It may be a new addition to the racing scene, introduced in just 2017, but the Pegasus World Cup has taken no time in gaining quite a reputation. Undoubtedly one of the biggest events on the American racing calendar, this is not something you want to miss out on.
Gulfstream Park in Florida hosts the action, and the Pegasus World Cup meeting is one of the most valuable on the planet. The race itself is run on dirt over one mile and a furlong. The inaugural running of the race was won by the globe trotting Arrogate who won the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Pegasus World Cup and Dubai World Cup in succession from November 2016 to March 2017.
Next Race: TBD
The next renewal of this race has not been scheduled yet. We will update this once the schedule has been released for next season. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 25th January 2020
- Winner: Mucho Gusto
- SP: 17/5
- Trainer: Bob Baffert
- Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jnr
The Pegasus World Cup was introduced to the horse racing world in a blaze of publicity in 2017. Back then it was the richest race in the world with a $12 million prize fund eclipsing the Dubai World Cup. The prize fund went up to $16 million after a successful first renewal but dropped back down to $9 million last year and is set to what some might see as a more reasonable $3 million for this year’s renewal. That’s still a handsome prize fund and the draw of a first prize worth over $1.75 million has attracted some heavyweight entries for this one mile, one furlong, Grade 1 contest.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Fast||1m1f||Grade 1||$3,000,000||12 Runners||1/5 1-3|
Pegasus World Cup Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from the last running of the race. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
The American horse racing authorities and some enterprising business people believed that there was a gap in the racing calendar Stateside that should be filled. From that initial seed of an idea sprung ambitious plans for a race that would instantly be one of the most talked about and high class in the sport.
It achieved those aims with the first running in 2017 making waves around the world. The 12 places in the race were available to ‘shareholders’ for $1 million apiece, but that system has subsequently been dropped with a more traditional source of funding. Part of the reason for that was a drop in interest and part of it was the introduction of the Pegasus World Cup Turf which aims to attract a higher number of international horses to Gulfstream Park in Florida.
The introduction of the turf race means the Pegasus World Cup is now even better suited to world class performers on the dirt. Given the timing of the race just before the start of the American stud season, it tends to attract horses who are just about to retire. Experience of winning at the top level is therefore vital. That is borne out by the calibre of the three winners to date. Arrogate was the highest rated horse in the world when he won in 2017, Gun Runner won just months after winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic and City Of Light followed up his win in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile to win 12 months ago.
OMAHA BEACH - 5/4
In many ways, Omaha Beach is the sort of horse for whom the Pegasus World Cup was created. The four year old would have already been retired to stud were this race not an option but instead he has one more trip to Gulfstream Park to end his career.
The Richard Mandella-trained Omaha Beach heads into the race on the back of a victory in the seven furlong Malibu Stakes. That was a welcome return to form after he failed to justify his favouritism in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. The problem he had at the Breeders’ Cup was that he was unable to overcome a slow start despite running strongly in the closing stages.
The hope is that the extra furlong will give him more space and time to get up to full speed and that he should go out with a win. He has certainly run well over nine furlongs before as he showed when winning the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby last April. The fast conditions shouldn’t be too much of a concern so Omaha Beach is a worthy favourite as he bows out of the sport.
HIGHER POWER - 6/1
Higher Power is making his first appearance at Gulfstream Park so is something of an unknown quantity to racing fans in the east of America. He is very well known by West Coast racing fans though, many of whom have taken in some high class performances from the five year old during his career.
Higher Power is the sort of horse that you cannot write off. He generally looks uninspiring in the earlier stages of a race but when he works his way up to top speed his is a frightening prospect in the last couple of furlongs. The job for his jockey, Flavien Prat, is to ensure that Higher Power is well placed through the halfway mark and is unencumbered by traffic.
Poor starts and problems in running have hurt Higher Power in some big races lately, including in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Once again though, his ability to close out was a major plus and saw him grab third place. If things go more to plan early on in this one, Higher Power may just go all the way and win.
DIAMOND OOPS - 20/1
As mentioned above, high class experience of racing on dirt tracks is very important when it comes to winning the Pegasus World Cup. When it comes to those with a proven ability to win at Gulfstream Park, none in the field for the 2020 Pegasus World Cup stand out more than Diamond Oops.
The five year old has run seven times at Gulfstream, winning five of them. He also has plenty of experience of running at the top level so there is no doubting his class to compete against the calibre of the opponents he will face at the weekend.
There is an issue, however; namely that Diamond Oops has always found his best when running over trips of less than a mile. Can he finally step up and get it done over nine furlongs? It’s unlikely but the 20/1 that Ladbrokes are quoting looks tempting enough for an each way bet to find out.
Pegasus World Cup Winners
|2020||Mucho Gusto||17/5||Bob Baffert||Irad Ortiz Jnr|
|2019||City Of Light||19/10||Michael McCarthy||Javier Castellano|
|2018||Gun Runner||4/5||Steven M. Asmussen||Florent Geroux|
|2017||Arrogate||7/5||Bob Baffert||Mike E. Smith|
About The Pegasus World Cup: Taking Flight At Gulfstream
All eyes may be on the National Hunt side of racing during the winter months over here in Britain, but it is the flat racing game which continues to take centre stage on the international scene. The likes of late autumn’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, and March’s Dubai World Cup are invariably two of the most prestigious and valuable middle distance contests of the season, and falling just about slap bang in the middle of those two events is the new kid on the block: Gulfstream Park’s Pegasus Word Cup.
Held in late January each year, this 1m1f Grade 1 event is open to runners aged four and older. A maximum field of 12 go to post for this one, with the fillies and mares receiving a three pound weight allowance in line with similar events run elsewhere.
The “Pegasus” of the race’s title of course refers to the famed mythical horse of Greek legend, with Gulfstream Park also erecting a statue in honour of the winged equine marvel. Not just any old statue either, this is a 110ft affair involving a trampled dragon which looms large in the backdrop, adding a real sense of drama as the runners stream past in the straight.
This race may have only made its debut in 2017, but it certainly made quite a splash in its inaugural running. Operated on an innovative new model, each of the 12 starting berths were sold to a shareholder, who then had a right to race a horse, or lease or sell their starting berth. The price of each of those 12 starting berths? A cool $1 million. With the $12 million generated going straight into the prize pool, the 2017 edition of this race was the richest to be run anywhere in the world that year.
As astronomical as that figure was, it was nevertheless significantly overtaken in the second running of the race. With organisers the Stronach Group adding a generous $4 million to the pot, total prize money rose to a monstrous $16 million.
As we can see from the above chart though that 2018 edition of the race proved to be something of a high watermark for the race – at least in terms of prize money. The addition of the Pegasus World Cup Turf race in 2019, which itself offered $7 million in prize money, together with a reduction in the entry fee from $1 million to $500,000, saw the total pool reduced to “only” $9 million.
The greatest change of all though was to come ahead of the 2020 edition, with the entry fees being scrapped entirely as the race became an invitation only affair. This owner-friendly move understandably saw a substantial reduction in the prize pool, but the $3 million still on offer is certainly not to be sniffed at.
CLEANING UP THE GAME
The 2020 edition was a real time of change for the race, with the conditions of the contest also undergoing a significant alteration. The anti-bleeding/performance enhancing drug Lasix is commonly used in US racing, but has had its share of controversy over the years. Previously any runner taking part in this race without Lasix would have received a weight allowance of five pounds.
As of 2020 this will be no more, as the use of Lasix – and indeed all other race day medications – will be prohibited in this contest. An admirable move from the organisers, as is the fact that they have pledged to donate 2% of total prize money to thoroughbred aftercare from 2020 onwards.
Being run on dirt, it perhaps isn’t too surprising to learn that the early editions of the race have been dominated by the US, whose runners of course tend to be bred to excel under such conditions.
US bias or not, it has taken an extremely high class of performer to come home in front here. Inaugural champ Arrogate – who smashed the course record – also landed the Breeders’ Cup Classic and Dubai World Cup that season; 2018 winner Gun Runner did the Pegasus World Cup and Breeders’ Cup Classic double on route to being crowned horse of the year; whilst 2019 hero City Of Light also already had a Breeders’ Cup success to his name in the Dirt Mile.