The $3 million Pegasus World Cup, winter’s richest and most important thoroughbred race, takes flight Saturday at Gulfstream Park in greater Miami. The mile and one-eighth test is contested at a middle distance that brings together elite horses at varying skill sets, and this year’s event lured the winners of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (Life is Good) and Breeders’ Cup Classic (Knicks Go). It’s truly a crossroads contest with a championship caliber.
Knicks Go is the defending Pegasus World Cup winner and could become the first two-time winner in the race’s history. With past victors like Arrogate and Gun Runner, the Pegasus World Cup quickly has launched into racing’s upper echelon since its 2017 debut.
Here’s a look at the complete field, with post number, odds and jockey:
1. Knicks Go, 6-5 (Joel Rosario)
2. Chess Chief, 10-1 (Reylu Gutierrez)
3. Stilleto Boy, 20-1 (Kent Desormeaux)
4. Life Is Good, 7-5 (Irad Ortiz Jr.)
5. Empty Tomb, 20-1 (Paco Lopez)
6. Sir Winston, 12-1 (Edwin Gonzalez)
7. Title Ready, 20-1 (Tyler Gaffalione)
8. Endorsed, 20-1 (Umberto Rispoli)
9. Commandeer, 30-1 (Julien Leparoux)
The last time we had the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and Classic winners in a PWC clash was 2019, and it was Dirt Mile winner City of Light who came out on top. And notably last year’s victory by Knicks Go came when he had exited the Dirt Mile, whereas this year he shortens distance from the 1-1/4 mile Classic. The 2017 and ’18 Pegasus World Cup winners Arrogate and Gun Runner both successfully navigated the Classic cut-back in distance. Historically it’s a push when it comes to which Pegasus springboard has been best.
While Life is Good is based in South Florida this winter, he’s never raced over the Gulfstream Park surface. Knicks Go traveled from his New Orleans winter home earlier in the week to settle into the surroundings. He has the advantage with his win over the track and distance last year in terms of familiarity. If there’s a lean to make, that’s the tilting factor from this handicapper’s eye in favor of Knicks Go. I also love that Knicks Go drew the rail, a perfect fit for his blazing early style.
Upset-minded handicappers may look to 2019 Belmont winner Sir Winston, as his trainer Mark Casse has been on fire at Gulfstream in 2022. Coming into this week’s racing, Casse is hitting a whopping 10-for-29 on the new year locally (34% wins, $2.64 ROI for every $1 bet).
Jeremy Plonk’s Keys to the Pegasus World Cup
— Knicks Go is proven at the track and distance
— Knicks Go is advantaged from the rail post draw
— Red-hot trainer Mark Casse could have Sir Winston as an exotics key
Horseplayers who utilize the 1/ST BET and Xpressbet betting platforms for Pegasus World Cup Day can take advantage of several lucrative offers.
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Gulfstream Park’s 12-race Saturday card begins at 11:30 a.m. ET, with the Pegasus World Cup slated for 5:34 p.m. ET in the day’s finale.