- Gulfstream Park officials have made several new invitations to join the field of the January 23 Pegasus World Cup and the Pegasus Turf.
- The Pegasus World Cup card offers some hefty purses–$3 million for the World Cup and $1 million for the Turf.
- Bob Baffert’s Mucho Gusto is the defending Pegasus World Cup champion but was retired last week.
The Pegasus World Cup was launched in 2017 in hopes of creating a new ‘marquee event’ in what has traditionally been one of the slow times of the year for horse racing. Mission accomplished–the event has quickly become a premier race card for horsemen and bettors. While this year’s race will be run without fans the purse structure remains the same. If betting patterns for the other major racing events held without fans during 2020 are an indication there’s every reason to think that the handle will remain strong.
Bettors will have to consider the absence of two Bob Baffert trained horses that were expected to be serious players in their respective events. In the $3 million Pegasus World Cup, defending champion Mucho Gusto was invited to defend his title but unfortunately was forced into retirement last week due to a soft tissue injury. Malibu Stakes winner Charlatan is expected to bypass the Pegasus and be pointed toward the February 20 Saudi Cup. In it’s second year, the Saudi Cup offers a purse of $20 million USD with $10 million going to the winner.
Baffert indicated that he was concerned about what would be a quick turnaround from the December 26 Malibu Stakes to the Pegasus World Cup and that’s part of the reason Charlatan is being pointed toward the Saudi Cup:
“That’s the plan right now. I’ve got another week to make up my mind, but he’d be coming back a little quick for the other race (the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes, G1, Jan. 23 at Gulfstream Park) off a long layoff, and he ran so hard (in the Malibu), I worry about that.”
Additionally, Baffert thinks that the format of the Saudi Cup is a good fit for Charlatan. And then there’s the massive size of the purse:
“The thing I like about the Saudi race is it’s a one-turn mile-and-an-eighth and Charlatan is so fast. It’s a challenge, but it’s $20 million.”
Gulfstream Park has responded to the retirement of Mucho Gusto and the likely absence of Charlatan by issuing new invitation lists for the $3 million Pegasus World Cup and the $1 million Pegasus Turf. Now in the main field for the Cup are King Guillermo and Math Wizard who were previously on the ‘also eligible’ list. Hall and Coastal Defense have been invited to the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus and will take the aforementioned horses’ place on the also eligible list.
The current field for the Pegasus World Cup includes Code of Honor, Harpers First Ride, Jesus’ Team, King Guillermo, Kiss Today Goodbye, Knicks Go, Math Wizard, Mr Freeze, Sleepy Eyes Todd, Tax, and True Timber. Sharp Samurai. Idol is also an ‘also eligible’.
The Pegasus Turf field had Doswell and Sharp Samurai indicate they’ll bypass the event and as a result has also offered new invites. Field Pass and Next Shares are now in the field of 12 while Ride a Comet will join Greyes Creek on the also eligible list. The updated field for the Turf includes Anothertwistafate, Breaking the Rules, Colonel Liam, Cross Border, Field Pass, Largent, Next Shares, North Dakota, Pixelate, Say the Word, Social Paranoia, and Storm the Court.
The invitation lists for both races will be updated on Sunday, January 17. The post position draw will be held on January 20.