The second running of the Pegasus World Cup takes place Saturday at Gulfstream Park in Florida, with $16 million in purse money.
GUN RUNNER, 2017 Horse of the Year, is your heavy favorite with morning line odds at 4-5, and he's strictly the one to beat in the field of 12. The five-year-old Breeders’ Cup Classic champion will be making his final appearance today, attempting to leave the racing circuit with a $7 million winning prize. Horse racing fans want to see him go out on top.
Horseplayers on the other hand, are going to try and beat him.
I’m going to try and beat him with a few of the off-the-pace runners, hoping for a heated pace battle to occur, with Gun Runner getting a little tired before the wire. But if Gun Runner comes in on top of his game, he’s unbeatable, and I won’t have a problem seeing him end his career winning the richest race in the world.
Post time is scheduled for about 4:35 p.m. on NBC.
The Expected Winner
GUN RUNNER is the best dirt horse in the world. No doubt about it. It’s his race to lose and he’ll probably go off around 3-5. He has made nearly $9 million in his three-year career and is a winner of four consecutive Grade 1 races by a total of 25 lengths. He’s a beast, I get it. But every horse has a off day, and it could be today, He’s racing on the Florida track for the very first time, and with a poor outside draw. He’s going to have to work hard out of the gate to get on or near the lead where he’s most comfortable, starting from the 10 post. Many will be cheering for Gun Runner to leave the sport as a winner, and I don’t blame them, but I’m a horseplayer. It be rude not to try to beat him. Hey, even Secretariat failed as the favorite four times in his career. So what I’m saying, there’s a chance.
Bob Baffert’s Runners
WEST COAST and COLLECTED are the two best horses to pull off the upset at healthy prices. The stablemates should get the perfect stalking trips behind the expected pace duel, and ready to pounce on the front runners. Don’t be surprised if you see Collected join in on the fun on the lead, helping out his roommate West Coast, who will be waiting in the shadows to make his move down payoff alley. Both can brag about multiple triple-numer speed figures and graded stakes wins. I think West Coast has the better chance for improvement. Won six of nine starts last year to kick off his racing career.
The One To Catch
SHARP AZTECA is all about speed. The No. 2 morning-line choice has never run this distance ( 1 1/8 miles) but has three wins in five starts on the Gulfstream track. Gets top jockey Irad Ortiz aboard, who is accomplished at controlling and milking a horse on the lead. Has three bullet drills coming in for trainer Jorge Navarro, who excels at Gulfstream. But once again, it’s all about the distance. Tough task to ask for a front runner who has never run this far, and with a wall of speed behind him.
The Long Shot Plays
GUNNEVERA will get the perfect pace scenario for the drive home down the stretch, picking up the pieces along the way. This deep closer boasts a 3-2-1 record in 7 starts at Gulfstream, and it doesn’t hurt to lure local jockey Luis Saez, who had a record tying sevens wins on the Wednesday’s Gulfstream card. SEEKING THE SOUL keeps improving with each race and will be doing his better running late at around 25-1. Trainer Dallas Stewart has a strong portfolio in getting huge prices in the payoff spots.
50 cent Trifecta Box (#2West Coast, #4Sharp Azteca, #5 Collected, #6 Gunnevera #10 Gun Runner #Seeking The Soul) $60
$8 Exactas (West Coast, Sharp Azteca, Collected, Gunnevera and Seeking The Soul on top of Gun Runner) $40