Saturday, Jan. 26, is Pegasus World Cup Day at Gulfstream Park. The $9 million Pegasus has attracted the best of the best in thoroughbred racing.
New this year is the $7 million Pegasus Turf Cup, part of a 12-race program that begins at 10:30 a.m. central time. This is also the free-to-enter Road to Kentucky Handicapping Contest track, so get to Canterbury Park on Saturday early to enter.
Before we get to race analyst Brian Arrigoni’s thoughts on the two premier races, it should be mentioned that Brian is participating “for informational and entertainment” purposes in the Road to Kentucky contest. On Day 1 of the contest last Saturday, Arrigoni posted his picks on Twitter prior to the contest. He found several winners and finished with the 14th best score among the 400 entrants. His picks will continue to be available weekly for those that might be interested or need assistance in a race or two that day. His Twitter account is @MrB_CBYanalyst.
Now for the Arrigoni analysis:
Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (Race 11)
This is the inaugural $7 Million Pegasus World Cup, and I am a bit surprised by how this race turned out. For $7 million and the biggest turf race in the country this year, it came up a bit light on talent. However it also came up very competitive as I don’t feel we will have any 6-5 shots in this group, which will make for a great betting race.
1: Magic Wand (IRE) 9-2
Was last seen in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf on a very yielding course, which did her no favors that day as the pace was faster than the time would appear. Never found cover and never had any kick on soft ground, should appreciate the firm ground and get first run on Fahan Mura. Was 5-1 in a 14-horse field with the best horses in the world, I doubt this will be 9-2 but we will see! It’s interesting Ryan Moore doesn’t come to ride, but a must use.
2: Yoshida (JPN) 5-2
Richest turf race in the country, and your tepid favorite exits back-to-back races on the dirt. What a cool horse this 5-year-old is as not many win a Grade 1 in their first start on dirt in the Woodward only to prove that was no fluke with a game fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic as the only horse making up ground on Accelerate. On dirt has tended to drop well out of it and make one run. However, Jose Ortiz knows this turf course and I think he will use Yoshida’s tactical speed to sit a bit closer off a moderate pace. Has done little wrong so far.
3: Channel Maker 15-1
Hard to knock anything Javier Castellano rides especially on turf as one of, if not my favorite, jockey. However, I don’t know what to make of this 5-year-old as last out was in the Breeders’ Cup turf where the money came in, going off at 7-1. Something went amiss that day with a 42-length defeat. Hasn’t been seen since, Jose hops off, and works are slow. A true wildcard.
4: Aerolithe (JPN) 8-1
Has some run! You can find the replay on YouTube, and I highly recommend it as what an awesome atmosphere that was against 17 other foes. Don’t be fooled by the 12th-place finish as this horse was right there after setting a rapid pace, tiring late and getting wrapped up where they went from third to 12th in two jumps. I think the big gray can absolutely contend here and will be breathing down Fahan Mura’s neck right from the get-go. Florent Giroux is no stranger to winning the world’s richest race as he had Gun Runner last year and likes to be aggressive early. Beware
5: Next Shares 15-1
Love Tyler Gafflione was all class winning stakes at Canterbury this past summer. However, Next Shares has seen better days as they were all out to beat Cleopatra’s Strike last time out. Cleopatra’s Strike is a career optional claimer who is 3-23 and before last race had never even tried stakes company. Naturally play against West Coast turfers, toss with confidence.
6: Fahan Mura 30-1
Natural speed ball has a lot going for him as he is coming in with good form and Gulfstream is naturally a speed friendly turf course. When I initially looked at this race, I wondered how the clear lone speed horse is 30-1 as I envisioned this horse will have it all his own way up front. However, after watching Aerolithe’s replay I imagine Fahan Mura will have some company and that’s a problem with added distance. Will need a three-length lead turning for home and begging for wire if there’s a chance.
7: Bricks and Mortar 5-1
Two things you can trust: Irad Ortiz and Chad Brown. One thing I’m not sure of is that an optional claiming race four weeks ago was the prep and plan to run in the richest turf race in America. I do know this horse had a picture-perfect trip last time out and the half-length victory is misleading as this Brown beast was never fully extended, feeling the whip one time and winning in hand in a very “confident” ride by Irad. Should be fresh and has been hard to separate this one and Yoshida in the past and could be again as well.
8: Delta Prince 15-1
This is a perfect horse for those who believe in conspiracy theories as Stronach Stables owns this horse, and Stronach Group also owns Gulfstream Park among many tracks. I don’t see this one standing a chance. They come in off a layoff, try the dirt, try blinkers and then after the race they have 1 mile works and 6F workouts in 1:10. Interesting pattern is putting it mildly, toss.
9: Catapult 7-2
Being an East Coast horse in the Breeders’ Cup left this one a bit overlooked and he fired an excellent race almost becoming a Breeders’ Cup Champion. Rosario is aggressive, no need to worry about the pace, and can’t fault a horse who is simply on his “A Game” right now.
10: Dubby Dubbie 30-1
I love me some Looch Racing. However, I’m not sure what kind of dubby dubbies were being passed when they opted for this spot. Luca Panici might need to adjust riding a stakes horse versus his usual hard knocking bottom level claimer.
Top Picks 1-4-7 Use in Pick 4 & 5 1,2,4,7,9
Pegasus World Cup (Race 12)
1: Bravazo 12-1
Wayne Lukas can flat out train and sustain as he has been relevant for decades. Fox Sports North Analyst Kevin Gorg is forever in debt to Wayne Lukas for his training on Thunder Gulch who won the 1995 Kentucky Derby at 25-1! We will see if he can find success again at a price! I’ll pass.
2: Something Awesome 20-1
Another Stronach Stables runner as Frank Stronach couldn’t be left out on one of his own bigger days. This 8-year-old is as honest as they come… in allowance company at Laurel. Wouldn’t bet this one with your money at 50-1, book your wife’s, children, or friends’ bets with confidence on this one.
3: City of Light 5-2
Not many vulnerabilities as he has tactical speed and comes in training better than ever. Unfortunately, his Kryptonite is also entered in Accelerate who just beat him in May rather easily. Can do it on his best day, won’t leave off but looking elsewhere.
4: Seeking the Soul 12-1
For some reason I want to like this guy, but I can’t pinpoint why. HOF rider as it’s hard to make much of his performance last year going off at 42-1 and finishing fifth, beaten by 14 but beat seven foes and lost to a freaky Gunrunner. Pass but would use underneath.
5: Accelerate 9-5
I hated him in the Breeders’ Cup, in fact I hated him so much I didn’t even use him. Can’t believe I even admitted that. It’s still painful. However, he made it look easy with a dominant performance. While I don’t have the cahones or the stupidity to toss him again, I have my questions. Certainly, the most likely winner, but stubborn enough to not forget all the reasons I didn’t like him last out. He tends to break slow, but he was too impressive last out to try and beat, top pick!
6: Tom’s D’Etat 20-1
Why not? I mean this horse brings excellent form, loves to win, and has tactical speed. Certainly will be tested for class here. Would love to see this guy eventually try the turf again.
7: True Timber 30-1
Better served buying lottery tickets, please see info booth.
8: Gunnevera 8-1
Another horse I didn’t like last out and ran very well. This is his home track and would be quite the swan song if he could pull this off. It feels like forever ago this was the wise guy horse in the 2017 Kentucky Derby running third to Always Dreaming. Hard to imagine how different their careers went after that, as Always Dreaming never returned to the Winner’s Circle and Gunnevera almost has double in career earnings. Have to believe he is a must use, as the replay shows he was coming last out and now returns home.
9: Kukulkan (MEX) 30-1
Winx, Zenyatta, Kukulkan? How about no! 14 for 14 is a cute story, but it won’t last long with this group. The pride and joy of Mexico will bring proud flag waving by supporters, but the only flag Kukulkan will be waving is the white flag turning for home. I’m not a fan of Beyer Speed Figures, but even the Beyers knew last time out was a dud receiving a low 70 despite visually impressive and winning by 10. Toss from Win, Place, Show, Super, Super high 5.
10: Audible 10-1
Has more owners than 1990s Honda Accord. Has only lost three times in his career, and two of the three were on a wet track. He couldn’t beat Sir Anthony last time out which is troublesome, but it was a wet track. Pletcher and double-digit odds at Gulfstream seems silly to leave off, can’t imagine winning but would hate to key a big payout and not have it.
11: Imperative 30-1
Looch took a ton of heat for entering the elder 9-year-old into this race off the whoopings he has been taking. Looch even felt the need to post his workouts on Twitter to further prove he is training “better than ever.” Old man has always been inconsistent, but I think his best days are behind him. Safe trip and a new career coming soon!
12: Patternrecognition 10-1
Was hurt most by the post draw and will have to deal with City of Light up front. Only missed the board once in 11races but looks awfully vulnerable here. Toss
Top Pick 5-8-6 Use in Pick 4: 3,5,6,8,10
Betting at Canterbury Park
Post Time Information:
• First post at 10:30 a.m. CT (this is the Road to Kentucky track)
• Pegasus World Cup Turf will be Race 11 at 3:57 p.m. CT
• Pegasus World Cup will be Race 12 at 4:36 p.m. CT
• $0.20 Rainbow 6 (begins in race 7) – $750,000*
• $0.50 Late Pick 5 (begins in race 8) – $750,000
• $0.50 Late Pick 4 (begins in race 9) – $1,000,000
*The Rainbow Pick 6 is only guaranteed if not won prior to Saturday.
• Available for the full Saturday Pegasus World Cup card on Friday, Jan. 25.