Saturday is the third running of the Pegasus World Cup, North America's richest horse race, and this year's event at Gulfstream Park on Hallandale, Fla., features the first Pegasus World Cup Turf. Both races are deep in talent, with several of the best four year-olds and up in the world.
The $7 million purse for the Pegasus Turf has brought in a gifted and evenly matched group of 10 runners from across the world. I believe this race gives you the best opportunity to cash a healthy ticket. Eight of the 10 runners have a shot to win.
The $9 million Pegasus World Cup has a strong cast of 12 runners, but the race strictly goes through the two favorites, Accelerate and City of Light.
My thoughts and tickets for each race:
Pegasus World Cup Turf
11 13⁄16 miles. 4-year-olds and up. Purse: $7 million.
#: Horse, Jockey, TrainerWt./Odds
1: Magic Wand (Lordan, O'Brien)112/9-2
2: Yoshida (J. Ortiz, Mott)124/5-2
3: Channel Maker (Castellano, Mott)117/12-1
4: Aerolithe (Geroux, Kikuzawa)112/8-1
5: Next Shares (Gaffalione, Baltas)124/15-1
6: Fahan Mura (Maldonado, Cerin)119/30-1
7: Bricks and Mortar (I. Ortiz, Brown)124/5-1
8: Delta Prince (Dettori, Jerkens)124/15-1
9: Catapult (Rosario, Sadler)124/7-2
10: Dubby Dubbie (Panici, Hess)124/30-1
DELTA PRINCE is my upset play at 15-1 on the morning line. The six-year-old has been out of the money just once in 11 starts. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens' horses excel off the layoff and in the sprint-to-route angle. Training well coming in and gets one of the best turf jockeys in Frankie Dettori. BRICKS AND MORTAR is 2-for-2 on the Gulfstream turf course. Look for him to be rolling late with Irad Ortiz aboard. Trainer Chad Brown is one of the best, if not the best, turf trainers in the country. Trainer Bill Mott sends in YOSHIDA and CHANNEL MAKER. Yoshida is the probable lukewarm favorite at post time. Returns to the turf after finishing fourth last out in the Breeders' Cup Classic on the main track. Versatile runner is a Grade 1 winner on dirt and turf. Stablemate Channel Maker is too a Grade 1 winner but ran a clunker last out in the marathon Breeders' Cup Turf. Cutback in distance and decent gate speed should have the gelding involved early at double digit odds. MAGIC WAND is a classy four-year-old filly tackling the boys and departs from the rail with quick turn of foot. Must respect the European invader.
Wagering menu: $6 exacta: Delta Prince and Bricks And Mortar with Magic Wand, Yoshida, Channel Maker, Next Shares and Catapult. Total bet: $60.00.
Pegasus World Cup
12 1⅛ miles. 3-year-olds and up. Purse: $9 million.
#: Horse, Jockey, TrainerWt./Odds
1: Bravazo (Saez, Lukas)124/12-1
2: Something Awesome (Prado, Corrales)124/20-1
3: City of Light (Castellano, McCarthy)124/5-2
4: Seeking the Soul (Velazquez, Stewart)124/12-1
5: Accelerate (Rosario, Sadler)124/9-5
6: Tom's d'Etat (Bridgmohan, Stall)124/20-1
7: True Timber (Bravo, McLaughlin)124/30-1
8: Gunnevera (I. Ortiz, Sano)124/8-1
9: Kukulkan (Dettori, Gutierrez)124/30-1
10: Audible (Prat, Pletcher)124/10-1
11: Imperative (Gaffalione, Quartarolo)124/30-1
12: Patternrecognition (J. Ortiz, Brown)124/10-1
CITY OF LIGHT beat ACCELERATE four races back in the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Oaklawn Park and will be the better price of the two favorites when the gates open. Expect City of Light to stalk in the shadow of the front-runner. Training like a machine coming in, and reunites with top jockey Javier Castellano, who was at the helm for the Breeders' Cup win. ACCELERATE is strictly the horse to beat, with four consecutive wins coming in, and is also training lights-out. Trainer John Sadler is full of confidence, and I don't blame him. I have a feeling 2018 Triple Crown-winning trainer Bob Baffert didn't enter his top runner because he knows how good Accelerate is. GUNNEVERA loves the Gulfstream track, where he is 8-for-9 paying dividends. Ran a sharp second to Accelerate in the Breeders' Cup Classic. Be patient if you have money on him, because he'll arrive late to the dance. PATTERNRECOGNITION is a price play at 10-1 or higher. The six-year-old will go to the lead and go as far as his engine takes him. Concern is breaking from the far outside post, where he's going to use a lot of energy getting to the front.
Wagering menu: $30 exacta box: City Of Light and Accelerate. Total bet: $60.00.