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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The third annual Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) is set for this Saturday at Gulfstream Park. A field of 12, including a good mix of local runners for Todd Pletcher and Shug McGaughey, will contest the event.
First-race post time Saturday is 11:40 AM. The Pegasus World Cup Turf will go off as race 11.
Pletcher’s three entries lead the way, and all of them seem to have a legitimate shot. The morning line favorite Colonel Liam won the Tropical Park Derby over this track last time out and will break from post 5. Breaking right next to him will be Largent, who won the Fort Lauderdale Stakes (G2) here in his last start. Finally, Social Paranoia (who drew the far outside post 12) was a winner last time out in a local allowance.
McGaughey is another local trainer holding a strong hand. The first of his two entries is Breaking the Rules, who will break from post 2 with John Velazquez up for the ride. McGaughey also entered the last-out Red Smith Stakes (G3) winner North Dakota, who will break from post 4 with Jose Ortiz aboard.
Leading the California invaders is Anothertwistafate, making his third start for trainer Peter Miller. He stalked the early pace before pulling clear late to win the San Gabriel Stakes (G2) last time out at Santa Anita Park. He drew post 8 and will have Joel Rosario aboard for the third straight race.
The full field from the rail out: Next Shares, Breaking the Rules, Storm the Court, North Dakota, Colonel Liam, Largent, Aquaphobia, Anothertwistafate, Cross Border, Pixelate, Say the Word, and Social Paranoia.
#2 Breaking the Rules – Let’s take a swing with this 10/1 shot who seems to have a lot of upside. He ran very well last time out in the Fort Lauderdale Stakes (G2), finishing third despite a lot of trouble. He also gets a jockey upgrade to Velazquez while stretching out in distance, which he should enjoy based on his pedigree. He’s been ultra-consistent over his 16-race career, so if the added distance moves him forward, then he can pull the big upset for his Hall of Fame connections.
#8 Anothertwistafate – From a pace standpoint, he looks very strong. He has speed to go to the lead, but he can run just as well while sitting right off the speed, so Rosario will have options. Like most horses who join the Miller barn, he seems to have really improved, and he’s also the only entry who’s won without Lasix, which could be a major factor here – horses aren’t permitted to compete on race-day Lasix treatment.
#6 Largent – There’s no reason to think that the Fort Lauderdale Stakes (G2) winner won’t run well again in this spot. He stretches out in distance, but his pedigree and running style suggest that he’ll be okay. He seems like a must-use horse, but as far as picking a top choice in a deep field, we wanted more value than his 9/2 morning line.
#5 Colonel Liam – This lightly-raced colt might have the most upside in the field, but this is a very tough spot to try older horses for the first time. Even though he was sharp when winning the Tropical Park Derby last time out, he still has a lot of proving to do against a field of this magnitude. He’s a playable horse, but not as the 7/2 morning line favorite.
#12 Social Paranoia – He returned strong from a long layoff last time out, and he could run even better here in his second start of the form cycle. At his best, he can compete at this level, so any improvement at age 5 makes him that much more dangerous. It seems like all three Pletchers are must-uses.
#1 Next Shares – He’s a classic “on the board” type of horse who comes with a late run at the end but seems to be a little too late to pick up the major award. He continues to be a good horse to key underneath; expect more of the same here.
#11 Say the Word – He’s been ultra-consistent in his past 4 starts and California-based jockey Flavien Prat is flying out to ride him. He won the Northern Dancer Stakes (G2) at Woodbine 2 starts back before running third in the Hollywood Turf Cup (G2) at Del Mar. He should be set up for another good run.
#4 North Dakota – McGaughey’s runner continues his steady climb up the ladder after a sharp allowance win at Colonial Downs and winning the Red Smith Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct lasat time out. This is the logical next step and it wouldn’t be a total surprise if he progresses even further.
#9 Cross Border – This hard-knocker certainly could pull off an upset. He has the class to compete in pretty much any turf field and always seems to be around at the end. This is going to be a difficult challenge, though, and it’s been a while since he crossed the wire first in a big race.
#10 Pixelate – He enters this race after winning an ungraded stakes at Fair Grounds. This class jump is going to be rough; it looks like too much, too soon. Maybe play this horse next time out, but not here.
#3 Storm the Court – He’ll be a major pace presence, which could make him a bit dangerous, but we just can’t back a horse who hasn’t won in over a year and never on turf. We’re passing on him.
#7 Aquaphobia – There was a point in time where he could’ve been a contender, but we haven’t seen his best since last summer. He has to prove himself again before we’ll consider backing him.
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