Eyeing an Upset in the Inaugural Pegasus Filly and Mare Turf

Fans watch the action at Gulfstream Park. (Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing)

One of the joys of betting on horse racing is opening up the past performances, looking over a race, and finding that all of the horses you would be interested in betting have appealing odds. Nobody gets really excited about betting a 4-5 favorite, but a 15-1 or 20-1 longshot elicits that tingle of anticipation that most other types of sports betting just can’t offer.

That was the feeling I got when I looked at the $500,000 Grade 3 TAA Pegasus World Cup Filly and Mare Turf Invitational Stakes Presented by PEPSI Jan. 29 at Gulfstream Park. Sure, the most likely winners going by the morning-line odds — #4 Regal Glory (2-1), #1 Sweet Melania (5-1), #7 Nicest (6-1), and #9 Shifty She (6-1) — are talented runners clearly expected to run well. But I can make a compelling argument for several others at much more appealing odds in what looks like a wide-open race.

Television schedule

Friday, Jan. 28: 2:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, Jan. 29: 12:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. on FS2; 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m. on NBC; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, Jan. 30: 3 p.m.-6:30 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Two runners that intrigue me in this field are #2 Wakanaka (12-1) and #5 Gift List (15-1). Both look like serious win candidates but both also are returning from extended absences. 

Gift List caught my eye and found her way into my Equibase Virtual Stable last year on Longines Kentucky Oaks day, when she blew past Aunt Pearl in the stretch of the Grade 2 Edgewood Stakes Presented by Norton Racing and Gaming on her way to a 4 ¼-length romp. Gift List finished exceptionally well in that race but has not started since she was rank early in the Grade 3 Wonder Again Stakes in June at Belmont Park, and my biggest concern is that she might be pretty wound up again coming off more than seven months on the sidelines. Still, she has never been worse than third in eight starts with four wins and three seconds.

Wakanaka debuts for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott after making the first eight starts of her career in Italy. While the competition is not as stout in Italy as England, Ireland, or France, Wakanaka won the Italian One Thousand Guineas while amassing six wins and two seconds in eight starts. This is a classy filly who got even better when stretching out to a mile and I think she’s a serious prospect for a trainer who knows how to handle a quality racehorse. 

Ultimately, I landed on a filly from a barn I follow closely taking a step up in class at what figures to be a big price: #11 Bipartisanship (20-1). This is a tough assignment for this 4-year-old Bated Breath filly, trained by Graham Motion, but I loved how she finished in winning the Tropical Park Oaks Dec. 26 on this Gulfstream Park turf course. She blitzed the final sixteenth of a mile in 5.76 seconds after she was blocked in early stretch to prevail by a half-length. The beaten favorite from that race, #3 Lady Speightspeare, also was entered in this race and is 8-1 on the morning line. I don’t think Bipartisanship’s win was a fluke. 

There is no doubt that the Filly and Mare Turf is a big jump up in level of competition from a turf stakes restricted to 3-year-old fillies in December, but Bipartisanship clearly likes this turf course and I always try to be a race early when it comes to jumping on a bandwagon than one race late and miss out on a big payday.

There are a number of ways to play a race like this. I could use the three double-digit odds runners I like in multi-race bets — I’d probably also include #7 Nicest — or try to dip a toe in the trifecta pool for a hefty score. I might do both of those … but for this blog I prefer to keep it simpler. I can’t ignore 20-1 odds in the win pool, and I’ll expand a bit with a larger budget into the exacta pool.

Strategy on a $10 Budget

$10 win on #11 Bipartisanship ($10)

What to say at the betting window: Gulfstream Park, 9th race, $10 to win on #11

Strategy on a $25 Budget

$10 win on #11 Bipartisanship ($10)

What to say at the betting window: Gulfstream Park, 9th race, $10 to win on #11

$3 exacta: 11 with 2,5,7 ($9)

What to say at the betting window: Gulfstream Park, 9th race, $3 exacta 11 with 2,5,7

$2 exacta: 2,5,7 with 11 ($6)

What to say at the betting window: Gulfstream Park, 9th race, $2 exacta 2,5,7 with 11

2022 TAA Pegasus World Cup Filly and Mare Turf Invitational S. presented by PEPSI
January 29th, 2022

4 Regal Glory
6 Alms
9 Shifty She
5 Gift List (GB)
11 Bipartisanship (GB)
2 Wakanaka (IRE)
7 Nicest (IRE)
8 Summer in Saratoga
10 In a Hurry
1 Sweet Melania

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