Saturday is the fourth running of he Pegasus World Cup, and the second for the Pegasus World Cup Turf.
The two Grade 1 events kicks off the 2020 major stakes racing season with some of the best 4 year olds and up facing each other at Gulfstream Park. TV coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. on NBC.
The $1 million Pegasus Turf will feature 12 horses, including European morning line MAGIC WAND, who drew the dreaded far outside post.
The $3 million 1 1/8 mile Pegasus World Cup originally started with 12 runners, but the top two M/L favorites scratched on Thursday with OMAHA BEACH and SPUN TO RUN. A big ouch to many racing fans, but it’s about the safety of the horses. So back to the drawing board, because the race appears to be more wide open with the two heavyweights not leaving the barn.
Both races are still deep in talent and evenly matched, so let’s look at a few of the key contenders for each race.
Here are my thoughts and tickets.
PEGASUS WORLD CUP TURF
MO FORZA should be lone speed in a field full of chasers with jockey Joel Rosario as the pilot, who in my opinion, is one of the best riders when on the lead. The four year old colt enters with four consecutive wins, and Rosario was at the helm for two of those victories. This is a big step up facing older and better, but trainer Peter Miller thinks his colt is on the upswing, and we should get 5-1 or higher when the gates open. The one to catch to get the win.
Trainer Chad Brown, sends in the trifecta with WITHOUT PAROLE, INSTILLED REGARD, and SACRED LIFE. All three are serious contenders, and must be used somewhere on your tickets. Without Parole finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, after being sidelined for six months. He’s been freshened up since with some sharp works, and could be peaking at the right time. Instilled Regard won last out in a Grade 2 event at Gulfstream Park, beating a few of today’s rivals.
MAGIC WAND ran second to Bricks and Mortar in last year’s inaugural Pegasus Turf, and returns at the top of her game after facing much better opponents in Hong Kong, Australia, and Ireland. Traveling around the globe might of caught up to the five year old mare, and drawing the outside 12 hole doesn’t help tackling the boys. Much respect, but prefer others.
Wagering Menu: $40 Win/Place MO FORZA Total Bet: $80
PEGASUS WORLD CUP
MUCHO GUSTO has early speed to be involved from the start for trainer Bob Baffert. The colt is a consistent money-maker and is full of bullet drills in his morning works. With the top two choices out, the four year old colt can save some gas when things start to unfold. Baffert usually has his runners ready for the big races.
HIGHER POWER connections are probably not upset about the scratches. Was 6-1 M/L, and will probably go off around 3-1 now. Ran third last two out after faulty starts, and will be extremely dangerous with a clean break. Expect to sit close to the pace with hot jock Flavien Prat aboard.The connections won the Grade 1 Pacific Classic three back handily by five lengths.
TAX and WAR STORY loom late closing threats at healthy prices, and should enjoy the view of the expected quick pace from mid-pack. Odds will be diminished at the windows now, but prices should still be generous.
DIAMOND OOPS is 5 for 6 sprinting at Gulfstream Park, so has a little home field advantage. Training well coming in, and could be dangerous if he can stretch his speed out to nine-furlongs.
Wagering Menu: $2 Trifecta Box: MUCHO GUSTO, HIGHER POWER, TAX, WAR STORY, and DIAMOND OOPS Total Bet $120