While much of the Pegasus World Cup (G1) news has involved key contender workouts, the biggest development to emerge in recent days is the increasingly questionable status of McKinzie. Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert didn’t sound overly enthusiastic Thursday about committing his multiple Grade 1 hero to the $9 million contest at Gulfstream Park. “We’re just waiting and don’t want to get in a rush with him,” Baffert told Santa Anita publicity after McKinzie’s half-mile move in :47.80. “It’s a long year.” On Saturday, Baffert made his point crystal clear when speaking to Bill Finley of Thoroughbred Daily News. “With horses as good as Accelerate and City of Light, someone like that would have to defect for us to change our minds,” he said. “If we were talking about Arrogate, American Pharoah or Justify, we’d go. But this horse is different. He is a very nice horse, but he is still developing. “I think that if we do right by him he’s going to wind up being the best older horse in the country and I don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves this early in the year.” In Sunday’s Santa Anita stable notes, Baffert reiterated his coolness to the idea. “He’s doing well and it’s tempting, but the Pegasus still would be a little quick back off of a seven-furlong race (his romp in the December 26 Malibu [G1]), so we’ll see.” McKinzie’s alternative is the February 2 San Pasqual (G2). In a discussion of longer range targets, Baffert told Finley that the Met Mile (G1) would be right up his street. *** Meanwhile, Breeders’ Cup stars Accelerate and City of Light continued their preparations toward a Pegasus rubber match, their mutual career finale before both retire to stud at Lane’s End. Accelerate, a Horse of the Year finalist and presumptive champion older male, aims to maintain the perfect record of Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winners in the Pegasus. With Arrogate prevailing in the inaugural Pegasus in 2017, and Gun Runner following up in 2018, Accelerate would make it three straight. The John Sadler charge turned in his stiffest work at Santa Anita Friday, covering seven furlongs in 1:27.20. Under assistant-cum-exercise rider Juan Leyva, Accelerate posted by far the fastest of four moves at the distance. The next best was 1:28.80. “I got him in 1:27 and (galloping) out a mile in (one) 40 and four-fifths, so it was a good long-distance work,” Sadler said. “On this track, it’s not super-fast. He’ll come back next week with more of a blowout type work, like five-eighths or something like that. But I’m glad we got this one in today because of the weather. It’s going to rain tomorrow (Saturday) and we’ve got a lot of rain next week.” Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) romper City of Light, who handed Accelerate his only loss of 2018 in the Oaklawn H. (G2), likewise beat the Santa Anita rain by drilling Friday. The Michael McCarthy trainee sped five-eighths in 1:00.80. “His attitude is good, his appetite is great and he’s training with a lot of energy,” McCarthy said the day before the work. City of Light will keep jockey Javier Castellano aboard for the Pegasus, Daily Racing Form’s Marty McGee reported. That meant Audible, upset in the Harlan’s Holiday (G3) last out, was looking for a new rider until connections announced Sunday that Flavien Prat would take the reins. *** The reigning Florida Derby (G1) winner and third in the Kentucky Derby (G1), Audible breezed five panels in 1:00.98 at trainer Todd Pletcher’s Palm Beach Downs base Saturday. He outworked companion Impact Player who finished up in 1:01.08. “Audible’s training really well,” Pletcher told Gulfstream publicity. “I’ve been pleased with all of his works, particularly this morning. It was a good, solid five-eighths with a strong gallop-out that we were looking for. All indications are he’s in good form and coming up to the race very well.” Pletcher also spoke of Audible’s reverse in the Harlan’s Holiday, a half-length loss as the 1-10 favorite to the unheralded 25-1 shot Sir Anthony. “It wasn’t what we were hoping for,” Pletcher understated. “We needed a race to build him up for the Pegasus. It didn’t go as planned. He was a prohibitive favorite. Unfortunately, before the race, the skies opened and we got a downpour into a harrowed track. They tried to seal it after that but it was too late. “I think, more than anything, he didn’t like the condition of the track. He didn’t fire his best shot. He came out of it well and has trained better than ever coming into the Pegasus. It served its purpose in terms of conditioning. “We eased back into it after the Harlan’s Holiday. We’ve put some good, solid five-eighths into him and I’ve been particularly pleased with the way he’s galloped out. This will be his third start off the layoff. “I think a mile and an eighth is ideal for him, especially if there’s a good contested pace. That’s important for him. He likes to settle early. If we can get some good solid fractions. Some of the main contenders have a lot of speed. If they mix it up a little bit, I think he’ll benefit from that.” Gunnevera, the deep-closing Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up, would appreciate pace help too. Antonio Sano’s $4.1 million-earner toured six furlongs in 1:15.80 at his Gulfstream Park West headquarters Saturday. Workmate Cometin clocked the same time. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. was pleased with the move, as was Sano, who believes that Gunnevera’s better now than he was when third in the 2018 Pegasus. “He worked really good,” Ortiz recapped. “He’s doing everything right. Hopefully, he comes back to racing the way he is right now.” “I feel very happy with him,” Sano said. “He’s a different horse. He’s a stronger horse.” Working on Sunday were Chad Brown’s Cigar Mile (G1) winner Patternrecognition, who strode five panels at Palm Meadows in 1:02.30, and Charles Town Classic (G2) scorer Something Awesome, who covered the same ground at Gulfstream in 1:02.33 for Jose Corrales. Hall of Famer Edgar Prado guided the Stronach Stables homebred. *** Fair Grounds-based Pegasus contenders Seeking the Soul and Tom’s d’Etat tied for the five-eighths bullet in New Orleans Saturday. Each motored in 1:00.00, best of 77 moves at the distance. Seeking the Soul, second in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and third as the defending Clark H. (G1) champion in his last pair, ripped his half-mile split in :47.80. “Just a strong, basic work for him,” trainer Dallas Stewart said. “That’s him. He’s doing great.” Seeking the Soul is eligible to improve on his fifth in last year’s Pegasus, since he exited that race with an injury. “The last Pegasus, unfortunately, he got a bone chip that Dr. (Robert) Hunt said probably affected his race,” owner/breeder Charles Fipke recounted, “so he only came in fifth. It took a long time for him to recover.” The progressive Tom’s d’Etat has overcome past injury himself, ankle problems that have kept him to just nine career starts. But the six-year-old comes off a commanding stakes debut in the Tenacious, and he’s now won four in a row by a combined 22 lengths. “We designed a five-eighths work for Tom’s d’Etat and it was executed properly,” Stall told Fair Grounds publicity. “He had a target about four or five lengths in front of him. He turned off, relaxed and kicked on past him. As in all his works, the best thing about it was the gallop out. His gallop out around the turn and around the backside was just beautiful. “This is the one where we let him do something. In a $9 million race you don’t want to leave anything on the field.” Tom’s d’Etat is owned by Gayle Benson’s GMB Racing – cue the New Orleans Saints tie-in here. Calumet Farm’s duo of Bravazo and True Timber remain on schedule at their respective bases. At Oaklawn Park, Preakness (G1) and Clark runner-up Bravazo recorded his third successive bullet for Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, blitzing five furlongs in :59.60 on January 9. Cigar Mile second True Timber, still in Kiaran McLaughlin’s Belmont Park barn, negotiated six panels on the training track Friday in 1:14.80. The pride of Mexico, undefeated Kukulkan, is “doing very well,” trainer Fausto Gutierrez reports. The Mexican Triple Crown winner, who outclassed the opposition in Gulfstream’s Caribbean Classic, is due for one more work at home before he ships out for a Thursday arrival. *** Kukulkan’s rider in the Pegasus, the legendary Frankie Dettori, has picked up an in intriguing mount in the companion Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) – Delta Prince, according to Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman. Stronach Stables’ homebred half-brother to triple champion Royal Delta was just added to the prospective field for the $7 million Turf. Last seen finishing a distant third in the November 2 Bold Ruler (G3) on the Aqueduct main, Delta Prince would be trying 1 3/16 miles for the first time here. But the son of Street Cry is entitled to prosper on the stretch-out for Jimmy Jerkens, and his turf form is respectable. Delta Prince scored his signature win in last summer’s King Edward (G2), in a blistering 1:32.35 for the mile at Woodbine, and he missed narrowly in the Fourstardave (G1). The Pegasus Turf gained another major player in Channel Maker, the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) hero who ran well below his best when 11th in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). He’ll give Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott a one-two punch in the race, with stablemate Yoshida also in the line-up. Channel Maker’s co-owner Dean Reeves, who bought into the English Channel gelding prior to the Breeders’ Cup, commented on his profile. “He has put up some really great numbers,” Reeves said. “We looked at him as a horse that, for a number of years, we could run in the top turf races, not only in the United States, but we could take this horse to England or Dubai, wherever we wanted to go. Certainly, we had the Pegasus as a race we were going to point to when we talked about partnering in the horse. “English Channel horses seem to get better the older they get. He being a gelding, the bottom line is that he is a horse we’ll continue to race. Hopefully, he’ll continue to improve.” As discussed last week, other key performers slated for the Pegasus Turf are Japan’s Aerolithe, Aidan O’Brien’s Magic Wand, Sadler’s Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) runner-up Catapult, Brown’s Bricks and Mortar, and the Richard Baltas-trained Next Shares.