Atone Continues to Train Forwardly for $1 Million Pegasus Turf (G1)
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Three Diamonds Farm’s Atone uncorked his third straight bullet workout Saturday at Gulfstream Park in preparation for the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1), powering five-eighths of a mile in 59.96 seconds for the fastest time of the morning for 48 works at the distance. The prior two weeks, Atone worked in 59.04 and 59.20.
Atone, purchased by Three Diamonds at Fasig-Tipton in July 2021 for $130,000, led all the way through a leisurely pace to win his last start, an Aqueduct turf allowance Nov. 10.
“He’s in top form. The freshening did him well, so I expect another big performance from him,” said trainer Mike Maker, who won the 2020 Pegasus Turf with Zulu Alpha. “He’s always been a straightforward horse, works well, puts a bunch into his gallops.”
For the second straight year, Atone needed defections from the Pegasus Turf’s original invitees in order to run. Last year he finished fourth, losing by a total of 1 3/4 lengths to two-time winner Colonel Liam.
Maker says he understands why Atone wasn’t an original invitee as the now 6-year-old gelding has never won a stakes. He does, however, possess three seconds and two thirds in graded-stakes the past 13 months, along with a fourth by a total of a length in the Maker’s Mark Mile (G1).
“He’s been a little bit of a hard-luck horse,” Maker said. “He’s a lot more mature this year than he was last year.”
Maker said both Mark Breen’s 7-year-old Endorsed, fourth in last year’s Pegasus World Cup at 85-1 odds, and Nice Guy Stables’ 8-year-old Knickerbocker (G3) winner King Cause, who is awaiting a spot in the Pegasus Turf, would run if they get in their respective races.
Both horses are currently on the reserve list. The final invitational lists will be released Wednesday, Jan. 18 with the draw for all Pegasus races to take place Sunday, Jan. 22.