Dean Reeves of Reeves Thoroughbred Racing confirmed Dec. 15 that himself, R.A. Hill Stable, and Eric Young have reached a deal with Al Shaqab Racing to start multiple grade 1-placed Toast of New York in the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1) at Gulfstream Park Jan. 27.
Trained by Jamie Osborne for Al Shaqab, Toast of New York recently returned from a three-year layoff to win a 1 1/4-mile race at England's Lingfield Park Racecourse Dec. 6 in his first start since running second by a nose to Bayern in the 2014 Breeders' Cup Classic (G1).
The now 6-year-old son of Thewayyouare was initially retired with a soft tissue injury in early 2015 to take up stallion duties in Qatar. With the small nature of the Thoroughbred breeding industry in that country, he covered only a few mares and was returned to Osborne in April this year in preparation for a surprise return to racing.
"I think that he ran so well (in his return) that sort of put him in the picture," said Reeves, who added that Toast of New York would run in Al Shaqab's silks. "I had gotten wind of the fact that they wanted to run the horse in the race. Of course we had some other opportunities with some of the other horses, but we really didn't know if we were going to get anything done.
"Really in the last 24 hours, it sort of started to come together. We pulled the trigger and got the deal done."
Reeves Thoroughbred Racing is one of the original shareholders in the Pegasus, having purchased one of the 12 slots for the inaugural running that took place this past January. Reeves struck a deal with Gunpowder Farms and West Point Thoroughbreds to run graded stakes winner Breaking Lucky in the 2017 edition of the race, where the colt finished eighth behind race winner and champion Arrogate .
In addition to his runner-up finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic, Toast of New York also finished sixth in the 2014 Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes (G1T) and was second to champion Shared Belief in that year's TVG Pacific Classic Stakes (G1). He captured the 2014 U.A.E. Derby Sponsored By The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (G2) prior to his stateside runs.
"We certainly liked the way he looked (in his return) and this was a solid horse three years ago," Reeves said of Toast of New York. "He was right there in the Breeders' Cup. We'll look pretty smart if he wins it. If he runs up the track, it won't be any worse than it was last year."