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National Treasure gives Baffert third Pegasus World Cup (G1) winner
Sunday, January 28, 2024
National Treasure edges Senor Buscador in the 2024 Pegasus World Cup (G1) - Coglianese photo
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National Treasure gamely held off Senor Buscador to win Saturday’s $3 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) at Gulfstream Park, giving Bob Baffert his third win in the eight-year history of the race.

Baffert’s previous wins in the 1 1/8-mile race came with Arrogate (2017) and Mucho Gusto (2020).

National Treasure, winner of last year’s Preakness S. (G1), hounded Hoist the Gold through a half-mile in :46.32. He began to get closer to the pacesetter entering the final turn and took over the top spot just before entering the homestretch. With Flavien Prat urging him on, National Treasure opened up by two lengths with a furlong to run, then dug in to win by a neck in 1:50.51 on a fast track.

His 105 Beyer Speed Figure was second only to his 107 in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) in November, when he lost by a nose to eventual Horse of the Year Cody’s Wish.

“I’ve always thought he was that good a horse,” Baffert said of the winner. “He was just very immature, and (now) he’s getting better and better, the way he’s training. He trained much better than he was going into the Breeders’ Cup.”

National Treasure is owned by SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Robert E. Masterson, Stonestreet Stables LLC, Jay A. Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital LLC & Catherine Donovan. Saturday’s big payday upped his earnings to $3,322,000 and record to 3-2-2 in 11 starts.

“It's a wonderful partnership,” SF Racing's Tom Ryan said. “Great group of people that have stood behind us the whole way throughout over the last five or six years. Bob has taken us to places that we probably didn't feel we could arrive. This horse, what he did today, sitting off a horse, showed a new dimension. He's going to be a very nice 4-year-old.”

Baffert 2013