By Blood Horse
Grade 1 winner Sharp Azteca breezed five furlongs in a sharp 1:00 3/5 over a sloppy track at Gulfstream Park West Saturday. The Jorge Navarro-trained son of Freud galloped out to six furlongs under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. to finish off a workout that was the fourth fastest of 23 moves at the distance.
“He was sharp—visually, very impressive. He was clipping off 12’s,” said Pegasus World Cup stakeholder Ron Paolucci of Loooch Racing, who struck a deal with Sharp Azteca’s owner Ivan Rodriguez last week to run the multiple graded-stakes winner in the world’s richest race.
Sharp Azteca is coming off a 5 1/4-length triumph in the Dec. 2 Cigar Mile Handicap Presented by NYRA Bets (G1) at Aqueduct Racetrack. The 5-year-old launched his 2017 campaign with a victory in the Hardacre Mile Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) and went on to also score victories in the Monmouth Cup Stakes (G3) and Kelso Handicap (G2). He finished second, a half-length back of victorious Battle of Midway , in the Nov. 3 Las Vegas Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Del Mar.
Loooch Racing’s War Story was also on the work tab at Gulfstream Park West, covering five furlongs in a bullet :59 3/5.
“(Trainer) Jorge (Navarro) said last week this was going to be his money work for the Pegasus, and he’s one of those he can work however you want him to work,” Paolucci said. “I think we got out of it what we needed.”
Photo credits Coglianese Photos / Lauren King