As expected, McKinzie was the only late withdrawal from the Pegasus World Cup and will be aimed at the Santa Anita Handicap instead. His place in the 12-runner line-up for the $9 million race has been taken by Imperative.
Owner Ron Paolucci decided to gamble on the vacant spot, despite a poor showing by Imperative at Gulfstream Park last month. He scoped badly afterwards and his recent work has convinced connections to fork out the $500,000 entry fee. Here is our runner-by-runner guide to Saturday’s race which will be televised live on NBC along with the inaugural running of the $7 million Turf Invitational.
Pegasus World Cup Runner-by-Runner Guide
- BRAVAZO 14-1
Trained by D. Wayne Lukas and set to start on the inside under Luis Saez. Ran the race of his life in the Preakness last year when second to Justify. The son of Awesome Again has not got his head in front in his last nine starts but was only beaten a neck last time out in the valuable Clark Handicap.
- SOMETHING AWESOME 50-1
Owned by race organisers Stronach, trained by Jose Corrales and ridden by Edgar Prado. A Grade 2 winner last April but will need to produce something awesome to win this!
- CITY OF LIGHT 11-4
A big player for Michael McCarthy and Javier Castellano. He beat Accelerate in a memorable duel for the Oaklawn Handicap last year and has since won the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
- SEEKING THE SOUL 18-1
Trained by Dallas Stewart and ridden by John Velazquez. A remote fifth in this race a year ago, he is also held on recent from by City Of Light and Bravazo.
- ACCELERATE 13-8
The short-priced favourite is trained by John Sadler and ridden by Joel Rosario. Accelerate has won his last four races, all Grade 1’s, culminating in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in November.
- TOM’S D’ETAT 66-1
Trainer Al Stall believes that he has this fragile son of Smart Strike at his peak for Saturday’s race. He will be ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan and will need to produce a career-best effort to feature here.
- TRUE TIMBER 50-1
Joel Bravo takes the reins on Kiaran McLaughlin’s long shot. He was three-quarters of a length behind Patternrecognition in the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct when starting at similar odds.
- GUNNEVERA 9-1
His form suggests that he is a likely place-getter for Antonio Sano and Irad Ortiz Jnr. Third to Gun Runner last year and beaten only a length by Accelerate in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He can become detached in the early part of the race before staying on late.
- KUKULKAN 100-1
Fausto Gutierrez has booked Frankie Dettori to ride the Mexican Triple Crown winner who is 14 from 14 on the track. Neither that statistic nor a win at Gulfstream in December has convinced clock-watchers.
- AUDIBLE 10-1
Todd Pletcher’s Audible was a strong fancy for the Kentucky Derby last year where he finished a creditable third to Justify. Flavien Prat will be in the saddle on Saturday and his supporters will need to overlook his 1-10 comeback defeat in December.
- IMPERATIVE 100-1
Anthony Quartarolo and Tyler Gaffalione team up with Imperative who takes the place of late scratching, McKinzie. Very difficult to see the owners getting a return on their $500,000 investment.
- PATTERNRECOGNITION 11-1
Chad Brown and Jose Ortiz will have to make what they can of the wide draw in barrier 12. One of the biggest improvers in the field and usually a sharp starter.
Pegasus World Cup Betting Tips
It is difficult to look beyond ACCELERATE and City of Light on form. The latter is a very strong traveller but Accelerate does not know when to quit and a repeat of their Oaklawn Handicap clash could be on the cards. Patternrecognition has not been helped by his draw but has more scope than the likes of Bravazo and Gunnevera.
- City of Light
Ten horses were declared for the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational with all the market leaders standing their ground. Favourite Yoshida will start from barrier two, Japanese hope Aerolithe from four and Ireland’s Magic Wand in barrier one. There has also been plenty of support for Catapult (drawn 9) and Bricks and Mortar (drawn 7).
NBC’s coverage begins at 4.30pm ET with the Turf Invitational due off at 4.50 and the Pegasus World Cup at 5.40. You can get all the form and follow the build up to the big race at TVG.com with a new player sign-up bonus to match your first deposit, up to a maximum $200.