Pegasus World Cup: This year the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf race was added to be run at 1 3/16-miles for a huge $7 million purse. The 2019 Pegasus World Cup, the richest race in North America, goes to post Saturday at 5:36 p.m. ET from Gulstream Park in South Florida.
Pegasus World Cup 2019: The post positions are set, and the field of 12 has two favorites that will take a bulk of the betting action for the third running of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park.
In its first two runnings, the Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) has served as a Breeders’ Cup repeat, more of a crowning flourish on the preceding season than a launching pad to the next. The trend looks set to continue Saturday with Breeders’ Cup stars Accelerate and City of Light making their last hurrah before retirement. An upset, however, would be a more compelling plot twist for the season going forward.
The last-out Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner has won both editions of the Pegasus so far – Arrogate (2017) at 4-5 and Gun Runner (2018) as the even-money favorite. Each featured a renewal of Classic rivalry, with the victims unable to change the result. Arrogate once more beat the retiring (and out-of-sorts) California Chrome, and Gun Runner defeated West Coast et al.
The 2017 Pegasus did produce a few major winners during the year. Arrogate went on to a dramatic victory in the Dubai World Cup (G1), runner-up Shaman Ghost took the Santa Anita H. (G1), fourth Keen Ice captured the Suburban (G2), even the fifth War Story garnered the Brooklyn (G2).
Yet Arrogate’s total loss of form in the second half left his Pegasus as a distant memory, a relic of his all-too-brief greatness. And none of the other Pegasus participants contended for divisional leadership.
That inaugural Pegasus would have had a more enduring impact if Gun Runner, the eventual Horse of the Year, had been able to compete. He missed out through no fault of his own, thanks to an EHV-1 outbreak at Fair Grounds.
After reeling off four straight Grade 1s culminating in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic, Gun Runner signed off in a blaze of glory in the 2018 Pegasus and retired to stud. Runner-up West Coast, subsequently second in the Dubai World Cup, was absent during the heart of the season and raced only twice more before bowing out.
Third-placer Gunnevera has continued to be a high-profile placegetter, an admirable money-spinner for Antonio Sano if not a win machine. Fifth Seeking the Soul returned from injury to compile a productive second half, and like Gunnevera, tries the Pegasus again on Saturday.