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2018 Pegasus World Cup Analysis: $7 million reasons to take a shot

Free DRF Past Performances for the Race of the Day

2018 Pegasus World Cup Post positions, Odds and Analysis

The field for the 2nd running of the $16 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park.

  1. Singing Bullet (30 to 1). He’s the last horse to be named to the race because no one else wanted the spot despite the best efforts of the Stronach Group to fill the race. He’ll race in the name of “Stronach Stables and Pegasus Race Partnership” with only three lifetime wins while looking at what will be the longest race of his young career. Never one to like horses that broke their maiden at Ellis, especially off the Kentucky circuit. Was the heavy favorite here last month and beat one horse home. Would take a miracle.
  2. West Coast (8 to 1). Was on a five-race win streak before catching Gun Runner LTO in the BC Classic when finishing third behind stablemate Collected. Like the fact that he’s 2 for 2 at the distance and is getting better with each race. But his most impressive wins were in front-running fashion and that will be a tough row to hoe if they employ those tactics vs. the champ.
  3. Stellar Wind (30 to 1). There are $7 million reasons why the connections would send out this champion six-year-old mare who will probably be making her final career start under the care of top trainer Chad Brown. Recently sold at auction after disappointing finish in the BC Distaff last time out. Her races at this distance are her worst on paper, and I suspect they’ll announce her retirement to the breeding shed after this one.
  4. Sharp Azteca (6 to 1). Winner of eight of sixteen lifetime starts but only one beyond 1 mile. Sons of Freud aren’t known to carry their speed for too long. But that’s what he’ll have to do to win this one while facing his toughest test to date. Beaten a half-length two back in the BC Dirt Mile in a stubborn effort. And returned a month later to notch his first G1 win in the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct LTO while earning a career best 115 Beyer. Several positives to consider including the fact that he’s a horse for the course with three wins in five tries at GP. But the fact that Castellano jumps off after the biggest win of his career says a lot.
  5. Collected (8 to 1). Pressed Gun Runner every step of the way until they reached the top of the stretch in the Classic at a distance that is historically too long for offspring of City Zip. So when Baffert cut him back to 1 1/16 miles LTO in the G2 San Antonio under Smith for the first time, he was expected to win at $0.30 on the dollar. He finished third that day in an off-the-pace strategy that is against his style. And a “bounce” effort out of the grueling Classic contest two back. HOF jockey Smith sticks with him and expect the same pace-pressing tactics used to get two wins in as many outings at this distance. Chance to upset as he’ll be inside of Gun Runner this time around. And remember this guy has already taken down Arrogate (watch the replay of the 2017 Pacific Classic) who was named Longine’s World’s Best Racehorse.
  6. Gunnevera (15 to 1). Son of 2011 Florida Derby winner Dialed In was hot on the Kentucky Derby trail after his FOY victory here last March. But a third place finish next time out in Florida’s G1 Derby prep and a subsequent seventh in the crowded 2017 Kentucky Derby field proved to be too much too soon as he continued to develop at three on his way to a come from behind second to West Coast in the Travers two back. Tried Gun Runner in the Classic LTO and cuts back on a track he favors with a new rider and a chance to crack the exotics.
  7. Fear the Cowboy (30 to 1). They’re coming out of the woodwork to take a shot at a piece of the $16 million offered in the World’s Richest Race. But this guy is basically a low-level stakes horse or a high-end optional claimer. Highest levels of achievement have both come here in G3 company and was impressive LTO in the Harlan’s Holiday earning a 105 Beyer. But the only “bold-type” runner on his chart is Seeking the Soul who’s 25 to 1 in here. Would be a shocker.
  8. War Story (25 to 1). ‘Hoooch’ Racing Stables made headlines when they tried to enter first time starter Heavenhasmynikki in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Del Mar, but was denied. Fast forward to the World’s Richest Race and they will send out this guy, who despite being crushed by the likes of American Pharoah, California Chrome and Arrogate in previous G1 visions of grandeur, will again try to defy all odds. To their credit and the runner’s, they did manage to finish fifth in the inaugural running of this race last year behind Arrogate. And in his last three G1 starts he managed to closed out Superfecta tickets with Gun Runner on top in the Whitney, Woodward and Breeders’ Cup Classic. One last thing, he’s 0 for 2 at GP.
  9. Toast of New York (20 to 1). This is the most interesting runner in the race. At 7 years old, he’s only started nine times in his career. As a two year old in the UK, he won his final two races that year by a combined 28 lengths on his way to winning the G2 UAE Derby to start his three-year-old campaign. And his first ever start on dirt in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita where he was beaten a nose by Bayern in a race that nearly cost him his career. He returned last December after a three-year-layoff to win his first race back wearing blinkers for the first time ever, and going 1 1/4 miles over the all-weather with sensational rider Frankie Dettori who has $7 million reasons why he thinks this guy has a shot.
  10. Gun Runner (4 to 5). Would love nothing more than to see the Horse of the Year go out a winner in his final flight. At 4 to 5, odds are he’ll do just that. But is he truly 4 to 5, or is this an attempt to fool the public into thinking it’s better than throwing a ticket on the ground. As a handicapper, you can’t let emotions get in the way of sound judgement. As a gambler, the risk/reward ratio doesn’t correlate into a winning proposition. Before betting your hard-earned money on this guy who will probably be even money when they spring the gate, consider that Collected “bounced” as the heavy favorite in his next out after the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
  11. Seeking the Soul (25 to 1). Earned his first G1 win LTO in the Clark at Churchill making it two in a row for hard-knocking runner who will be coming from far back off a two-month-layoff. Owns two wins at the distance, and like several others, will be making his first start over the GP strip. Jockey/trainer is a dynamic duo averaging 67% winners and an ROI of $9.07. “Swamped foes” two back in OC80K/NW3X at Keeneland to earn a 103 Beyer on his way to back-to-back 103’s in the Clark. Horses get better with age and this guy might be peaking at the right time for strong connections. Just wish he had a race over the track…but Gun Runner doesn’t have one either.
  12. Giant Expectations (30 to 1). Other than an easy victory last time out over Collected in the San Antonio, not sure what else has Stevens touting this guy. Started his career on the West Coast in MSW races at Santa Anita before returning home to NY to get his first career win against state bred runners at Belmont. Returned to Del Mar last Summer in preparation for a Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile run where he was sixth when off slowly with Stevens up that day. He’ll be sent for as long as he can carry the aging Stevens who knows a thing or two about winning big races and says ‘don’t count him out.’

DRF Pegasus World Cup PPs

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