Trainer Jose D’Angelo is aiming to give Jesus’ Team a run next month before targeting the $3m Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park early in the New Year.
D’Angelo has revealed that the three-year-old is slated for his next start in the $150,000 Claiming Crown Jewel at Gulfstream Park on December 5th.
Jesus’ Team, who finished second in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Keeneland earlier this month, is eligible for the Gulfstream race having broken his maiden in a $32,000 maiden claiming race at the same venue back in March.
The one-mile-one-furlong Jewel is restricted to three-year-olds and up that have started for a claiming price of $35,000 at least once in 2019/20. After also scoring in claiming company in May, Jesus’ Team has gone on to prove himself in graded-stakes company in six further starts since, culminating in that Breeders’ Cup second.
The Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup is firmly on his radar, but D’Angelo doesn’t want a two-month plus break going into that battle.
“I prefer a race before the Pegasus World Cup. I don’t want to work him up to that race from the Breeders’ Cup,” D’Angelo said. “He needs a race in December.”
Jesus’ Team has been improving all the time in his 2020 run. He finished a remote third in the Preakness at Pimlico in October behind Swiss Skydiver and Kentucky Derby/Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Authentic before coming from off the pace to finish nearest to runaway Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile scorer Knicks Go at Keeneland.
D’Angelo trains out of Palm Meadows, Gulfstream Park’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County, and Jesus’ Team will be back in work there following a post-Breeders’ Cup break and rest period.
In the trainer’s eyes, his charge has been going the right way since winning his second race in May.
“After he won the race for $25,000 [in May], I saw a big change in him,” D’Angelo said. “With every race, he gets better and better.
“After the Breeders’ Cup, we sent him to Ocala for rest in the paddock and round pen for a week. He’s happy and healthy. Now, he’s at Palm Meadows and will start training again.”
Jesus’ Team is not alone in being amongst some high calibre entries for the $150,000 Claiming Crown Jewel, with Grade 1 stakes winner Math Wizard and Grade 3 winner Harper’s First Ride also amongst the possible acceptors alongside last year’s winner Leitone in the nominations.