Sticksstatelydude Works Towards $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational
Mr. Jordan a Horse of Interest in Pegasus World Cup Search
BOYNTON BEACH, FL – On a sun-splashed Friday morning at the Palm Meadows Training Center in Boynton Beach, graded stakes winner Sticksstatelydude turned in a four-furlong work that his connections hope is a step toward a spot in the gate for the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park Jan. 28.
The 3-year-old son of First Dude, who is owned in a partnership that includes brothers, Alvin Haynes Jr. and Mitch Haynes, does not currently have a slot in the gate for the 1 1/8-mile inaugural running of the Pegasus. The colt’s trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin, said he has been approached by connections with confirmed berths inquiring about leasing the horse for the Pegasus, but so far no deals have been struck.
After Sticksstatelydude covered a half-mile in :49.75 with exercise rider Roger Horgan aboard, McLaughlin said if the Pegasus turns out not to be an option, he is looking at the $400,000 Poseidon, also at 1 1/8 miles on the dirt and part of the undercard, as an alternative.
“He is pointing toward a race on Jan. 28,” McLaughlin said. “There is a $400,000 race on the undercard, or the Pegasus, if someone needs a horse. We could be talked into a lease for that day. He will continue to work weekly and we’ll hope for the best. At least there is the option of the other race if we don’t get into the Pegasus.”
McLaughlin said the story behind Sticksstatelydude, who won the Discovery Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct in most recent start on Nov. 12, dates back to when he was a kid, growing up in Kentucky. The horse has also been trained by McLaughlin’s childhood friend, Greg Burchell, who saddled him to finish second in the Oklahoma Derby (G3) at Remington Park in September, his start before the Discovery. Burchell also holds an ownership interest in Sticksstatelydude.
“The horse is named for one of the best owners ever in the game, Alvin Haynes, who I trained horses for, and was a lifelong friend with,” McLaughlin explained. “He passed away last year. Alvin’s nickname was ‘Stick’ because he was a really tall man. When he died, his two sons took over, Alvin Jr. and Mitch, and there are also several partners in the horse, including Greg Burchell, who trains the horse back and forth with me, and is the reason I’m in the business. Greg was my best buddy at 10 years old. Greg’s dad trained horses and that is how I got horses into my system. Greg is here in Florida, too, so we talk daily and he looks after the horse every day.
“Greg and I grew up with Alvin’s sons, Alvin Jr., who we call Scotty, and his brother Mitch,” McLaughlin continued. “Their father was a very good man and it’s sad that he is gone, but the horse is doing well for the whole family. It’s a great story if he keeps going. The horse ran huge in the Discovery last time. He’s just 3 turning 4, and hopefully he just continues to keep improving. He’s a nice horse.”
A winner of three races from eight starts, Sticksstatelydude has earnings of $326,400. His 1 1/4-length victory in the Discovery marked his first stakes win. The Discovery’s runner-up, Neolithic, was a nine-length winner of an allowance race at Gulfstream Park on Wednesday. His connections, Starlight Racing, have a slot in the Pegasus.
Mr. Jordan a Horse of Interest in Pegasus World Cup Search
With stakeholders in the $12 million Pegasus World Cup on the lookout for horses to compete in the inaugural running of the world’s richest race at Gulfstream Park Jan. 28, Mr. Jordan became a horse of interest when the 4-year-old graded-stakes winner produced a dazzling 3 3/4-length triumph in the $100,000 Sunshine Millions Classic Preview at Gulfstream Park West Nov. 12.
Although preliminary inquiries have been made concerning the Pegasus, trainer Eddie Plesa is currently preparing the son of Kantharos for a start in the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Jan. 17.
“They’ve got 12 people who have spots and paid a million for them. They have to find horses. I guess my horse is a logical horse for somebody to call and ask about. I’ve had two phone calls,” Plesa said. “The bottom line is for us, he’s probably going to be the favorite in a race with a purse of $250,000, with a $150,000 to the winner. I don’t know the figures and how they work out. How does somebody compensate me? It’s a difficult situation.
“We have all intentions of running in the Sunshine Millions,” he added. “If somebody wants to put a solid offer on the table, myself and my partners would listen and then make a decision. It hasn’t gotten that far just – just inquiries.”
Mr. Jordan, who is owned by Plesa’s wife Laurie and longtime clients David Melin and Leon Ellman, is a multiple stakes winner who has finished in the money in 15 of 17 career starts, including a triumph in the 2015 Pegasus Stakes (G3) at Monmouth and several other graded-stakes placings. The Florida-bred has blossomed in recent starts after being gelded in July and with a chronic foot issue resolved.
“Mr. Jordan’s doing excellent and getting ready for the Sunshine Millions.,” Plesa said. “He came out of his race great, looks great and is doing very well.”
The Plesa-trained Awesome Slew may also become a horse of interest should he be victorious in Saturday’s $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
Live Oak Plantation’s 3-year-old colt captured the Smarty Jones (G3) by seven lengths at Parx Sept. 8 in his second start equipped with blinkers. The son of Awesome Again set the pace before finishing fifth in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G2) at Parx three weeks later.
“He always showed he was something better than average, and I still have those hopes for him. This will be a race that will get him ready for whatever is in store for him down the road,” Plesa said. “My enthusiasm for the horse really hasn’t diminished. He got sick on us last year before all the big 3-year-old races.”
Awesome Slew, who will be ridden for the first time by Joel Rosario, will meet six rivals in the 1 1/16-mile Harlan’s Holiday, including Keen Ice, who upset Triple Crown champion American Pharoah in the 2015 Travers (G1), and multiple graded-stakes winners Stanford and Madefromlucky.
The newly graded Harlan’s Holiday will highlight a 11-race program (Noon first-race post) with five stakes, including the $100,000 Sugar Swirl (G3), the $100,000 Rampart (G3), the $100,000 El Prado and $100,000 South Beach.