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
This recently turned 4-year-old and newly minted graded stakes winner steps up to Grade 1 competition for the first time with two straight victories on the Southern California tracks. Following a first level allowance win at 1 mile at Del Mar, he was the 15-1 upset winner of the 1 1/6 miles San Antonio Stakes (G2) on Dec. 26 at Santa Anita while going from last to first and defeating the heavily favored 2020 Pegasus winner and now retired Mucho Gusto in the process.
Kiss Today Goodbye was the first 3-year-old to win the San Antonio, which dates to 1935. Said trainer Eric Kruljac following the accomplishment, “He was always very immature early on. It just took him longer to get to where he is, and I think he is really just beginning to mature.”
As a sophomore he put a scare into top Kentucky Derby prospects Thousand Words and Honor A.P., finishing third behind those two subsequently retired colts in the Shared Belief in August at Del Mar. He’s tuned up for the Pegasus with a terrific workout at Santa Anita (48.60 handily, 3/12) on Jan. 16 and has the opportunity to stake out a prime position in the handicap division now left wide open with the retirement of so many of the “Big Boys” after last season.
Post position: TBD
Trainer: J. Eric Kruljac
Owner: John Sondereker
Career record: 11 3-0-3
Career earnings: $230,802
Top Equibase speed figure: 108
Pedigree: Cairo Prince-Savvy Hester, by Heatseeker
Color: Dark Bay
Running style: Off the pace
Notes: Owner Sondereker, 78, has a lifetime passion for thoroughbred racing and as a teenager mucked stalls for $1 per hour at the long-defunct Ascot Park in Ohio. After his dad took him to the 1961 Kentucky Derby and they watched Carry Back win, he wished that someday he could own a horse like that and he still has the Derby dream. During his 40-year career with Wells Fargo in Des Moines, Iowa, he owned some low-level claimers at Prairie Meadows and got more serious about ownership after retirement in the early 2000s … He picked out this horse at the 2018 Keeneland January Sale for $150,000 and named him for his favorite song. Kiss Today Goodbye is the opening line in the lyrics of “What I Did for Love”, the classic ballad from the musical A Chorus Line … Kruljac, 69, is a G1-winning trainer based in Southern California but this colt’s win in the San Antonio was his first stakes win above the G3 level since 2012. He has had horses for Sondereker for about 10 years.
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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.