News and STORIES
Mucho Gusto Returns To California After Pegasus Win
Author: Clint Goodman
Published: Tuesday January 28, 2020
On Sunday, horses shipped out of the South Florida base following the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes Presented by Runhappy (G1).
The race run on Saturday, and it was won by Mucho Gusto by 4 1/2 lengths. It was a big day for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and Prince Faisal Bin Khaled.
"He was training well, and I was trying not to get too excited about him because he always came up a little short in the big races this last year," Baffert said. "The freshening really helped him. He needed to run the best race of his life, and he basically ran the same race as he did in the Haskell (Invitational Stakes, G1). He ran his heart out."
Saudi Cup On Feb. 29
Baffert did not travel to Florida, but he said that Mucho Gusto was looking positive on Sunday morning. According to him, the Mucho Macho Man colt's next race will likely be the $20 million Saudi Cup on Feb. 29. He will be joined in Saudi Arabia by Whitney Stakes (G1) winner McKinzie.
Baffert said that the policy changes enacted in the Pegasus, which included a ban on race-day medication Lasix, had little effect on Mucho Gusto.
"We scoped him to make sure he didn't bleed, so that was a positive," Baffert said. "He's never shown any signs of bleeding. The Saudi Cup will be next. They bought him to run in the Saudi Cup, and we got word he was invited. Both he and McKinzie will run.
"Ever since they announced the Saudi Cup, people from the Middle East have been trying to buy horses for the race. They kept pestering me, and I told them if they came back with a big, ridiculous offer, they'd sell him, and that's what they did. They're looking good now. Who would know the race would fall apart like it did?"
Higher Power, Mr Freeze, Diamond Oops
Hronis Racing's Higher Power, who finished last in the race, is based in California with trainer John Sadler. He shipped out early Sunday morning with Mr Freeze. According to Sadler's foreman, the son of Medaglia d'Oro looked good despite Saturday's result.
Jim Bakke and Gerald Isbister's Mr Freeze, the Pegasus World Cup runner-up, still does not have his next race set.
"He came out great, and he looks really good this morning," said trainer Dale Romans.
"I've no idea yet," Romans said. "I'll have to think it over."
The fourth-place runner, Diamond Oops, campaigned by Diamond 100 Racing Club, Amy Dunne, D P Racing, and Patrick Biancone Racing, also returned from the Pegasus in good shape.
"He came back awesome and was sound and happy this morning," said Andie Biancone, daughter of trainer Patrick Biancone. "We're super proud of his effort, and he'll probably return to sprinting in the future, but he did his best, and we're super proud of him."
The next race for the Mr. Prospector Stakes (G3) winner is still not clear.
"We're going to just let him tell us when he's ready," Biancone said. "He was fresh walking around the shed row this morning, so it's a good sign.
"I think when the horses from Palm Meadows shipped in 72 hours ahead of time, they weren't used to that. They normally come in 24 hours before, so it was really different for them. He's not tired, but I'm definitely tired."