The 4th annual Pegasus World Cup is set for this Saturday at Gulfstream Park, while once again attracting a field of 10 horses. This year, the purse has been cut down to $3,000,000, with the addition of the $20,000,000 Saudi Cup taking away some potential starters. Still, the Pegasus has drawn a solid field once again this year, which will anchor a day that is loaded with 9 stakes races in total. First-race post time Saturday is set for 11:30 a.m., while the Pegasus World Cup will be contested at 5:34 PM ET.
Headlining this year’s field was supposed to be the Richard Mandella trained Omaha Beach; however, he was scratched on Thursday. That leaves us with a field of 10, with Spun to Run also scratching from the race. The Pegasus World Cup was supposed to be the final career start for Omaha Beach, just like the last two winners of the race, Gun Runner and City of Light.
The main contender for the race is now Higher Power, whose biggest win came in the Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar last August. That win catapulted him into the older male division, which lead to back to back third place efforts in the Awesome Again Stakes (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita. He’ll break from post 6 for his try at a second Grade 1 victory, with Flavien Prat coming in for the ride.
The Bob Baffert trained Mucho Gusto will also now play a major factor in the outcome. The colt quietly had a solid 3-year-old campaign in 2019, picking up many victories in minor stakes events. He was also able to finish second in the Haskell Stakes (G1) and third in the Travers Stakes (G1). Baffert decided to ship this horse to run after a string of solid workouts at Santa Anita, while he has lured Irad Ortiz Jr. to ride. They will break from post 10.
The full field from the rail out includes: True Timber, Tax, Diamond Oops, Seeking the Soul, Higher Power, War Story, Mr Freeze, Mucho Gusto, Tenfold, and Bodexpress.
#10 Much Gusto – Quietly, this colt has a solid 3-year-old season, winning three Grade 3 events. He also was the runner-up in the Haskell Stakes (G1) and third-place finisher in the Travers Stakes (G1). There is no doubt he got a little tired towards the end of that campaign, though, so it’s nice to see him a bit rested heading into this event. His early speed will make him dangerous over the Gulfstream Park oval, it will all depend on how long he can stay around when the real running begins but we know he’s training very well leading up to the event.
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#6 Higher Power – The more you analyze this race, the more it seems like Higher Power looms as a big contender. The horse really came on strong over the summer, winning the Pacific Classic (G1), before a pair of third place-efforts in the Awesome Again Stakes (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). He wasn’t close to winning either of those races; however, he still showed a solid effort in each start. He comes into this event well rested, so look for him to put his best foot forward in this spot. With some luck he can pull the upset.
#8 Mr Freeze – He comes into this spot as an interesting long shot for Dale Romans, hitting the board in four straight starts. Three races back he won the Ack Ack Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs, before finishing behind Tom’s d’Etat in his next two starts. That horse would be a prime contender if he were entered here today, which makes Mr. Freeze interesting. This is the horse that can round out your trifecta or superfecta tickets at a price.
#4 Seeking the Soul – The second-place finisher of this event last season is back to try and do it again. His form is not great heading into this years race; however, he usually runs his best race when you least expect it. Add to the fact that Dallas Stewart seems to hit the board with big prices in big spots all the time, which makes him that much more interesting. He’s not one to leave off in the underneath spots.
#12 Bodexpress – America’s bad boy will give it another go after a mess of a race last time out in the Harlan’s Holiday Stakes (G3). After bucking off the rider in the Preakness Stakes (G1), it looked like his crazy antics were behind him, with two professional wins at Gulfstream Park West. However, the antics were back in his last start, which has this guy labeled as a major question mark. The talent is there but can he put it all together mentally?
#7 War Story – The old war horse turned back the clock last time out, taking home the Harlan’s Holiday Stakes (G3) at odds of 13-1. You can probably get a good price on him again in this spot, as this is a much tougher ask of him. You have to have a huge amount of respect for a horse like this; however, him making a major impact would be a surprise.
#3 Diamond Oops – Many sharp handicappers believe this is the horse that could make an impact in the race at a price. I’m not as sold on him as others are, especially with the stretch out in distance. You also have to take into account his eighth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), where he was soundly defeated by two of his main rivals today. This seems like a tough ask for him.
#2 Tax – I’ve grown to like Tax, just not in this spot today. He seems to be a grind it out type of horse, which may put him in contention late. However, there is very little evidence to suggest he’ll have the staying power when facing this kind of competition.
#1 True Timber – Last year this horse was a non-factor in this race, which is what you can most likely expect again today. He has a recent string of third-place efforts when running one-turn, so the stretch out is curios for him. There are better long shot option.
#11 Tenfold – This horse has always had a decent amount of hype; however, there is very little to show for it. He has not developed how many people believed he would. It’s hard to see him making an impact in a race of this magnitude.