2018 Pegasus World Cup Contenders

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January 15th 2018

We are 12 days away from the richest horse race in the world–the 2018 Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park. The total purse was raised from $12 million for the inaugural race last year to $16 million dollars this year. The field will be limited to 12 entries. Below are profiles on 10 of the 12 that are expected to be entered.

1) Gun Runner – He’s extremely consistent and the top racehorse in the world on dirt. He produced his career best Beyer Speed Figure of 117 in his last start–the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Unfortunately for race fans, Gun Runner will be retired at the conclusion of the Pegasus World Cup race where he will undoubtedly be the race favorite.

Career: 18 Starts 11-3-2-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 5
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>1st
Sire: Candy Ride
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey:  Florent Geroux
Fastest 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:47.43  – 2017 Woodward Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 1 1/8 Mile Race: 115 – 2017 Woodward Stakes
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 117 – 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic

2) Collected – Although he had a disappointing third place finish in his last start–the 2017 San Antonio Stakes–Collected will probably be the 2nd race favorite behind Gun Runner in the Pegasus. He finished 2nd behind Gun Runner in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic. 

Career: 13 Starts 8-2-1-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Last 3 starts: 1st–>2nd–>3rd
Sire: City Zip
Trainer: Bob Baffert (2016 Pegasus World Cup Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Mike Smith (2016 Pegasus World Cup Winning Jockey)
Fastest 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:47.73 – 2017 California Stakes
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 1 1/8 Mile Race: 104 – 2017 California Stakes
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 115 – 2017 Pacific Classic

3) West Coast – The winner of the Pennsylvania Derby.  He finished 3rd in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic. His Travers Stakes win still ranks as his most impressive performance. There have only been seven other horses who posted a faster time in the Travers at the 10 furlong distance than West Coast’s 2:01.91.  One of which was track record holder Arrogate in 2016 (1:59.36).

Career: 9 Starts 6-2-1-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 2
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>3rd
Sire: Flatter
Trainer: Bob Baffert (2016 Pegasus World Cup Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Fastest 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:48.65 – 2017 Los Alamitos Derby
Best Beyer Speed Figure in 1 1/8 Mile Race: 107 – 2017 Pennsylvania Derby
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 112 – Breeders’ Cup Classic 

4) Sharp Azteca – The Cigar Mile winner with a career best Beyer Speed Figure of 115. Sharp Azteca has pretty much raced 7 and 8 furlong (1 mile) races during his career. It is not a stretch for him to race an extra furlong which is the beauty of this 9 furlong Pegasus World Cup race.

Career: 16 Starts 8-5-1-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Last 3 starts: 1st–>2nd–>1st
Sire: Freud
Trainer: Jorge Navarro
Jockey: Paco Lopez
Best 1 1/8 Mile Time: N/A
Best Beyer in 1 1/8 Mile Race: N/A
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 115  – 2017 Cigar Mile Handicap

5) Seeking the Soul – The Dallas Stewart-trained surprise winner in the Clark Handicap. He earned a career high Beyer Speed Figure of 103 with the win.

Career: 17 Starts 5-3-5-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>1st–>1st
Sire: Perfect Soul
Trainer: Dallas Stewart
Jockey: John Velazquez
Best 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:48.88 – 2017 Clark Handicap
Best Beyer in 1 1/8 Mile Race: 103 – 2017 Clark Handicap
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 103 – 2017 Clark Handicap

6) Giant Expectations – The surprise winner of the 2017 San Antonio Stakes in a small but talented five horse field that included Collected, Accelerate and Hoppertunity.

Career: 13 Starts 4-3-1-3   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 5th–>6th–>1st
Sire: Frost Giant
Trainer: Peter Eurton
Jockey: Gary Stevens
Best 1 1/8 Mile Time: N/A
Best Beyer in 1 1/8 Mile Race: N/A
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 106 – 2017 San Antonio Stakes

7) Toast of New York – Although Toast of New York has never won a Grade 1 race, the recently turned 7 year-old does have two career 2nd place finishes in Grade 1 races: the 2014 Pacific Classic and 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic (shown below). After a three year layoff due to a soft tissue injury, Toast of New York was entered and won the Condition Stakes in the UK at Lingfield Park back in early December. It is good to see him back racing.

Career: 9 Starts 4-3-0-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>2nd–>1st
Sire: Thewayyouare
Trainer: Jamie Osborne
Jockey: Lanfranco Dettori
Best 1 1/8 Mile Time: N/A
Best Beyer in 1 1/8 Mile Race: N/A
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 113 – 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic

8) Gunnevera  – Although he is not likely to win against this level of competition, he has a chance of hitting the board. He’s a closer and I would like his chances better in a 10 furlong race. He finished tied for 5th with Arrogate in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Career: 13 Starts 5-3-1-1   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>2nd–>5th
Sire: Dialed In
Trainer: Antonio Sano
Jockey: Edgard Zayas
Fastest 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:48.51 (estimated) – 2017 Florida Derby
Best Beyer in 1 1/8 Mile Race: 104 – 2017 Travers Stakes
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 108 – 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic

9) Stellar Wind – The only filly/mare to be entered into the Pegasus World Cup. She’s coming off a very disappointing 8th place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Does she have a chance of winning against this field? Sure but she will have to get out of the gate well and bring her “A” game and run the best race of her career. It’s a tall order but should make this race more interesting.

Career: 16 Starts 10-2-1-2   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 6
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>8th
Sire: Curlin
Trainer: John Sadler
Jockey: Victor Espinoza
Best 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:49.02 (estimated) – 2015 Breeders’ Cup Distaff
Best Beyer in 1 1/8 Mile Race: 99 – 2016 Breeders’ Cup Distaff
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 110 – 2016 Zenyatta Stakes

10) War Story – In his last three starts, all Grade 1 races, he has finished 4th each time including the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He’s not likely a contender for the win but a horse to include in your Supefecta bets.

Career: 25 Starts 5-3-3-5   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 4th–>4th–>4th
Sire: Northern Afleet
Trainer: Jorge Navarro
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Best 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:48.95 (estimated) – 2016 Pegasus World Cup
Best Beyer in 1 1/8 Mile Race: 99 – 2016 Pegasus World Cup
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 111 – 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic


Mourinho wins the Smarty Jones Stakes

The Bob Baffert-trained Mourinho picked up 10 Kentucky Derby points with a win in Monday’s Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park with a nice time of 1:37.25 and 99 Beyer Speed Figure. Finishing second was the Steve Asmussen trained colt Combatant.

Bob Baffert now has three colts with at least 10 Derby points: McKinzie (20), Solomini (14) and Mourinho (10). St Patrick Day, the full brother to American Pharoah, has yet to resume training.

Steve Asmussen’s top 3 year-old point earner thus far is Combatant (8). Perhaps the best colt in Asmussen’s barn is Copper Bullet who resumed training January 5th. Chad Brown’s Good Magic leads the Derby point standings with 24.


On the Docket…

My next blog will preview the 2018 Pegasus World Cup with all confirmed entries and odds.  After this, I will preview the 2018 Holy Bull Stakes scheduled for February 3rd.

–Michael

2 comments

  1. CigarDave · January 28

    Thanks Mike…followed your lead and won… Really surprised at Sharp Azteca…maybe just a miler ?i’m a bit of a small bettor but appreciate all of your handicapping work…great job! OldManDave…still looking forward to Copper B getting back on the track…!

    On Mon, Jan 15, 2018 at 6:25 PM, Mike’s Derby Picks wrote:

    > Michael J. Cox posted: ” January 15th 2018 We are 12 days away from the > richest horse race in the world–the 2018 Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream > Park. The total purse was raised from $12 million for the inaugural race > last year to $16 million dollars this year. The field will” >

    Like

    • Michael J. Cox · January 29

      Dave, thanks. Glad I could help. I seldom hit superfectas because there is usually one horse who surprises me. This time it was Fear the Cowboy that slipped into 4th. Yes, Sharp Azteca appears to be a Miler.

      Like

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