By Emily Shields
Arrogate in 2017, Gun Runner in 2018.
On Saturday at Gulfstream Park, 12 horses will be looking to add their name to that short list of Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) winners. The $9 million race is run over 1 1/8 miles, and features a competitive field led by rivals Accelerate and City of Light.
#5 Accelerate, trained by John Sadler, has won four straight grade 1 races and five of his last six, with that one loss coming to City of Light in the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) last April. #3 City of Light is coming off a win in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, and typically runs a shorter trip, but defeated Accelerate over the distance. They each hold one victory over the other.
They are not the only horses in the race, however. #1 Bravazo lost by a neck in the Clark Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs last out. #4 Seeking the Soul, a $1.7 million earner, was third in that race. #2 Something Awesome won the Charles Town Classic (G2) last year before a lengthy layoff; he was second in his allowance return at Laurel Park in November.
#6 Tom’s d’Etat is coming off four straight wins by a combined 22 lengths. He was off from July 2017 to November 2018, but picked up where he left off and won the Tenacious Stakes at the Fair Grounds on December 22. The Al Stall trainee is six for nine lifetime and unbeaten at the distance.
#7 True Timber was second in the Cigar Mile (G1) last out behind #12 Patternrecognition, who breaks from the outside but hails from the Chad Brown outfit and has won three in a row. This will be his first start further than 1 1/16 miles.
#8 Gunnevera and #10 Audible are veterans of the Triple Crown trail, albiet in different years. Both are stakes winners over the Gulfstream surface and regularly train in Florida. Gunnevera was third in this race last year.
#9 Kukulkan (Mex) is a bit of an anomaly, hailing from Mexico and having won their Triple Crown there last year. He is unbeaten in 14 starts against lesser company, but did win over the trip here in the Caribbean Classic on December 8. He gets the services of world-renowned rider Frankie Dettori. Completing the field is #11 Imperative, who owns a stakes win at Gulfstream Park. The popular campaigner has earned $2.9 million in 44 starts.
The field for the first Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), with morning line and riders:
- Bravazo (12-1) Luis Saez
- Something Awesome (20-1) Edgar Prado
- City of Light (5-2) Javier Castellano
- Seeking the Soul (12-1) John Velazquez
- Accelerate (9-5) Joel Rosario
- Tom’s d’Etat (20-1) Shaun Bridgmohan
- True Timber (30-1) Joe Bravo
- Gunnevera (8-1) Irad Ortiz Jr.
- Kukulkan (30-1) Frankie Dettori
- Audible (10-1) Flavien Prat
- Imperative (30-1) Tyler Gaffalione
- Patterrecognition (10-1) Jose Ortiz
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