Meet the Top Pegasus World Cup Contenders
By Dustin Fabian, Xpressbet.com
Pegasus World Cup Expert Picks
Grade 1 – $1,000,000 4YO+ – 1 3/16 Miles (Turf)
By Dustin Fabian, Xpressbet Handicapper @xpressbet
Analysis: When trying to pick the winner of any horse race, there are plenty of factors to consider. You generally want to pick a horse that has been running well recently. And obviously one that is as fast as his or her competitors. A good trainer and a good jockey are a plus, too. Finally, a horse with a favorable running style (frontrunner vs closer) is a major factor. In this year’s Pegasus World Cup Turf, all signs point to MO FORZA (5/1) checks all the boxes of a horse that should run a phenomenal race.
Good recent form? Check. He has won four races in a row in California.
Fast enough? Check. Nearly all speed figures rate MO FORZA toward the top of the field.
Good trainer/jockey? Check and check. Trainer Peter Miller and jockey Joel Rosario are among the best in the world.
Favorable Running Style? Check. He is versatile enough to lead or sit just off the pace. Most of his rivals are closers.
Main Contenders: Beyond MO FORZA, my bets will also include horses conditioned by two of the world’s top turf trainers, Aidan O’Brien (MAGIC WAND) and Chad Brown (INSTILLED REGARD, WITHOUT PAROLE, SACRED LIFE). MAGIC WAND (7/2) is a horse that demands respect. She has raced around the world and finished 2nd in last year’s Pegasus Turf. Of the Chad Brown contingent, WITHOUT PAROLE (4/1) seems to be the most talented. He finished 3rd in the Breeders’ Cup Mile in November and has been targeting this race since.
Value Plays: I mentioned INSTILLED REGARD (10/1) and SACRED LIFE (12/1) above and both feature great jockey/trainer combos and enter off solid races. INSTILLED REGARD just won a G2 race over this course and teams Chad Brown with Irad Ortiz Jr. They won this race last year with Bricks and Mortar. Irad’s brother Jose rides SACRED LIFE for Brown. ZULU ALPHA (12/1) is too pace dependent to use on top, but could come running late.
$100 Wagering Strategy: • $20 Win/Place: MO FORZA ($40) • $10 Exacta Box: MO FORZA, MAGIC WAND and WITHOUT PAROLE ($60)
Grade 1 – $3,000,000 4YO+ – 1 1/8 Miles (Dirt)
By Jeremy Plonk, Xpressbet Senior Racing Analyst @HorsePlayerNow
Analysis: At the time of Wednesday’s draw, this race was a Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile rematch between Omaha Beach and Spun To Run. Flash forward 24 hours and both horses were scratched due to ailments and this race is now wide open. MUCHO GUSTO (9/2), the morning-line third choice, is now a probable favorite while California’s HIGHER POWER (6/1) and the local horses DIAMOND OOPS (15/1) and BODEXPRESS (30/1) will get much more attention.
Main Contenders: The Jim Dandy winner TAX (12/1) gets his best distance at 1-1/8 miles and hits a nice form cycle in his second start since the Travers in August. He came to hand under Jose Ortiz’s riding the second half of last year and I really liked what I saw in his workouts on video. From post 2, he’s got a great draw and figures to draft in just behind the speed horses. HIGHER POWER comes east from California and West Coasters have won two of three editions of this race. Trainer John Sadler finished third in this race a year ago with Accelerate, and Breeders’ Cup Classic alumni have had strong success in the PWC over the years. HIGHER POWER’s third in the Classic makes him the highest-finishing alumnus of the 2019 event to compete here. HIGHER POWER has won only 1 of 6 career stakes attempts, but his Pacific Classic at Del Mar was one of last year’s most impressive performances. His A+ game can win this. MUCHO GUSTO hasn’t started since disappointing at 4-5 in the Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park. But watching his workouts in recent months at XBTV.com indicate he’s really coming to hand. He has only Grade 3 victories in his war chest, 4 of them, but did hit the board in the Haskell and Travers last year. Irad Ortiz, Jr. takes over in the saddle and ha been riding lights-out at the meet.
Value Plays: DIAMOND OOPS has a strong 5-for-6 record on the Gulfstream Park dirt, is working sharply and trainer Patrick Biancone’s runners are going very well right now at Gulfstream. Distance is the question whether this closing sprinter can be successful routing. You’ll get a big price to find out.
$100 Wagering Strategy: • $60 Win: TAX ($60) • $10 Exacta Key Box: TAX over HIGHER POWER and MUCHO GUSTO ($40)