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Victory Formation Wins Smarty Jones, Boosts Kentucky Derby Bid

Victory Formation Wins Smarty Jones: Victory Formation stretched his winning streak to three races with a victory in the Smarty Jones on Sunday at the Oaklawn. The colt out of Tapwrit led from the start to earn a three-length victory that merited 10 qualifying points for the 2023 Kentucky Derby. The win moved the 3-5 favorite to the early lead in the Road to the Kentucky Derby board, according to the website that features the best horseracing picks and parlays.

Victory Formation Wins Smarty Jones

The Flavian Prat-ridden horse took the lead at the clubhouse turn over Western Ghent. He took a 1 1/2-length lead on the backstretch. Western Ghent tried to keep up with Victory Formation’s pace but the advantage doubled down the stretch. The horse was left unbothered going to the final turn and eventually cruised to an easy win. 

Angel of Empire surged past Western Ghent in the stretch to take second. Denington also moved ahead to secure third spot while Western Ghent checked in fourth. The Smarty Jones triumph helped Victory Formation to remain unbeaten in his career and gain valuable Kentucky Derby qualification points. He also joined Angel of Empire and four other Brad Cox-trained horses in the derby leaderboard. 

City Man, Decorated Invader on Collision Course for Pegasus Turf

City Man and Decorated Invader are set for a showdown in the USD1-million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational this month at Gulfstream Park after finishing 1-2 at the USD200,000 Fort Lauderdale on December 31. City Man surged late in the race en route to a 1 1/2-length victory while Decorated Invader came in second as he went ahead by a neck in a photo-finish conclusion. The Grade 2 Fort Lauderdale serves as a preparatory race for the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational. The 1 1/8-mile race will be held on January 28.

The six-year-old City Man collected his third straight win and eighth career stakes win overall. Following the win, the horse’s co-owner Dan Reeves expressed optimism on what his entry will perform in the Pegasus Turf, saying that as long as his handlers prepare him well, he will perform the best that he can in the race. Decorated Invader, meanwhile, had to beat the odds, including drawing the outermost post in the 12-horse field, to rally and finish second. It was the six-year-old’s fourth race since coming back on September 24 and the third 1 1/8-mile race of his career. Back-to-back Pegasus Turf winner Colonel Liam came in sixth, which surprised stakes race betting fanatics who were counting on the Todd Pletcher-trained horse to be among the top three finishers in Fort Lauderdale. It was Colonel Liam’s first race since placing ninth in the Dubai Turf in March 2022.