Cyberknife wins the G1 Haskell Invitational in track record time at Monmouth Park
Two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Brad Cox says he’s as expectant of a big performance on Jan. 28 by Gold Square LLC’s Cyberknife in Gulfstream Park’s $3-million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) as he was with Knicks Go the past two years.
Knicks Go won the 2021 Pegasus to kick off what proved to be a Horse of the Year campaign and was second last year behind Life Is Good, a finalist for 2022 Horse of the Year.
“It’s going to be a good race,” Cox said by phone from New Orleans. “We felt confident with Knicks Go both times. He ran two great races. Obviously, one was a winning effort and the other was second to a very, very good horse. I feel every bit as confident with this horse as I did with Knicks Go the two previous seasons.”
The 1 1/8-mile Pegasus World Cup for 4-year-olds and up headlines a program featuring eight stakes, seven graded, worth $5.3 million in purses including the $1-million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) and $500,000 Pegasus Filly & Mare Turf Invitational (G1).
Cox loves what he’s seeing in Cyberknife’s training since the likely Pegasus favorite finished second by a head behind favored Cody’s Wish in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Keeneland, including another powerful workout Sunday morning at the Fair Grounds.
With jockey Florent Geroux aboard, Cyberknife worked five-eighths of a mile alongside multiple stakes winner Warrant in 1:00.60 before working on past the wire to finish in 1:12.60 for six furlongs.
Cox said Cyberknife galloped out seven-eighths of a mile in 1:25.40. Warrant’s official five-furlong time of 1:00.60 was the fastest of the morning among 44 works at the distance. Cyberknife was the only horse to work three-quarters of a mile.
“I feel we’re right where we need to be for him to run a big race,” Cox said. “We’ve got one more work here at the Fair Grounds, and then we plan on shipping that following Monday.”
The Pegasus will be the career finale for Cyberknife, a son of 2017 Horse of the Year and 2018 Pegasus winner Gun Runner, before retiring to stud at Spendthrift Farm in Lexington. The 4-year-old colt will try to tack on another Grade 1 to go with victories in the Arkansas Derby and Haskell Invitational. He also was second in the Travers (G1) and third in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) while bankrolling $2,087,520 for the year.