The Pegasus World Cup is a go! Potentially one of the most exciting new races in the thoroughbred industry since the inaugural Dubai World Cup in 1996, the Pegasus World Cup will be run at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, January 28, 2017. What’s brilliant about the race is that instead of being run at 1 1/4 miles over the dirt, the race will be run at 1 1/8 miles. At 1 1/8 miles the Pegasus World Cup figures to be a much more competitive race than if it was being run at 1 1/4 miles.
Right now, I can think of 6 horses that should enter this race. All 6 of the horses listed below have proven to be awesome at 1 1/8 miles. With a purse of $12 million, there’s no doubt that the connections of the 6 horses below are already thinking of how they’re going to get into the Pegasus World Cup starting gate.
California Chrome – Chrome won the Dubai World Cup at 1 1/4 miles rather easily. He has no problem with 1 1/8 miles or any distance, actually. The best horse in the world is scheduled to retire after the Breeders Cup Classic this year. Maybe, I’m wrong but a purse of $12 million dollars might have California Chrome LLC rethinking that plan. Unless he bombs in the Classic, which I doubt he’ll do, there’s no reason not to make the Pegasus World Cup his swan song.
Beholder – Beholder’s connections now have the ability to have her prep in the Breeders Cup Distaff for a run in the Pegasus World Cup against the boys. She was the only horse capable of challenging American Pharoah in the 2015 Breeders Cup Classic before she had to scratch from the race. This year, the handicap division appears to be much tougher. I think Beholder’s connections have to be thinking about running in the Pegasus World Cup on Jan. 28. The purse is just too large for them to not take a chance.
Frosted – Frosted doesn’t really appreciate 1 1/4 miles. His worse races have occurred at the classic distance. His best races, like the Pennsylvania Derby and the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2, have occurred at 1 1/8 miles. That’s what makes the Pegasus World Cup so intriguing. At 1 1/8 miles, horses like Frosted can show their best.
Mshawish – Here’s another horse that likely prefers 1 1/8 miles as opposed to 1 1/4 miles. Mshawish’s connections are probably already planning for the Pegasus World Cup. Why not? Not only has Mshawish proven difficult to beat on dirt after being an awesome turf horse, but he’s also won a dirt race at 1 1/8 miles, the Donn Handicap, over the Gulfstream Park course. This guy loves Gulfstream Park! Why wouldn’t you think about entering into a $12 million dollar race with a horse for course?
Effinex – Effinex’s win in the Oaklawn Handicap really excited me. I didn’t get excited because I had money on Effinex. I didn’t even bet the race. I got excited as a fan because jockey Mike Smith decided to challenge Melatonin early and it worked out. Effinex had mostly been a closer. Versus Melatonin in the Oaklwan Handicap, Smith parked him right off of Melatonin and then beat that rival to the wire.
Melatonin – The Santa Anita Derby winner proved that his victory in Santa Anita’s signature winter race was no fluke. Melatonin came back against Effinex in the Oaklwan Handicap. He actually almost held Effinex from passing him. I have to put him on my list because he’s run 2 fast races in a row against Effinex, who might be the second best handicap horse in the world after California Chrome.
It’s never too early to start thinking about who might run in a $12 million dollar race. The Pegasus World Cup isn’t until January 29, 2017. I’m already getting excited because the fact that the race will be run at 1 1/8 miles means that the very best horses on dirt in the world are likely to take a shot. I can’t wait!
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