Nimitz Class , purchased privately after winning six stakes at three different tracks in the Mid-Atlantic, will debut for his new connections in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1) Jan. 27 at Gulfstream Park.

A 5-year-old Munnings   horse bred in Pennsylvania by his former owner, Tom Coulter’s Arrowwood Farm, Nimitz Class was acquired last fall by the partnership of Qatar Racing, Black Type Thoroughbreds, Swinbank Stables, Steve Adkisson, and Campeche Stables and transferred to trainer George Weaver.

Black Type is headed by Jake Ballis and his friend and former basketball teammate, retired NBA forward Rashard Lewis, who played for Seattle, Washington, Orlando, and Miami, winning an NBA title with the Heat in 2013.

“Jake Ballis put it together,” Weaver said. “Jake had his eye on the horse. Anytime you try to make a deal buying a horse, there’s some negotiations and figuring stuff out. He was able to get a deal that both parties were happy with, so now we have a horse in the Pegasus from the one-hole. Let’s see what happens.”

Nimitz Class was the last horse in the 12-horse Pegasus field, added off the also-eligible list on entry day following the defection of Ny Traffic . He drew the rail and will be ridden for the first time by Edgard Zayas.

“He seems like a classy horse. He’s pretty easy to be around. He goes out there and does his job. We’re very happy to have him,” Weaver said. “The horse runs fast numbers. He’s been doing it on the Mid-Atlantic circuit, so this is a little bit of a different venue for him, but he’s got good enough numbers it’s not going to surprise me if he’s a part of it at the end.”

Nimitz Class owns 11 career wins, including the 1 1/16-mile Robert T. Manfuso Stakes and John B. Campbell Stakes, one-mile Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Stakes, and 1 1/8-mile Native Dancer in succession at Laurel Park over the winter and spring of 2022-23. He also won the six-furlong Danzig Stakes against state-breds in 2022 at Penn National Race Course and Parx Dirt Mile Stakes last fall, the latter by 1 3/4 lengths over grade 1-winning multimillionaire Gunite  .

Weaver is hoping that Zayas, one of Gulfstream’s top year-round riders, will be able to work out a good trip from post 1 on Nimitz Class, a winner of $717,080 in purse earnings that is rated at 20-1 on the morning line.

“I think when you’re going two turns at Gulfstream it’s not that far to the (first) turn, so you’re better off being inside than outside,” Weaver said. “I imagine we’re going to ask the horse for some position. I don’t think he’s got the kind of speed that’s going to put him on the front end, but we’re going to ask him to find a nice spot going into the first turn and after that it’s going to be up to the jock and the horse to get it done.”

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Cover Photo Credit to Coglianese Photos/Ryan Thompson

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