Tapiture’s Classic-placed colt Jesus’ Team scored a three-quarter length victory in Saturday’s $150,000 Claiming Crown Jewel at Gulfstream Park, his final prep race for the track’s $3 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) on Jan. 23.
Though the 3-year-old hadn’t tasted victory since May 8, Jesus’ Team has had an excellent year, finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) and Monmouth Park’s Pegasus S., and third in the Preakness S. (G1) and Jim Dandy (G2). Saturday’s win improved his mark to 3-4-3 in 13 starts, with earnings of $518,540.
Ridden by Luis Saez, Jesus’ Team tracked behind pacesetter Storm Runner, who set fractions of 23.14 and 46.40 seconds for the first half-mile. Saez eased Jesus’ Team off the inside coming into the homestretch and wore down the leader in the final furlong to finish the 1 1/8 miles on the fast main track in 1:49.30.
“I think the race was good for him because he only had the one work since the (Nov. 7) Breeders’ Cup. After the Breeders’ Cup he was in Ocala in a round pen and small paddock,” trainer Jose D’Angelo said. “I think he’s going very well into the Pegasus World Cup.”
Jesus’ Team is owned by Grupo 7C Racing Stable and was bred by Pamela Gartin. The bay colt is from the family of Grade 1 winner and producer Memories of Silver.
Tapiture is the leading Second-Crop sire this year by winners (85) and wins (115). After breeding 186 mares this year, his largest crop to date, he will stand the 2021 season for $10,000 S&N.