HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Fox Hill Farms’ Omaha Beach drew post 5 and was named the 7/5 morning line favorite for Saturday’s $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park.
Omaha Beach’s career finale will see him make one final start under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith before the 4-year-old son of War Front heads off to stand stud at Spendthrift Farm. In 2019, he became the first horse in 30 years to win Grade 1s at both 6 and 9 furlongs in the same year as part of an overall campaign that saw him win three Grade 1s, a Grade 2, and finish second in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1). The Pegasus is a 9-furlong event over the main track.
“He’s got all the requirements,” said trainer Richard Mandella. “Extreme ability, terrific conformation, and a mind you can adjust like a radio. You can turn him on, you can turn him off. You deal with those things you can do about anything, which he showed. He won the Arkansas Derby (G1), and the next time he ran, he wins the Sprint Championship at Santa Anita and beats a really good top sprinter (Shancelot). There are not many you can tune in and out like that.”
Based on morning line odds, Omaha Beach’s top competitor will be the only one to hand him a loss since he broke his maiden. Spun to Run (7/2) pulled off the 9/1 upset in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile for trainer Juan Carlos Guerrero. New pilot Javier Castellano will be aboard for the Pegasus World Cup after Irad Ortiz, Jr., opted to ride the Bob Baffert-trained Mucho Gusto (9/2) instead.
Trainer John Sadler and owner Hronis Racing are hoping that Higher Power (6/1) will avenge the connections’ loss in last year’s edition with Accelerate. Higher Power won the Pacific Classic Stakes (G1) at Del Mar in the summer and was a respectable third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
“We ran him on turf the first time at Del Mar and he was an unlucky second and should have won,” Sadler said. “He was training so well over the Del Mar dirt, we decided to try the Pacific Classic. We were just delighted. He got a good trip and won it. He has a lot of stamina and he’s improving. To my mind, he’s probably second choice in the Pegasus.”
Here is the full field for the fourth annual Pegasus World Cup:
|PP #||HORSE||JOCKEY||TRAINER||ML ODDS|
|1||True Timber||Joe Bravo||Kiaran McLaughlin||20-1|
|2||Tax||Jose Ortiz||Danny Gargan||12-1|
|3||Diamond Oops||Julien Leparoux||Patrick Biancone||20-1|
|4||Seeking the Soul||John Velazquez||Dallas Stewart||30-1|
|SCRATCHED||Omaha Beach||Mike Smith||Richard Mandella||SCRATCHED|
|6||Higher Power||Flavien Prat||John Sadler||6-1|
|7||War Story||Joel Rosario||Elizabeth Dobles||30-1|
|8||Mr Freeze||Luis Saez||Dale Romans||30-1|
|SCRATCHED||Spun to Run||Javier Castellano||Juan Carlos Guerrero||SCRATCHED|
|10||Mucho Gusto||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||Bob Baffert||9-2|
|11||Tenfold||Tyler Gaffalione||Steve Asmussen||30-1|
|12||Bodexpress||Emisael Jaramillo||Gustavo Delgado||30-1|
Here are what some other entrants’ connections had to say about the draw:
Juan Carlos Guerrero, trainer, Spun to Run: “Omaha Beach is getting all the hype, but I’m okay with that. I don’t see why we can’t beat him again.”
Bob Baffert, trainer, Mucho Gusto: “He always shows up. He runs well, he’s got a lot of heart, and he’s speed. Might as well go for it and see how he does.”
Steve Asmussen, trainer, Tenfold: “He’s run some very big races. His third in the Preakness (G1) by 3/4 of a length to Justify, his Pimlico Special (G3) and the Jim Dandy (G2). On his best day, he’s obviously capable of very good things, but he has not been as consistent as we would have hoped and don’t feel he’s completely taken advantage of all the chances he’s been given. But he’s also a horse that’s an extremely good ‘doer,’ a very sound horse that’s doing really well right now. With the invitation to the Pegasus in a very wide-open year, excluding possibly one horse, here we go.”