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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The fields for the $3 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) and $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) are growing clearer with less than 2 weeks until the January 23 co-headlining events are held at Gulfstream Park.
A total of 16 horses (including 4 also-eligibles) were named in the first round of invitations for the Pegasus World Cup, a 1 1/8-mile dirt test for all horses ages 4 and up. Since then, several connections have officially announced their intent to enter and compete in the main event.
“If all goes well, he’ll run in the Pegasus,” said trainer Saffie Joseph Jr., who conditions Grade 1 winner and recent Harlan’s Holiday Stakes (G3) fourth-place finisher Math Wizard. “He’s doing good. Normally when he comes off a layoff, it takes a race or 2 for him to come back to order. We wanted to get him the race in the Harlan’s Holiday. I feel like he’s going to move forward off that race.”
Trainer Claudio Gonzalez hopes that his 4-time stakes champion Harpers First Ride kicks off his 5-year-old campaign in the Pegasus. Gonzalez claimed him for $30k in September 2019 and saddled him to win 7 of 11 starts in 2020, including the Pimlico Special (G3) and the Native Dancer Stakes last time out.
“He came back really good after the last race, that’s why we try to go to the Pegasus,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a big race. It all depends. If he continues like how he’s doing, we’re going to go.”
Other potentially under-the-radar contenders pointing to the Pegasus include recent Grade 1 winner True Timber and multiple Grade 1-placed Jesus’ Team.
“He’s 7 years old and he knows exactly what his job is,” said True Timber’s trainer Jack Sisterson. “We just train him the way he wants to be trained and keep him happy. He seems to be turning the corner for us.”
Jesus’ Team could be peaking at the right time, having finished third in October’s Preakness Stakes (G1) and second in November’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1).
“I think he’s ready,” said his trainer Jose D’Angelo. “He’ll just have one more 4-furlong work to main his condition.”
With the defections of Charlatan and defending champion Mucho Gusto, Math Wizard and King Guillermo were promoted into the main field from the also eligibles list. Independence Hall and Coastal Defense were extended offers to join the also eligibles list.
Like its maintrack counterpart, the Pegasus World Cup Turf (a 1 3/16-mile jaunt on the lawn) added a pair of runners to its potential roster after the original 16 were named in its first round of invitations.
Fresh off his win last Saturday in the local 1-mile Tropical Turf Stakes (G3), Ride a Comet was added to the also eligibles list in what could be his attempt at 5 straight victories.
Promoted into the main field are Next Shares and Field Pass.
The Racing Dudes’ 2021 Inside Track to the Pegasus World Cup Wagering Guide will be available for pre-sale the week of January 23. The Guide is included for free with all premium pick subscriptions.
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