With MCKINZIE jockey Mike Smith saying, "We thought about taking him [MCKINZIE] to the Pegasus but he won't run there now. Instead we'll go for a prep race in America and, depending on how he goes, we'll decide whether to take him over to Dubai," the field for the 2019 PEGASUS CUP INVITATIONAL looks semi-set with 11 race horses.
We'll know for sure mid-week when posts are drawn and the oddsmaker sets the opening lines.
For now, here's what the field looks to be and current, average odds based on online bookmakers.
CITY OF LIGHT 3-1
SEEKING THE SOUL 16-1
SOMETHING AWESOME 30-1
TRUE TIMBER 30-1
TOMS D'ETAT 40-1
Using the handy implied probability excel calculator, current odds give ACCELERATE a 45% chance to win, 25% for CITY OF LIGHT, 11% for GUNNEVERA and AUDIBLE, 9% for PATTERNRECOGNITION, 7.7% for BRAVAZO, 5.7% for SEEKING THE SOUL, 3.2% for SOMETHING AWESOME and TRUE TIMBER, 2.4% for TOMS D'ETAT and 1.9% for KUKULKAN.
In other words, the bookmakers see the Pegasus Cup International at as a two-horse race between ACCELERATE and CITY OF LIGHT. The numbers say, for every three times the duo square up, ACCELERATE would win twice and CITY OF LIGHT would hit the tape first once.
The pair raced in the GOLD CUP STAKES at Santa Anita on May 26,2018. CITY OF LIGHT was the 6/5 post-time favorite with ACCELERATE a close second at 9/5. Both broke sharply out of the gates with ACCELERATE taking the lead in the early going, sliding to the rail from the two-spot in his opening strides. CITY OF LIGHT was right off his heels to ACCELERATE's outside, wagering the yellow and black four silks.
By the quarter-mile marker, DR. DORR took the lead with CITY OF LIGHT second running to DORR's outside and ACCELERATE rating behind DORR on the rail. The opening quarter was run in 23.28.
The order and positioning remained unchanged through the first turn with DR. DORR leading the way, CITY OF LIGHT three-quarters of length to his outside and ACCELERATE a length-and-a-half behind CITY OF LIGHT.
Not much changed down the backstretch as the order remained DR. DORR, CITY OF LIGHT and ACCELERATE. Things did tighten up heading into the second turn with the first three separated by just one-length.
Coming out of the second turn, CITY OF LIGHT, rode confidently by jockey Drayden Van Dyke, pulled nose to nose with DR. DORR. Meanwhile, ACCELERATE moved four-wide off the rail into the stretch, just a half-length behind the two leaders.
And that's when jockey Victor Espinoza put the pedal-to-the medal and asked ACCELERATE to go, and go he did. He took the lead for good in the stretch, hand-ridden to the wire in a commanding 4 1/4 length win over DR. DORR. CITY OF LIGHT tired late and took home the bronze-medal, 5 1/2 lengths behind ACCELERATE.
Round one goes to ACCELERATE.
A lot has happened since May. CITY OF LIGHT look much improved in his easy, wire-to-wire win in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.
However, ACCELERATE has been dominate on the Grade I stakes circuit, winning the Breeders' Cup Classic, Awesome Again Stakes, and the Pacific Classic Stakes, all without much competition.
Of course, anything can happen when 11 horses take to Gulfstream's main track for the Pegasus Cup International. We'll have our Wagering Guide, complete with analysis, top-contenders, picks, suggested wagers and more once the posts are drawn, and the odds are set.
We'll also be on the ground with live coverage on Pegasus World Cup day with up-to-date information, thoughts, pictures, and insights. Make sure you check back during the week to get the latest Pegasus Cup info.