Like NASCAR's Daytona 500, horse racing kicks off the new year with its richest day of racing, the Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida. It's the third year of the Championship Invitational series and will be run on Saturday, January 26, 2019. We'll have LIVE COVERAGE of each race on Pegasus Day with our thoughts, exclusive photos and more in our Horse Racing Radar section. You can pre-purchase our Pegasus Cup tips on our download page.
The Pegasus Day stakes card offers more than $17 million in prize-money across nine races:
$125,000 SOUTH BEACH: 7.5-Furlongs (Turf) for fillies and mares, four-years-old and up.
$150,000 GULFSTREAM PARK TURF SPRINT: 5-Furlongs (Turf) for four-years-old and up.
$150,000 LADIES TURF SPRINT: 5-Furlongs (Turf) for fillies and mares, four-years-old and up.
$150,000 HURRICANE BERTIE Grade III: 7-Furlongs for fillies and mares, four-years-old and up.
$200,000 LA PREVOYANTE HANDICAP Grade III: 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) for fillies and mares, four-years-old and up.
$200,000 WL MCKNIGHT HANDICAP Grade III: 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) for four-years-old and up.
$150,000 FRED HOOPER Grade III: 1 Mile for four-years-old and up.
$7,000,000 PEGASUS WORLD CUP TURF INVITATIONAL Grade I: 1 3/16 Miles (Turf) for three-years-old and up.
$9,000,000 PEGASUS WORLD CUP INVITATIONAL Grade I: 1 1/8 Miles for three-years-old and up.
The marquee race, of course, is the PEGASUS WORLD CUP INVITATIONAL. Some of the big-name horses that are likely to compete include:
ACCELERATE is anywhere from a 6/5 to 2-1 pre-race favorite, according to international sports books and odds makers. Twenty-eighteen was a breakout year for the five-year-old as he won six of seven races, including the Breeders' Cup Classic. The impressive year ranked him as the second highest earner in 2018 at $5,005,000.
CITY OF LIGHT is next up on the board, with punters placing odds from 7/2 to 5-1 on the QUALITY ROAD offspring. He had a relatively light 2018 race schedule, hitting the track five times with three wins, a second and a third, totaling $1,412,000. His crown achievement for the year was winning the Breeders' Cup Mile.
Six horses come in the next tier, sharing common ground with pre-race odds ranging from 8-1 to 20-1. They include:
MCKINZIE (8-1 to 10-1) did his best work late in 2018, winning the Grade I Pennsylvania Derby at PARX on September 22nd and the Grade I Malibu Classic the day after Christmas at Santa Anita. For the year, the three-year-old ran five races with three wins and a second for $876,000.
GUNNEVERA (8-1 to 10-1) finished third in the PEGASUS last year and is another who found his money-winning stride in 2018. Although the year only included one win in five races, the four-year-old managed to win the fifth most money in 2018, putting $2,484,600 in the bank.
The lone W was a $48,000 Allowance Optional Claiming race at Gulfstream Park. He ran a lackluster race in the Dubai World cup but finished second in the Woodward Stakes (GI) at Saratoga on September 1st and Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill on November 3rd.
BRAVAZO (10-1 to 14-1) made his $1,162,600 keeping an active calendar, running 11 races, scoring just two wins with three seconds and two thirds. The three-year-old ran in the three Triple Crown races, finishing sixth in the Kentucky Derby, second in the Preakness, and sixth, again, in the Belmont Stakes.
His two wins came early in 2018; an $76,000 Allowance Optional Claiming at Oaklawn on January 13th and the Risen Star (GII) at the Fair Grounds on March 24th.
AUDIBLE (8-1 to 14-1) cashed an in-the-money (ITM) check in each of his five 2018 races, which included three-wins, a second and a third at the Kentucky Derby. The five-for-five ITM record allowed him to collect two commas at $1,141,120. In his two-year career, AUDIBLE has never finished out of a top three position with a line of 8: 5-1-2.
Some of his best 2018 efforts were at Gulfstream Park; running second in the Harlan's Holiday Stakes (GIII) on December 15 and winning the Florida Derby (GI) and Holy Bull Stakes (GII) in March and February, respectively.
PATTERNOFRECOGNITION (8-1 to 16-1) is one of two non-millionaires in the top-eight early favorites. The three-year-old has lifetime earnings of $812,325. The bulk of bankroll came late in 2018 with $668,725 in prize-money.
His last two outings and his first pair of stakes races accounted for $577,500 of his 2018 haul. He won $412,500 coming home first in the Cigar Mile (GI) at Aqueduct on the December 1st and the $165,000 with his score in the Kelso Handicap (GII) at Belmont on November 22nd.
LEOFRIC (8-1 to 20-1) is the other non-seven figure winner. The four-year-old is close at $951,040, much of which, $792,140, was amassed in 2018. The year of the Dog was good to LEOFRIC as he won five of seven races with a second and a third.
His brightest moment in the sun was getting the W in the Clark H (G1) at Churchill on November 23rd. It was his second consecutive graded stakes score following the Hagyard Fayette Stakes (GII) victory at Keeneland on October 27th. Overall, he won three graded stakes races, the West Virginia Governor's Stakes (GII) on the August 4th being his first.
In our next look at the 2019 PEGASUS WORLD CUP INVITATIONAL, we'll analyze the first two PEGASUS WORLD CUP INVITATIONAL races and recent Gulfstream Park biases to see which running style is most likely to lead to the 2019 PEGASUS WORLD CUP INVITATIONAL Winner's Circle. We will also have a full Pegasus Cup Wagering Guide available the week of the race which goes in-depth with all of our picks and plays for the day's Stakes races. Pre-purchase now with any bulk purchase!