Friday, January 26, 2018

Handicapper's Corner: Pegasus World Cup (G1)

Excitement Builds For Pegasus, World's Richest Race

By: John Caro, S. FL ThoroFan Member

Welcome to the richest race in the world with classy runners and the world’s top jockeys and trainers vying for a $16 million purse at Gulfstream Park. 

Everybody is pumped about the race based on the interviews, articles and commentary from the owners and trainers over the past few days. And why not? They should be with the potential Eclipse Horse of the Year as the favorite going with eleven others trying to knock him off his stage. ThoroFan has its own connection to the race as well. Elizabeth Gillespie of South Florida ThoroFan is a Gulfstream Ambassador for the connections of Fear the Cowboy.

Who can argue with Gunrunner’s winning record isn’t the most impressive given his 5 Grade I wins while winning by more than 24 lengths and sporting upwards of 114 speed with a second at Meydan against Arrogate? Few in this crowd but, this is horse racing, we are at Gulfstream and unfortunately Gunrunner pulled the #10 post. Two things are a concern for our favorite. World traveler that he is, he’s not raced at Gulfstream and outside horses at this track with its short run up to the turn often have a harder time than those toward the inside. The good news is Gunrunner is versatile and although it’s not reflected so much in his running lines he does not have to have the lead to win here.

There is speed to his inside and no doubt (barring a miss step or half step wait like California Chrome) Sharp Azteca, Collected, Stellar Wind, West Coast can all get on the engine and go hard. Even Great Expectations can put on a speed show but I suspect Stevens will not demonstrate that speed from post 12 and distance may be a question. I do see Baffert’s entries probably go to the front with Stellar Wind and Sharp Azteca tight behind. I could see the remaining runners tracking within 4-6 behind to make their run through the turn. 

This is a jockey’s race to set the pace. My fear is watching a scenario that presented a couple of weeks ago at Gulfstream where Irad Ortiz bolted from the gate in a flash through the turn and arrived on the back in a gallop (what I refer to as a Borel move) in a near .51+ at the half and no one wanted to take the lead despite their ability to so, then arrived at the last turn being pressed and shot home for a great win by several lengths. It was a truly sneaky good jockey trick. Energy distribution might be key here. 

Scary thoughts……and Long Shots
Toast of New York – out of retirement, won last out Class 2, owners paid to play, travels from England, one recorded workout, world class jockey, very tough contender in the past, on par with Chrome in BCC. Who can guess what Toast might do here? Interesting long shot?

Gunnevera – loves Gulfstream, in the money six for seven here, gets Luis Saez who won seven yesterday tying the record with Gaffalione and Stevens and has run the feet off any horse underneath him lately, good connections for this track, has been on a rest cycle but going well in his works. 

Fear the Cowboy – another Gulfstream lover, six for six ITM here, class is a question but his recent G3 wins in the Skip Away and Harlan’s Holiday show me he can compete and the connections gave Tyler Gaffalione the mount. Good choice. Another long shot? 

Seeking the Soul – We’ve all seen Dallas Stewart bring into big races a horse that comes from far back and make that one run finish at big odds. Golden Soul, Forever Unbridled….and that was BIG. Same connections. Don’t leave this guy out of the picture. My top long shot.

On the face of the Brisnet PPs and his obvious history, Gunrunner is the winner followed by Collected, West Coast, Sharp Azteca and Stellar Wind. We’ll have to throw in some long shots to make a deep exotic worthwhile for a bet. I’ll have to give Seeking the Soul the nod for top play with long odds.

$1.50 Trifecta – 10 with 2, 5, 9, 11 with All $60
You could keep the rest of our money or spread it on the long shots for WPS or work them into exactas with Gunrunner on top with others at your discretion.
$1 Exacta 10, 5, 11 with All - $33 

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