Having begun its life as the world’s richest horse race at Gulfstream Park in 2017 and confirmed its supremacy in the industry with a second running, the Pegasus World Cup returned to Florida again on January 26, 2019 but this time as two invitational races.
Assuming its Grade 1 rating from the now discontinued Donn Handicap, the Pegasus dirt race is open to those aged four and older and is run over a distance of 1 1⁄8 miles on the dirt with the turf invitational taking place over 1 3/16 miles.
As expected, Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Accelerate was the most popular among bettors at Gulfstream in the big event, though some shrewd operators were betting Dirt Mile champion City of Light
The preceding turf event proved more difficult for players to get to grips with, Yoshida proving popular but not running so well while there hadn’t been too much interest in Magic Wand or Delta Prince who both went on to run well. Wherever the main chunk of the money went, here’s how people were spending it:
Betting the Pegasus World Cup can make you truly feel like you are getting involved in the race as a fan, your
chosen horse running for you as well as for its owner and trainer. The three main bet types you can choose from are
the ‘win’, ‘place’ and ‘show’ bets and here’s an explanation of what they mean:
WIN– Put simply; your chosen horse must win for you to get paid.
PLACE – To win this bet, your horse needs to finish in the first 2.
SHOW – This time, your horse must be in the top 3 to win the bet.
Your payout will differ depending on how much money is in the pari-mutuel kitty but also on the degree of difficulty, i.e. it’s harder to pick the winner than it is to pick a horse to finish anywhere in the first three. So the highest payouts are on win bets, the second highest on place bets and, given that it is the easiest to get right, the lowest payouts are on show bets.
You might like the look of two or more horses in the race come the big day but find it hard to choose between them, in which case an EXACTA bet may be the wager for you.
Placing an exacta means you are essentially predicting which horses will finish 1st and 2nd and, if you get it right, this can lead to a big payout. If you’re not so sure that you can predict this accurately you can also ‘box’ your bet to give yourself a better chance. You will pay double the amount to do this, but it means that your chosen two horses can finish 1st or 2nd in any order.
Whether you’re good, or just lucky, a TRIFECTA bet can pay out plenty. You need to pick the 1st, 2nd and 3rd horses in the right order and once again you can ‘box’ this bet and get paid out so long as your chosen horses finish in the first three, whatever the order. A SUPERFECTA will also be available concerning the first four to hit the wire but is incredibly tough to get right.
It’s a great thrill to feel like we’re taking part in the Pegasus World Cup by wagering, especially walking up to the teller to collect your money when you’ve backed the winning horse. For most of us unfortunately, we won’t be at Gulfstream Park to watch the action unfold so betting here online is the way to go and you can check out more wagering info here at TVG.
You don’t have to be a professional handicapper to place a bet in the Pegasus World Cup. Reading a race program to find out each animal’s form, their work out times or what sort of race conditions they prefer is one way of doing it but remember to check in here for more info on each horse as we near post time in January.
Assuming you’re not a pro handicapper but you do want to have a chance of winning some cash, remember not to get too excited by contenders paying out huge prices. The first two favorites won this race although they were bona fide superstars while this year's champion was not unpopular either having been second-favorite among bettors.
Named for Pegasus, the mythical winged divine white stallion, the race was introduced with a purse of $12 million which immediately meant it usurped the Dubai World Cup as the richest horse race on the planet.
Unlike the big race in Dubai, most of the purse in the Pegasus World Cup came from the contenders themselves with each owner putting in $1 million. The money from the twelve contenders, plus another $4 from founders the Stronach Group, meant that the 2017 running was worth an amazing $16 million to the winner.
Frank Stronach, the real estate and automotive businessman well known in American racing circles, first broached the idea of this race back in January 2016 at the Thoroughbred Owners Conference at Gulfstream.
Initially the idea was to hold an annual 1 ¼ mile event either there or at Santa Anita Park in California during January so as not to obstruct either the Breeders’ Cup Classic or the Dubai World Cup.
With thoughts turning to the renowned cessation of top class racing at that time of year, the sport needed something new and something big to keep the interest of owners, breeders and of course fans and it also means horses can still take part before retiring to the breeding sheds in February.
After those initial talks, the Stronach Group announced their plans to officially have the race put into the calendar in May of 2016 only now with an abridged distance of 1 1⁄8 miles or 9 furlongs, one furlong shorter than both the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the Dubai World Cup.
Under the conditions of the race, 12 shareholders were to each pay $1 million to buy a stall in the race, albeit at that stage for an unnamed horse. From there the owner can choose to run a horse, lease their gate or even sell it in a format similar to what works so well in Australia.
That format meant the race was worth an amazing $12 million, something which immediately made it the world’s richest horse race, picking up the baton from the Dubai World Cup which had held the title for many years.
Superstar colts Arrogate and Gun Runner were the first two winners of this race, neither coming via the Triple Crown races but both being early four-year-olds.
As of 2019, organizers of the race have decided to add a 1 3⁄16 mile turf version in order to attempt to attract more runners, especially those from overseas including Europe with the Stronach Group commenting on race day that more races could be added in the future so it'll be fascinating to see how this series shapes up from 2020 onward.
Those capable of running to Grade 1 level on dirt over this sort of distance will most likely have been aimed at the Breeders’ Cup Classic in November and thereafter may be thinking of a tilt at the hugely valuable Dubai World Cup at Meydan the following March.
As such, this race being run in January could be ideal for those types but it also gives owner/breeders another potential bonus as briefly mentioned above.
The breeding season gets underway mid-February and for those top class middle-distance horses about to be retired to stud, this race gives them time to win one more huge pot which may not only bring the owner a lot in prize money, but could further enhance their horse’s value in the breeding sheds.
For those trained in Europe but often running in the Dubai Carnival in February and March, there has been a penchant of late to give the horses a rest after Meydan before running in England or France, so prepping them for a tilt at this race series in January first is now a viable option so long as their horse hasthe right pedigree.
The dirt and turf races are open only to horses aged four years old or above with colts and geldings carrying 124 pounds and the fillies and mares receiving a 3 lb. allowance in the dirt racem though in the turf event there are some more generous allowances given.
Only twelve horses can run with each of the 12 shareholders paying half a million dollars this time to take part, the money in effect purchases them a gate position but without a horse named at that stage. Those purchasing gates in the dirt race can also choose to enter into the Pegasus World Cup Turf.
The dirt race is run over nine furlongs and so requires speed and a little stamina, seemingly ideal for those running in the previous year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic and/or being prepped for the Dubai World Cup at Meydan in late March as mentioned above while the turf is run over 1 3⁄16 miles.
As long as the horse is 4 or older they can run, though owners will not put up a half million of their own cash to run a horse who looks like it wouldn’t stay 9 furlongs in a horsebox! With that in mind, not too many milers were stepping up to challenge in the first two years, though City Of Light proved in 2019 what could be done. The below races seem to be key when assessing who and what may win the next running:
2019, the Pegasus World Cup Invitational’s third year in existence, brings with it a new race in the shape of the Pegasus World Cup Turf as organizers look to quickly expand and the innovation has been well received by owners.
As we’ve seen in Breeders’ Cup races, horses trained in Europe or those simply bred to do well on turf rather than on dirt don’t always get a chance to win the best races in the States, though fans across the nation still want to see the world’s best equine talent such as Enable and Expert Eye who both won for Juddmonte at Churchill Downs over the grass.
It is now hoped that the Turf race will encourage some of the best around the globe running from a mile to and mile-and-a-half to compete and to encourage them, the Stronach Group are offering a $1 million bonus to any winning owner who wins both the Pegasus World Cup and the Pegasus World Cup Turf.
The race carries Grade One ranking and a purse of $7 million, $4 million of that going to the winner making it immediately one of the world’s richest races just like its (slightly) older brother.Other Supporting Races
Gulfstream Park put on a real show for us, with seven other great races backing up the two Pegasus World Cup Invitational events.
The $125,000 South Beach is a race for 4-year-old+ fillies and mares over 7½ furlongs on turf and precedes four $150,000 races, the first being the five furlong Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint which again is for the older horses.
The Ladies’ Turf Sprint is a similar race for the fillies while the dirt track comes into play for the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie, a seven furlong event for the fillies and mares once more. A one mile Grade 3 contest carries the same purse, namely the Fred Hooper before things are taken up a slight notch.
One-and-a-half miles on turf are the conditions for the older fillies in the $200,000 La Prevoyante before the boys take over on the same track and distance in the W.L. McKnight, an important race on the circuit and the final warm-up to the big events.
With the rain falling heavily around Hallandale Beach in the run-up to the races, the turf course changed to yielding with the dirt track sloppy which negatively affected some runners while clearly enhancing the chances of others. Here are the full results.
|1st||7||Bricks and Mortar||Chad Brown||Irad Ortiz||$7.60||$4.20||$3.20|
|2nd||1||Magic Wand||Aidan O'Bien||Wayne Lordan||$9.00||$6.40|
|3rd||8||Delta Prince||James Jerkens||Frankie Dettori||$6.60|
|4th||9||Catapult||John Sadler||Joel Rosario|
|5th||3||Channel Maker||Bill Mott||Javier Castellano|
|6th||2||Yoshida||Bill Mott||Jose Ortiz|
|7th||5||Next Shares||Amy Dollase||Tyler Gaffalione|
|8th||10||Dubby Dubbie||Robert Hess||Luca Panici|
|9th||4||Aerolithe||Takanori Kikuzawa||Florent Geroux|
|10th||6||Fahan Mura||Vladamir Cerin||Edwin Maldonado|
|1st||3||City of Light||Michael McCarthy||Javier Castellano||$5.80||$4.20||$3.00|
|2nd||4||Seeking the Soul||Dallas Stewart||John Velazquez||$19.20||$8.20|
|3rd||5||Accelarate||John Sadler||Joel Rosario||$2.80|
|4th||1||Bravazo||D Wayne Lukas||Luis Saez|
|5th||10||Audible||Todd Pletcher||Flavien Prat|
|6th||8||Gunnevera||Antonio Sano||Irad Ortiz|
|7th||7||True Timber||Kiarian McLaughlin||Joe Bravo|
|8th||11||Imperative||Anthony Quartarolo||Tyler Gaffalione|
|9th||6||Tom's D'Etat||Albert Stall Jr||Shaun Bridgmohan|
|10th||2||Something Awesome||Jose Corrales||Edgar Prado|
|11th||9||Kukulkan||Fausto Gutierrez||Frankie Dettori|
|12th||12||Patternrecognition||Chad Brown||Jose Ortiz|
You can check out a more comprehensive look how all contenders for the race fared on our dedicated page right here.
With a long season stretching December through October, Gulfstream Park takes full advantage of the Florida climate to act as one of the biggest and busiest tracks in the States.
Fully equipped to handle a race of this nature, Gulfstream is also home to the renowned Florida Derby, a Grade 1 race in its own right but a key trial each year for the Kentucky Derby in May.
The track is situated at Hallandale Beach, around 20 miles from downtown Miami and is nine furlongs in length – exactly the distance of the Pegasus World Cup.
NBC Sports carries live TV coverage of the Pegasus World Cup with a mixture of general sports fans and racing nuts tuning in to see the winner of one of the world’s richest horse races crowned.
If you can’t be near a TV however, don’t worry as advances in technology means live streaming is available now on all major sporting events, including this race and the supporting card too.
As well as the live TV coverage there is a chance to watch the Pegasus World Cup via online live streaming. The race can be viewed through NBC Sports Live Extra or by using the NCB Sports Live Extra App for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets with no download required.
NBC’s streaming coverage mirrors their live televised coverage for the most part, the only stipulation being that you may be asked for your TV provider and a password to access the online coverage.
Unforgettable Races Beamed Live
Already in the short history of this race we have seen two spectacular champions crowned and it’s fitting that this brand new race attracts a new breed of watcher online. Our first two champions were:
Having not thought to be ready to contest the Triple Crown races, this beautiful son of Unbridled’s Song didn’t really come to prominence until August, 2016 when he took a huge leap forward to win the Travers Stakes at Saratoga by 13½ lengths.
That win was spectacular and immediately made him the best racehorse in the world at that point, a title he only solidified when snatching the Breeders’ Cup Classic from California Chrome.
Those wins made him a solid 9/10 favorite for the inaugural running of this race, Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms happy to throw in their million dollars for him to compete, and he duly came home in front easily by almost 5 lengths at Gulfstream before going on to supplement his huge winnings with an easy win in the Dubai World Cup.
Gun Runner (2018)
Having been beaten by Arrogate in Dubai this horse was always on the radar and in his four-year-old season he took four domestic Grade 1’s including the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Once more that made him a solid favorite, this time at odds of 11/10 and like Arrogate he did not disappoint. Having cruised upsides with three furlongs to go, his jockey said “go” and the rest is history.
Gun Runner is now in the breeding sheds and is a lot more valuable due to his winning this race, something connections of a lot of these horses have an eye on when contemplating putting up the money to run.
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