Jesus’ Team Meets ‘Super’ Rival in Gulfstream Feature
Grade 1-Placed Veteran vs. Chilean Group 1 Winner
Thursday Allowance May Lead to Pegasus World Cup
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Sonata Stable’s Jesus’ Team could be expected to step up his game in his second start off a 15-month layoff in Thursday’s Race 8 feature at Gulfstream Park, which would seem to be necessary if the popular overachiever is going to defeat Jet Set Racing Stable’s Super Corinto.
Amador Sanchez-trained Super Corinto, a Group 1 winner in Chile, is set to make his second start in the U.S. in Thursday’s 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance. The 4-year-old Argentine-bred son of Super Saver made a strong showing in his first appearance in a one-turn mile optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream Nov. 12, making a five-wide sweep to the lead into the stretch and coming up just short of holding off multiple-stakes winner Noble Drama.
“Super Corinto is doing well for this race,” Sanchez said. “I’m expecting a strong performance. He’s a very good horse.”
Super Corinto won four of six starts in Peru, where he started his career, and Chile, where he finished second behind multiple Group 1 winner O’Connor in the Longines Gran Premio Latinoamericano (G1) before upsetting the Chilean star in the Gran Premio Hipodromo Chile (G1) in his final South American start. That triumph took on more significance upon O’Connor’s sparking Oct. 16 U.S. debut at Gulfstream Park, where he rated off the pace before pulling away to a six-length victory in a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance.
Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. is pointing O’Connor to the Dec. 31 Harlan’s Holiday (G3) hoping for an invitation to the $3 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) Jan. 28 at Gulfstream. A Pegasus invitation is also Sanchez’s ultimate goal for Super Corinto.
“I’m hoping to get an invitation for the Pegasus if the result from this race is positive,” said Sanchez, who will also saddle Royal Luck, a Group 2 winner on turf in Chile before finishing fifth in his U.S. debut at Mountaineer Park. “But I’ll run another race before the Pegasus if necessary. Super Corinto is a horse who ran better when running more frequently in comparison to when he was coming off a layoff.”
Hector Berrios, who ventured to Chile to ride Super Corinto in his final two starts there, rode him in his U.S. debut and has the return mount Thursday.
Jesus’ Team, who finished second in the 2021 Pegasus World Cup and the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) behind Knicks Go, the eventual 2021 Horse of the Year, was sidelined while fighting for his life after being afflicted with salmonella and laminitis. The son of Tapiture made an unlikely return to racing at Gulfstream Nov. 12 in a one-turn mile optional claiming allowance, in which he was never a factor.
“He came out of the race very well,” D’Angelo said. “I knew he needed a race because he was away a long time from the track. I really like the way he is training now. He had a very good breeze from the gate Saturday.”
With a race under his belt and stretching out around two turns, D’Angelo expects Jesus’ Team to show marked improvement Thursday.
“He wants to go long. He likes the [two-turn] distance,” D’Angelo said.
Luis Saez, who was aboard Jesus’ Team for his second-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and his subsequent victory in the 1 1/8-mile Claiming Crown Jewel, returns to the saddle.
Jesus’s Team is 5-1 and Super Corinto is rated second at 2-1 in the morning-line behind 9-5 favorite Mish.
The Joseph-trained Mish will be seeking his first victory around two turns while racing for the first time since finishing off the board in the July 4 Hanshin at Churchill Downs. In his previous start, C2 Racing Stable LLC’s 5-year-old gelding finished second in the Steve Sexton Mile (G2) at Lone Star Park following three straight blowout wins at Gulfstream.
Klugman, Laughing Boy, Clapton and Brooklyn Strong round out the field.