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 Ed McNamara
This unheralded colt proved you don’t have to finish first to enrich your owner and the bettors. Finishing second as the longest shot in the field (62-1) in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) and third at 40-1 in the Preakness (G1) made megabucks for Grupo 7C Racing Stable and anybody who used Jesus’ Team underneath in trifectas and superfectas.
When Grupo 7C put up $25,000 to supplement him to the Preakness, it looked like a wild stab. Turns out it wasn’t, because third was worth $110,000. Nice score.
Despite a six-race losing streak, Jesus’ Team (say hay-SOOS) earned more than half a million last year, when his only off-the-board finish in a stakes was a fourth in the Grade 1 Haskell. He’s 3-for-4 on Gulfstream’s main track, including a win Dec. 5 in the Claiming Crown at 9 furlongs, the Pegasus’ distance. I can’t recommend a win bet, but he’s a must-use in exotic plays. A repeat of the Knicks Go-Jesus’ Team exacta in the Dirt Mile would be no shock. It just wouldn’t pay $219.60 again.
Jesus’ Team went 6 furlongs in 1:13.40 in a stamina-building breeze Jan. 9 at Palm Meadows. “The hard work was last week,” trainer Jose D’Angelo said. “He did it the way I want. I wanted an easy work. I think he’s ready.”
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Post position: TBD
Trainer: Jose D’Angelo
Owner: Grupo 7C Racing Stable
Career record: 13-3-4-3
Career earnings: $518,540
Top Equibase speed figure: 114
Pedigree: Tapiture-Golden Memories, by Suave
Running style: Mid-pack rallier
Notes: Jesus’ Team is not a religious reference. He’s named for the owner’s son. The Grupo 7C stable also has a 4-year-old named Charly Jesus’ Team, who’s 0-for-3 with $700 in career earnings. The good ones pay for the bad ones … Three months ago, D’Angelo said: “In all his races, I think Jesus’ Team runs his best race last to front. I think that will be his best way in the Preakness.” That’s what he did at Pimlico, rallying from eighth on the backstretch to be a distant third to Swiss Skydiver.
Ed McNamara is an award-winning journalist who has been writing about thoroughbred racing for 35 years. He has handicapped races for ESPN.com, Newsday and The Record of New Jersey. He is the author of “Cajun Racing: From the Bush Tracks to the Triple Crown” and co-author of “The Most Glorious Crown,” a chronicle of the first 12 Triple Crown champions.