Look at Anticipated Field For $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational

The $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, Jan. 26, anchors what has swiftly become a highlight of the winter racing calendar since it was first run in 2017. Twelve horses are slated to contest the 1 1/8-mile race on dirt, with eleven confirmed as of Jan. 19. This year, the Pegasus World Cup is joined by the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational on a jam-packed card at Gulfstream that includes seven other stakes races.

This year Pegasus World Cup Invitational  is headlined by Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Accelerate, who will almost certainly be named champion older dirt male at the Eclipse Awards held at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 24. Accelerate will face a formidable field in his final career start, led by Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up Gunnevera, Florida Derby winner Audible, and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner City of Light.

There could be a changes to the current anticipated field leading up to the post-position draw later this week. We will update accordingly with the post-position draw and morning-line odds.

Accelerate

Career record: 22 starts – 10 wins – 5 seconds – 5 thirds

Career earnings: $5,792,480

Earnings per start: $263,295

Age: 6

                                                                                  Running style: Press the pace/stalker

He enters the Pegasus as the clear favorite, arriving on a four-race winning streak. Those wins were all Grade 1 stakes victories, and he won them by a combined margin of 20 lengths. In his most recent start, the Nov. 3 Breeders’ Cup Classic, Accelerate won by a length. He’s versatile and able make his own trip in each race, and therefore not be dependent on a fast pace; he has proven stamina for races at a mile and an eighth or longer; and he’s very fast. Look for him to settle just behind the early pace and make a bold move for the leaders as the field exits the far turn.

 

Audible

Career record: 8 starts – 5 wins – 1 second – 2 thirds

Career earnings: $1,220,520

Earnings per start: $152,565

Color: Bay

                                                                                  Age: 4

                                                                                  Running style: Stalker

The 2018 Florida Derby winner is a top competitor to Accelerate in this year’s Pegasus World Cup. He has a 2-for-3 career record at Gulfstream Park. His most recent, he ran second in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 3 Harlan’s Holiday Stakes on Dec. 15 at Gulfstream. He followed that race by winning the a seven-furlong listed stakes at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3  by two lengths. Last spring, Audible emerged as a top-tier Kentucky Derby with two wins at Gulfstream Park before he finished a respectable third in the 144th Derby. Based on his running style, this colt should be running with Accelerate until the turn for home.  Audible always races to his ability and is a definite threat to hit the board.

 

Bravazo

Career record: 16 starts – 3 wins – 4 seconds – 3 thirds

Career earnings: $1,303,528

Earnings per start: $81,471

Age: 4

                                                                                  Running style: Stalker/closer

Bravazo competed in all three Triple Crown events as well as three other major races for 3-year-old dirt horses, the betfair.com Haskell Invitational Stakes Runhappy Travers Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets, and the Pennsylvania Derby. Toting a close runner-up finish in the Preakness Stakes is his biggest accomplishment to date. He has taken on older horses in his final two starts of last year, finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and then second by a neck to in the Clark Handicap, both at Churchill Downs. He horse has proven he can compete against Grade 1 competition, and even if he rarely  wins and remains as one-looking-in as a win candidate in the Pegasus. Bravazo should be running in the stretch from well off the pace, with the hopes of passing some tiring foes and picking up another lucrative check. He should not be a factor at the wire nor on the board.

City of Light

Career record: 10 starts – 5 wins – 4 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $1,662,600

Earnings per start: $166,260

Age: 5

                                                                                  Running style: Pacesetter/press the pace

He is the only horse to defeat Accelerate in 2018 is set to take on his familiar rival again in the Pegasus. City of Light won the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3, leading from start to finish and setting a fast pace but still romping by 2 3/4 lengths. City of Light has only competed twice in two-turn races, defeating Accelerate by a neck in the 1 1/8-mile Oaklawn Handicap last April and then finishing third to Accelerate in the 1 1/4 mile Gold Cup at Santa Anita. He is versatile and can either set the pace or race just off of it. His presence in the Pegasus should  ensure an honest pace. He has the ability to be in the top two finishers.

 

Gunnevera

Career record: 19 starts – 6 wins – 5 seconds – 2 thirds

Career earnings: $4,111,800

Earnings per start: $216,411

Age: 5

                                                                                 Running style: Closer

He has earning in excess of $4 million dollars. He will be the one providing pressure at the wire. He has the class, consistency, and perhaps most importantly the best closer in the field. With several horses entered who prefer to race close to the lead, the pace figures will be honest, and this closer could capitalize in the late stages of the race. He rallied strongly in his last start, only to lose by a length at 30.80-1 odds in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He needs a fast pace to run down tired horses down the lane. He needs to repeat his Jan. 26 performance to have a chance of being on the board.

Kukulkan

Career record: 14 starts – 14 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $326,484

Earnings per start: $23,320

Age: 4

                                                                                  Running style: Pacesetter/press the pace

He has 13 wins in Mexico and one in the US. He won the Caribbean Classic in his North American debut on Dec. 8.  He won Mexico’s Triple Crown in 2018. That race was the centerpiece of Gulfstream’s Clasico Caribe race card. Kukulkan dominated his opposition in the 1 1/8-mile event, moving up on the field as they entered the far turn and pulling away effortlessly to score by 10 1/4 lengths. He is facing much higher class level in the Pegasus.  He has a chance of being in top five.

 

Pattern recognition

Career record: 11 starts – 5 wins – 5 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $812,325

Earnings per start: $73,848

Age: 6

Running style: Pacesetter

He enters the Pegasus on the heels of two consecutive graded stakes wins in New York, both at a mile. He won the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap at Belmont Park in late September by a length and then took the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct by three-quarters of a length. True Timber. Prior to those breakthrough wins, Patternrecognition had built a solid résumé in New York allowance/optional claiming races, only finishing out of the money once in nine starts before his stakes debut. He figures to be a major pace factor since all three of his most recent races, including a win in a seven-furlong Saratoga allowance last summer, came on the front end. But this horse has only raced beyond a mile once, a race he ran second in a 1 1/16-mile allowance in October 2017. He has speed and will use it to get a sizeable lead on the field.  He will not be factor at the wire.

Seeking the Soul

Career record: 23 starts – 6 wins – 5 seconds – 6 thirds

Career earnings: $1,701,042

Earnings per start: $73,958

Age: 6

Running style: Closer

He is making a return trip to the 2019 Pegasus with hopes of improving on his 2018 performance. He was a longshot candidate last year due to the fact that he entered the race off of a career-best performance when taking the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs in November 2017. He finished fifth in 2018, 14 lengths behind dominant Gun Runner. He bounced back and put together a solid  2018, winning a Grade 3 stakes at Churchill and finishing second in two other stakes (including the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile) and third in his most recent start, the 2018 Clark Handicap. He is a closer who could benefit from a solid early pace.  He will need some racing luck to be on the board.

Something Awesome

Career record: 26 starts – 9 wins – 3 seconds – 6 thirds

Career earnings: $1,093,601

Earnings per start: $42,062

Age: 8

                                                                              Running style: Stalker

In 2018,  he won three of six starts and earning over $912,550. The majority of earnings occurred in winning the $1.2 million, Grade 2 Charles Town Classic Stakes last April by a neck. That win came at the same 1 1/8 mile distance of the Pegasus as did another stakes win at Laurel Park last year. Something Awesome is much more experienced in six and seven-furlong races, many of them coming on synthetic-surface tracks earlier in his career. He is not at the same class level of others in the Pegasus. He should race in mid-pack through the early stages and remain in contention entering the far turn. He should not be a factor at the wire nor on the board.

Tom’s d’Etat

Career record: 9 starts – 6 wins – 1 second – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $278,492

Earnings per start: $30,944

Age: 6

                                                                                 Running style: Press the pace

This lightly raced 6-year-old has a 6-for-9 career record. He is making a huge jump in class in the Pegasus. He has shown talent over the past three years, and his connections logically want to find out just how good he is. Tom’s d’Etat has run well in all of his starts, each of them coming at a mile or longer on dirt. He won Saratoga by nine-lengths victory in a 1 1/8-mile allowance/optional claiming race. . He’s returned from a one -year layoff with back-to-back open-length wins in a November allowance race at Churchill and in the Tenacious Stakes on Dec. 22 at Fair Grounds, his first stakes attempt. If he improves off of his Tenacious effort in the Pegasus, he has a chance to finish in the top five.

 True Timber

Career record: 17 starts – 4 wins – 4 seconds – 4 thirds

Career earnings: $550,550

Age: 5

Running style: Stalker

 

He should be one of the longest shots in the field. True Timber finished second in his most recent race the Grade I Cigar Mile Presented by NYRA Bets. All three of this horse’s career wins came after breaking his maiden were in allowance/optional claiming races, but he has run well in stakes races from time to time. True Timber’s recent success record of two wins and two seconds in his prior four starts came after he was shortened up to races ranging from six furlongs to a mile, and he was soundly defeated in two races at 1 1/8 miles earlier in his career. His stalking running style is a positive but not enough to be a factor at the wire.

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