Trainer Peter Eurton said Dec. 31 that the ownership group of Exline-Border Racing, Gatto Racing, and Garrett Zubok has made a deal with The Stronach Group to run Giant Expectations in the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1) Jan. 27 at Gulfstream Park.
Eurton declined to give the details of the deal, and only indicated the slot was one of three in which The Stronach Group—which runs the Pegasus and owns Gulfstream—bought up to fill the 12-horse field.
"We hadn't had any thoughts about running in the Pegasus until we saw the way he ran (in the grade 2 San Antonio Stakes Dec. 26)," Eurton said. "We were approached by the Pegasus, which had three slots open, and we worked out an arrangement.
"That's why we're in the game—to have fun and take shots."
Although the trip Giant Expectations got in the San Antonio—where he cruised on the lead and set slow fractions, then kicked away to defeat a group that included odds-on favorite Collected—is highly unlikely to happen again in the Pegasus, Eurton shrugged off the suggestion that the New York-bred son of Frost Giant is limited around two turns.
The soon-to-be 5-year-old earned his first graded win in the Aug. 26 Pat O'Brien Stakes (G2) at seven furlongs. He came into the 1 1/16-mile San Antonio winless in five starts around two turns.
Eurton contends that Giant Expectations' success often is determined by how well he gets out of the gate, and when he doesn't break—like in the Nov. 3 Las Vegas Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1), where he finished sixth—it's hard for the chestnut to run his race. With a clean break Eurton said he believes Giant Expectations would have at least finished third in the Dirt Mile.
"We've never been afraid of two turns," Eurton said. "His race all comes down to getting him away from the gate and getting into his comfort zone. When he's in last, like the Dirt Mile, and getting dirt in his face—he's just not that kind of horse."
The trainer also said, after Giant Expectations' run in the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus, he could stretch out even farther in the $600,000 Santa Anita Handicap (G1) going 1 1/4 miles March 10.
Bred by Sunrise Stables, out of the Is It True mare Sarahisittrue, Giant Expectations has a 4-3-1 record from 13 starts with $449,200 in earnings. He was a $135,000 purchase by Ryan Exline out of the 2015 Ocala Breeders' Sales March sale of 2-year-olds in training.