Comeback Is The Toast Of Pegasus World Cup

There is no question that Toast Of New York has taken the most unconventional path of the 12 horses headed to the $16 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park in Florida on January 27.
In a remarkable turnabout the 7YO Toast Of New York has recovered from a leg injury; returned from a three-year retirement; and resumed training after standing at stud in the Middle East.
Toast Of New York won his comeback race at Lingfield in the UK on December 6 and is scheduled to ship from England to Florida this weekend.
He will take on a strong field of Graded stakes winners in the Pegasus, headed by champion Gun Runner, who is expected to be named Horse of the Year at the Eclipse Awards next Thursday.
“It’s totally unique. I’ve never come across it before,” said Harry Herbert, racing manager for owner Sheikh Joaan Al Thani’s Al Shaqab.
“I’m sure people have tried and maybe tried but failed. I don’t know who has succeeded after this sort of delay.”
Toast Of New York will compete in the Pegasus for the stakeholder group of Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, R.A. Hill Stable and Eric Young.
When last seen in the Toast Of New York finisheda nose behind Bayern and a neck in front of California Chrome in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
That performance capped a fine season in which the Jamie Osborne-trained colt won the G2 UAE Derby at Meydan and finished second to Shared Belief in the G1 Pacific Classic.
Shortly after the Breeders’ Cup, Al Shaqab purchased Toast Of New York to run him in the 2015 Dubai World Cup.
“In preparation for the World Cup he got a slight tear in a tendon,” Herbert said. “That was pretty disastrous and trying to bring him back really didn’t work. In the end it was decided to retire him.”
Toast Of New York was sent to Al Shaqab’s breeding farm in Doha, where he covered about 15 mares during the 2016 breeding season, getting 10 in foal.
Herbert credits Duncan Moir, a veterinarian who works for Al Shaqab, with the idea of returning Toast Of New York to racing.
“We took the view of getting him back to the and see how that tendon was with a view to possibly sending him back into training,” Herbert said.
Toast Of New York was sent to a pre-training center near Newmarket owned by Sheikh Joaan’s cousin Sheikh Fahad.
“It’s a very good rehabilitation and they do a phenomenal job there,” Herbert said.
“Bit by bit, the weight came off him and the exercise increased and the view was taken by Duncan Moir that he should go back into training with Jamie Osborne.”
After more than than 1000 days between races Toast Of New York showed up at Lingfield. Wearing blinkers for the first time, he won by a length under Frankie Dettori, who will ride him in the Pegasus.
“Jamie has done the most remarkable job with the horse, very patient with a very, very gradual build-up into the race at Lingfield,” Herbert said.
“It might not have been the greatest race in the world, but the horse had been off three years, had covered mares, had come back and won a stakes race. In itself, that was a remarkable feat.
“So, here we are with the potential of running for a huge pot and back in the States, where his glory days were three years ago.”
Herbert estimated that Toast Of New York was about 80 percent fit for the race on the artificial surface at Lingfield.
“Now he is fitter,” Herbert said. “He’s going very well. He’s moving great.
“Certainly, physically, the way the horse is going, the trainer could not be happier. It’s a very exciting prospect to see him back on the big stage.”
“There is a huge amount of goodwill around this horse. I think anyone involved in racing would really wish him well and hopes he runs a big race and comes back safe.
"To have got this far, it’s a wonderful, wonderful tale.
“Just to have him turn up and run, and hopefully run a decent race and come back safe and sound, will be a triumph in itself.”

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