HOME > HORSE RACING RADAR
2019 PEGASUS CUP TIPS: Building the Profile of a Winner
FRIDAY, JANUARY 11, 2019
by: Rich Bieglmeier
One of the richest days in horse racing, The Pegasus World Cup, is just two weekends away. Last week we previewed the big one, the Pegasus World Cup Invitational. The article highlighted the top eight contenders, according to oddsmakers, along with video of recent performances.
Today, we are going to look back at the first two Pegasus World Cup Invitational races, along with current Gulfstream Park track biases, to see which horses best fit the profile of Pegasus Gulfstream Park winner.
The Pegasus World Cup Invitational is 1 1/8 miles, raced on Gulfstream dirt.
In 2017, the inaugural winner was ARROGATE, ridden by Mike Smith and trained by Bob Baffert. He was shipped in from Santa Anita and rode the rail and won as the $0.90 favorite. In the opening quarter mile, ARROGATE ran third, a half a length behind the leader and held the same exact place at the half-mile marker. He took the lead for good with 5/16th a mile to go and pulled away by 4 3/4 lengths at the wire.
Profile of a Pegasus World Cup Invitational winner clues from race one: favorite, running from the rail, and raced near the lead all the way around the track.
In 2018, GUN RUNNER broke from the 10 spot with jockey Florent Geroux guiding the 2018 leading money winner home first. Much like ARROGATE, GUN RUNNER shipped in from California, was the $1.90 favorite and pressed the early pace.
He ran second in the opening quarter, trailing he leader by a length. The Steve Asmussen trainee continued to hold second a half-mile in, improving by a 1/2 length. GUN RUNNER took the lead by a length with three furlongs to race, holding his length advantage all the way to the winner's circle.
Profile of a Pegasus World Cup Invitational winner clues shared in the first two races: California shippers, favorites, and pressed the pace from beginning to end.
Let's see how the first two Pegasus World Cup Invitational winners' running styles compare to Gulfstream current dirt, route biases. So far, the current Gulfstream meet hosted two 1 1/8-mile races, both on turf. So, we are forced to look at 1 1/16-mile, dirt races.
There have been seven 1 1/16-mile, dirt races since the winter Gulfstream Park meet began. Like the two Pegasus World Cup Invitational champions, three of the winners ran within the top three in the first quarter and half mile calls, but only two held the after the first 6-furlongs.
However, Gulfstream's current bias seems to differ from the first pair of Pegasus winners, with four of the seven 1 1/16-mile, dirt winners coming from behind to score the W.
Now, let's look at the main eight 2019 Pegasus World Cup Invitational contenders and examine their running style to see what they share in common with ARROGATE and GUN RUNNER.
Accelerate wins the Breeders' Cup Classic
ACCELERATE is primarily a California horse, but he has raced at Churchill Downs and Oaklawn Park. The five-year-old appears to be more of a stalker than a front-runner, although he did press the pace early in his Breeders' Cup Classic score while running fifth for the first 6-furlongs, racing within a head of the leader on the first half-mile.
ACCELERATE's running style appears to fit better with Gulfstream current bias than the first two Pegasus winners.
CITY OF LIGHT started his career out west, but ran three of his 2018 races east of the Mississippi River, at Churchill Downs, Saratoga, and Oaklawn Park. Much like ARROGATE and GUN RUNNER, the Michael McCarthy trained CITY OF LIGHT likes the view from the front.
If the 2019 Pegasus World Cup Invitational holds to its previous form, CITY OF LIGHT is one that fits the early speed profile of a winner.
McKinzie wins the Pennsylvania Derby
MCKINZIE spent much of his seven-race career in the Golden State, running five of the seven in Cali. His running-style is similar to ACCELERATE. He won't let the leaders got too far in front early on but settles into more of a stalker's role.
MCKINZIE can run near the lead, but not usually in the top three out of the gates. He'll be better served if Gulfstream's current bias holds serve.
GUNNEVERA is an East Coast horse and could enjoy a "home field advantage" with nine of his 19 races at Gulfstream Park. In recent runs, he's been more of a middle to the back of the pack sort of runner, breaking 5th, 9th and 5th in his three most recent races.
GUNNEVERA's running style doesn't fit with either previous Pegasus Invitational winners or the current Gulfstream dirt, route bias.
BRAVAZO hasn't run west of the Central Time Zone. Prior to his last race, the Clark H at Churchill Downs on November 23rd, the Kentucky Derby entrant preferred to run first or second in the first half-mile. A reversion to his front-running ways matches up well with ARROGATE and GUN RUNNER winning runs.
BRAVAZO has won in early speed style at the distance and could be one to consider at a value price.
AUDIBLE is another who will try to break the West Coast bias as the colt has only races in Eastern Time Zone, with three of his six races in New York and another three at Gulfstream Park. Todd Pletcher's horse has been nowhere near the lead horse in his last three races. In fact, he ran sixth of six, eight out of 10, and 12th of 20 in the opening quarter of his last three outings.
AUDIBLE will have to buck both trends, the previous Pegasus winners and current Gulfstream form, to hit the tape first.
PATTERNRECOGNITION's 11 races have all been at New York tracks, Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga. His last two races are his only forays into Graded Stakes territory, both wins. His Ws in the Grade I Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on December 1st and at the GII Kelso Handicap on September 22nd both went wire-to-wire.
PATTERNRECOGNITION appears to be hitting his stride and his Pegasus effort could resemble the winning efforts of ARROGATE and GUN RUNNER.
LEOFRIC has spent most of his 14-race career running at non-major tracks with nine races at venues like Ellis Park, Oaklawn Park, Fair Grounds, Prairie Meadows, and Mountaineer Park. There's nothing wrong with any of those locations, they just don't carry the same "brand" as Belmont, Santa Anita, Saratoga, Del Mar... Although, he does have a win at Churchill and Keeneland in his two most recent races.
His running style fits the second or third out of the box and pedal to the medal down the stretch that worked in the first two Pegasus World Cup Invitational races.
LEOFRIC has a chance to be in the sweet spot early in the Pegasus, near the front without taking a hurried lead, which fits nicely with ARROGATE and GUN RUNNER.
We'll take into account current Gulfstream biases and previous winning efforts when we make our selections for the 2019 Pegasus World Cup card in our exclusive Wagering Guide.
Also, make sure you check out our Sunshine Millions Wagering Guide on January 19th. The Sunshine Millions races at Gulfstream Park should give some clues as to which running styles will have the edge in the Pegasus races. Pre-purchase both our Sunshine Millions and Pegasus Cup picks and wagering guides from our TIPSHEETS page.
Have a blessed day and good luck at the races.
<< RETURN TO GUARANTEED TIP SHEET HOMEPAGE