trainer back in 2019 with City of Light, and that experience and knowledge of the race can help Independence Hall to get into the correct positions in the race.

Will Insufficient Race Numbers Hinder Him?

On a potential downside, some people interested in placing bets on Independence Hall may be concerned about the lack of race numbers over the last 12 months. However, this was partly planned with his switch across the country.

While switching, McCarthy was of the opinion that the horse would need a rest in order to not only work on the training aspect, but to provide a mental and physical break. The idea was to help him break into a new routine and to ease through any adjustments. It appeared to be a success with a few short breezes and that race at Del Mar, and that's the form McCarthy is going on for the Pegasus.

The problem is he is up against a strong field with the likes of Knicks Go, Code of Honor, and True Timber all showing good form. Add in the fact that Knicks Go last won the 2020 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile while True Timber also won their last G1 race, and it's going to be a tough ask.

However, just as Independence Hall shocked people with a poor showing at Malibu, the exact opposite can also happen. We need to wait to see which Independence Hall turns up at the Pegasus Invitational.