Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott was extremely pleased Jan. 29 with the manner in which Bruce Lunsford’s Art Collector exited his 15-1 upset victory in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park the day before.
“He’s happy. He was bright and alert and seemed to be feeling pretty good about himself,” Mott said.
Art Collector, who had established himself as a solid graded-stakes performer while earning more than $2.3 million in his 20 previous starts, turned in a career-best performance in the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus World Cup.
“It’s strange. I knew he was doing well going into the race. I felt like he was training well, but you can’t really predict the outcome in a race like that,” Mott said. “There’s some nice horses in there and you don’t know much about the rest of them. I knew our horse was doing well. Did he exceed expectations? I wouldn’t say that because I didn’t know what to expect.”
Art Collector, who won the 2021 Woodward Stakes (G1) and back-to-back Charles Town Classics (G2) while setting the pace, rated kindly off a contested early pace in the Pegasus before making a three-wide sweep to the lead under Junior Alvarado on his way to a 4 1/2-length victory.
“We made a conscious decision yesterday to not run him off his feet and see if he could do it that way, and it worked out well. He’s had a good year already,” Mott said.
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