In the days leading up to the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida, usracing.com will profile the horses in the race set for Jan. 23. The profiles will be updated on Jan. 20 with morning-line odds, post positions and jockeys.`
By Lynne Snierson
Will the real Independence Hall please stand up? Is he a one-turn specialist or has Michael McCarthy, who took over his training last year, molded him into a two-turn horse?
After starting like a house afire in his first three starts as a juvenile and setting records for both final time (1:34.66) and margin of victory (12 ¼ lengths) in the one-turn mile 2019 Nashua Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct, the then undefeated colt was put squarely on the 2020 Triple Crown trail. But when Michael Trombetta, then his conditioner, tried to stretch him out the wheels came off in two successive Kentucky Derby preps.
Sent to Trombetta’s Fair Hill, Maryland operation for rest and relaxation after his fifth place finish in the 1 1/8 miles Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park last March, it was time to hit the reset button. Independence Hall was transferred to McCarthy and didn’t reappear until seven months later when he impressively won an allowance optional claimer at 6 ½ furlongs on Nov. 8 at Del Mar. Last out he was fifth when sprinting in the Malibu Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita on Dec. 26.
He has worked well for the Pegasus, turning in a bullet 6-furlong breeze (1:12.60) on Jan. 16 at Santa Anita but he must prove he’s now a legitimate two-turn horse, and do it against top level competition. He figures to be a longshot in this field.
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Post position: TBD
Trainer: Michael McCarthy
Owners: Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Twin Creeks Racing Stables LLC, Kathleen and Robert Verratti
Career record: 7 4-1-0
Career earnings: $316,600
Top Equibase speed figure: 108
Pedigree: Constitution-Kalahari, by Cape Town
Color: Dark Bay
Running style: Versatile. Can be up on the pace or rate behind the speed
Notes: When Independence Hall was sent to Fair Hill after last year’s Florida Derby, owner Aron Wellman of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners said they needed to recapture his brilliance and explosiveness and solidify his value as a stallion prospect …The Verrettis were his sole original owners and paid $100,000 for him as a Keeneland September yearling. They tried to pinhook him at the Gulfstream Fasig-Tipton sale of 2-year-olds-in-training but when he didn’t meet his $200,000 reserve they bought him back and later added the other partners … Eclipse Thoroughbred partners is a multiple G1-winning syndicate and absorbed the former Dogwood Stable upon Cot Campbell’s retirement …Twin Creeks Racing Stable is a multiple graded stakes winning owner and took the 2013 Donn Handicap (G1) at Gulfstream with Graydar.
Lynne Snierson, a former director of communications at Arlington Park and Rockingham Park, currently is a freelance writer and racing publicist. She covered thoroughbred racing as an award-winning sportswriter for newspapers In Boston, Miami, and St. Louis. She lives in New Hampshire. Secretariat remains her all-time favorite horse.