The $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) Presented by Runhappy is missing a few major parts and has a reduced purse, but the show must go on.
Morning line favorite Omaha Beach and second choice Spun to Run were both scratched on Thursday, while Maximum Security skipped the race and will look toward the $20 million Saudi Cup next month.
What remains is a 10-horse field that will go nine furlongs in the final race of a blockbuster 12 race card at Gulfstream Park that includes eight supporting stakes. Among those is the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), which drew a full field.
With the defections in the Pegasus, it looks as if Mucho Gusto and Higher Power will likely garner the most attention at the betting windows.
Mucho Gusto will be saddled by trainer Bob Baffert with Irad Ortiz, Jr. in the irons. The colt makes his first start since a fourth in the Oklahoma Derby (G3) on Sept. 29 at Remington Park. In his two previous starts he ran second in the Haskell Invitational (G1) and third in the Travers (G1).
Baffert, who saddled Arrogate to win the Pegasus in 2017, tipped his hand on Mucho Gusto’s plan on Saturday.
“He always shows up. He runs well. He’s got a lot of heart. And he’s speed,” Baffert said. “Might as well go for it and see how he does. It’s a tough field, so you need a lot of racing luck leaving there. He’s quick. He’s got a lot of speed.”
Higher Power makes his first start since a third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). The John Sadler trainee won three races last year including the Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar last August.
True Timber is coming off a third-place finish in the Cigar Mile (G1) and deserves a look as does Tax, who is coming off a runner up finish to Performer in the Discovery (G3).
Let’s head out to Gulfstream Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Gulfstream Park Race 12 The Pegasus World Cup Inv. G1 (Post time 5:34 ET)
1 True Timber 15-1
2 Tax 8-1
10 Mucho Gusto 9-2
6 Higher Power 6-1
The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee sent off at 73-1 in this race last year which was contested in the slop and he was not a threat in a seventh-place finish. He then tried Dubai where he failed to threaten in the Godolphin Mile (G1) where he was ninth. Since coming back to the U.S. and freshened six months he has run three credible races. He was third in the Kelso ‘Cap (G2) off the bench and then ran third in the Bold Ruler ‘Cap (G3) and Cigar Mile (G1), beaten both times by Maximum Security. He is 0 for 3 at nine furlongs but has the pedigree to handle the ground and he comes in here with decent numbers and looks capable of moving forward off his last. He was seventh early in the Cigar Mile and came with a six wide run to make a mild late rally over a racing strip that was kind to inside speed. There is plenty of speed in here and Bravo can be in the mix early or this guy looks capable of sitting off the pace. He looks like the value of the race.
This gelding earned a career top speed fig in a runner up finish in the Discovery (G3) last out at Aqueduct going nine furlongs. He was better than nine lengths clear of the rest of the field. That was off a three-month break, his first start since a seventh in the Travers (G1) last summer at the Spa. He won the Jim Dandy (G2) three back at today’s distance after his fourth in the Belmont Stakes (G1). He looks like one in the field that would benefit form a fast pace and with Ortiz up figures to be sitting in the second flight.
The Baffert runner returns off a four-month break here for the Baffert barn. he won three of his seven starts as a three-year-old, winning the Affirmed (G3) and running a good second in the Haskell (G1) being Maximum Security. The colt has been working quickly in the mornings at Santa Anita for his return. The barn is 35% winners with runners coming back off a 61-180-day layoff. He looks ready to go but with the two scratches this guy may end up too short a price.
WIN: #1 to win at 6-1 or better.
EXACTA: 1,2 / 1,2,6,10
TRIFECTA: 1,2 / 1,2,6,10 / 1,2,3,6,10
Long-standing odds market JAZZ Sports announced the reposting of its Pegasus World Cup Odds to their extensive betting board. After news broke out of the withdrawal of the top two contenders to win the World Cup Race (Omaha Beach & Spun to Run), JAZZ Sports temporarily brought down its Odds to Win prices, later to update them and repost them with the re-calibrated money line tags.
JAZZ Sports players can find them once more under the 2020 Pegasus World Cup Odds to Win, appearing within the Horses category of their odds menu. Horse-racing fans will also be able to bet on the winner of the Pegasus Turf race, listed right below the World Cup odds.