2019 Pegasus World Cup Cheat Sheet

Racing
City of Light, Accelerate, and Gunnevera (left to right) headline a competitive field for the third annual Pegasus World Cup Invitational on Jan. 26. (Eclipse Sportswire/Eclipse Sportswire/Andie Biancone for Coglianese Photos)

The $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, Jan. 26, anchors what has swiftly become a highlight of the winter racing calendar since it was first run in 2017. Twelve horses are slated to contest the 1 1/8-mile race on dirt, which this year is joined by the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational on a jam-packed card at Gulfstream that includes seven other stakes races. Thoroughbred racing is the centerpiece of a day-long entertainment extravaganza of fashion, food, and music that includes performances by Snoop Dogg and Mark Ronson.

This year’s Pegasus World Cup is headlined by Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Accelerate, who will almost certainly be named champion older dirt male at the Eclipse Awards held at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 24, two days before the Pegasus. Accelerate will face a formidable field in his final career start, led by Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up Gunnevera, Xpressbet Florida Derby winner Audible, and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner City of Light. Television coverage starts at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC on Jan. 26.

Keep reading for the scoop on the 2019 Pegasus World Cup contenders, presented in post position order with morning-line odds.

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Eclipse Sportswire

1. Bravazo (12-1)

Jockey: Luis Saez

Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas

Owner: Calumet Farm

Career record: 16 starts – 3 wins – 4 seconds – 3 thirds

Career earnings: $1,303,528

Earnings per start: $81,471

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 118

Pedigree: Awesome Again – Tiz o’ Gold, by Cee’s Tizzy

Color: Dark bay or brown

Age: 4

Running style: Stalker/closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This Calumet Farm homebred resumes his lunch-pail racing career at age 4 with another appearance in a marquee race. After emerging on the 2018 Kentucky Derby trail with a win in the Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford, Bravazo competed in all three Triple Crown events as well as three other major races for 3-year-old dirt horses, the betfair.com Haskell Invitational Stakes Runhappy Travers Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets, and the Pennsylvania Derby. Toting a close runner-up finish to Justify in the Preakness Stakes as his signature accomplishment, Bravazo then took on older horses in his final two starts of last year, finishing third behind Pegasus foes City of Light and Seeking the Soul in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and then second by a neck to Leofric in the Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare, both coming at Churchill Downs. Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas told Saratoga Living last summer regarding Bravazo’s campaign, “Brad Kelley [Calumet Farm owner] is very strong on the theory ‘they’re bred to run, run them.’” This horse has proven he belongs against Grade 1 competition, and even if he remains an outsider as a win candidate in the Pegasus, he’s a must-use in trifecta and superfecta tickets. After breaking from the inside post, Bravazo should be running in the stretch from well off the pace, with the hopes of passing some tiring foes and picking up another lucrative check. Bravazo has also responded well to top Gulfstream jockey Luis Saez, who was aboard for the colt’s Preakness runner-up finish as well as placings in the Haskell and Travers. Saez finished third in last year’s Pegasus on Gunnevera.

Bet Bravazo in the Pegasus World Cup.


Eclipse Sportswire

2. Something Awesome (20-1)

Jockey: Edgar Prado

Trainer: Jose Corrales

Owner: Stronach Stables

Career record: 26 starts – 9 wins – 3 seconds – 6 thirds

Career earnings: $1,093,601

Earnings per start: $42,062

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 118

Pedigree: Awesome Again – Somethinaboutlaura, by Dance Floor

Color: Bay

Age: 8

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This horse will represent Frank Stronach, the owner of Gulfstream Park and visionary behind the Pegasus World Cup, in the 2019 event. The gelding had by far his best season in a five-year racing career in 2018, winning three of six starts and earning over $912,550. The bulk of that came in the $1.2 million, Grade 2 Charles Town Classic Stakes last April, which he won by a neck over War Story with a 116 Equibase Speed Figure. That win came at the same 1 1/8-mile distance of the Pegasus as did another stakes win at Laurel Park last year. Overall, Something Awesome is much more experienced in six- and seven-furlong races, many of them coming on synthetic-surface tracks earlier in his career, and faces a stiff challenge against the likes of proven classic-distance horses Accelerate, Gunnevera, and Audible in the Pegasus. He should race in midpack through the early stages and remain in contention entering the far turn, but this hard-trying gelding appears to be a cut below the top contenders when the real running figures to begin at the quarter pole. Stronach’s Shaman Ghost finished second to Arrogate in the inaugural Pegasus, and Stronach co-owned fourth-place Fear the Cowboy and 11th-place Singing Bullet in last year’s renewal. Hall of Famer Edgar Prado has been aboard Something Awesome for his last four starts, including his win in the Charles Town Classic. He rode last-place Eragon in the inaugural Pegasus and won the Donn Handicap (the precursor to the Pegasus World Cup during Gulfstream's championship meet) three times.

Bet Something Awesome in the Pegasus World Cup.


Eclipse Sportswire

3. City of Light (5-2)

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Trainer: Michael McCarthy

Owners: Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren Jr.

Career record: 10 starts – 5 wins – 4 seconds – 1 third

Career earnings: $1,662,600

Earnings per start: $166,260

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 124

Pedigree: Quality Road – Paris Notion, by Dehere

Color: Bay

Age: 5

Running style: Pacesetter/press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: The only horse to defeat Accelerate in 2018 is set to take on his familiar rival again in the Pegasus, and he ships to south Florida in career-best form and with a handful of ultra-sharp recent workouts from California in tow. City of Light blew away his opponents in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3, leading from start to finish and setting a fast pace but still romping by 2 ¾ lengths over fellow Pegasus starters Seeking the Soul and Bravazo. He earned a 124 Equibase Speed Figure in that race, which is the best figure earned by any horse in the Pegasus field aside from Accelerate. City of Light has only competed twice in two-turn races (the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile was held around one turn), defeating Accelerate by a neck in the 1 1/8-mile Oaklawn Handicap last April and then finishing third to Accelerate, beaten by 5 ½ lengths, in the 1 ¼-mile Gold Cup at Santa Anita. He is versatile and can either set the pace or race just off of it, and it will be interesting to see how aggressive jockey Javier Castellano is in the Pegasus breaking from the third post position with not much speed to his inside, given that City of Light ran so well on the lead in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. His presence in the Pegasus along with Patternrecognition should at the very least ensure an honest pace, and that could set up perfectly for Accelerate if Joel Rosario decides to fashion a stalking trip. But then again, City of Light is talented enough to win the Pegasus outright, and he joins Audible and Gunnevera as the main threats to Accelerate in what shapes up to be a very competitive race. Hall of Famer Castellano finished second in last year’s Pegasus aboard West Coast and fourth in 2017 on Keen Ice. He also won the Donn Handicap in 2015.

Bet City of Light in the Pegasus World Cup.


Eclipse Sportswire

4. Seeking the Soul (12-1)

Jockey: John Velazquez

Trainer: Dallas Stewart

Owner: Charles Fipke

Career record: 23 starts – 6 wins – 5 seconds – 6 thirds

Career earnings: $1,701,042

Earnings per start: $73,958

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 119

Pedigree: Perfect Soul – Seeking the Title, by Seeking the Gold

Color: Bay

Age: 6

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Along with Gunnevera, this veteran racehorse makes a return appearance in the 2019 Pegasus with hopes of improving on his debut performance. Seeking the Soul was a viable longshot candidate last year at 41.20-1 odds due to the fact that he entered the race off of a career-best performance when taking the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs in November 2017. He finished a respectable, but well-beaten fifth in the Pegasus, 14 lengths behind dominant Gun Runner, and then put together a workmanlike campaign for the rest of 2018, winning a Grade 3 stakes at Churchill and finishing second in two other stakes (including the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile behind City of Light) and third in his most recent start, the 2018 Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare. Like Gunnevera, he is a closer who could benefit from a solid early pace in the Pegasus, and his best effort gives him a shot to hit the board if the front-runners and stalkers get tired. Trainer Dallas Stewart is adept at preparing longshot horses for big races that may not necessarily win but add heft to the exotic payouts, and Seeking the Soul fits the profile. Hall of Famer John Velazquez rode Seeking the Soul in last year’s Pegasus, and was on third-place Neolithic in 2017. He also won the Donn Handicap four times.

Bet Seeking the Soul in the Pegasus World Cup.


Eclipse Sportswire

5. Accelerate (9-5)

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Trainer: John Sadler

Owner: Hronis Racing

Career record: 22 starts – 10 wins – 5 seconds – 5 thirds

Career earnings: $5,792,480

Earnings per start: $263,295

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 126

Pedigree: Lookin At Lucky – Issues, by Awesome Again

Color: Chestnut

Age: 6

Running style: Press the pace/stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Last year, the Pegasus World Cup served as a coronation for a brilliant racehorse on the cusp of retirement in Gun Runner. Accelerate can write the same script on Jan. 26. He enters the Pegasus as the clear favorite, arriving on a four-race winning streak for owner Hronis Racing and trainer John Sadler. Those races were all Grade 1 stakes, and he won them by a combined margin of 20 lengths. In his most recent start, the Nov. 3 Breeders’ Cup Classic, Accelerate traveled out of his California comfort zone and faced his toughest challenge yet under the Twin Spires at Churchill Downs, and he still won convincingly by a length. On Jan. 24, he won the Eclipse Award as 2018 champion older dirt male. Now, he will seek further glory in another unfamiliar environment against another tough field before moving on to stud at Lane’s End in Kentucky. This horse checks all of the boxes for a dirt champion: he’s versatile and able make his own trip in each race, and therefore not be dependent on a fast pace; he has proven stamina for races at a mile and an eighth or longer; and, oh yes, he’s very fast, with his last four Equibase Speed Figures all topping 120. This will be another big challenge for Accelerate, but he should be up to the task and has been training very well at Santa Anita Park for Sadler. Look for him to settle just behind the early pace and make another bold move for the lead under Joel Rosario as the field exits the far turn, similar to the one he made in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Rosario finished sixth in last year’s Pegasus aboard the filly Stellar Wind, who was purchased from Hronis Racing by Coolmore for $6 million in fall 2017 and made her final start in this race before retiring to become a broodmare.

Bet Accelerate in the Pegasus World Cup.


Coady Photography

6. Tom’s d’Etat (20-1)

Jockey: Shaun Bridgmohan

Trainer: Albert Stall Jr.

Owner: G M B Racing

Career record: 9 starts – 6 wins – 1 second – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $278,492

Earnings per start: $30,944

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 117

Pedigree: Smart Strike – Julia Tuttle, by Giant’s Causeway

Color: Bay

Age: 6

Running style: Press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This lightly raced 6-year-old has assembled an impressive 6-for-9 career record in fits and starts. The Al Stall-trained son of late leading sire Smart Strike will be making a class leap in the Pegasus but has flashed serious talent over the past three years, and his connections logically want to find out just how good he is. After a poor debut effort on turf back in May 2016, Tom’s d’Etat has run well in all of his subsequent starts, each of them coming at a mile or longer on dirt. He turned heads in summer 2017 at Saratoga by scoring a nine-length victory in a 1 1/8-mile allowance/optional claiming race, which augured for better things that fall, but then ankle issues sidelined him for more than a year. He’s returned to post back-to-back open-length wins in a November allowance race at Churchill and in the Tenacious Stakes on Dec. 22 at Fair Grounds, his first stakes attempt, and has since posted two sharp workouts (as of Jan. 16) at Fair Grounds for Stall and Gayle Benson’s G M B Racing. If he improves off of his Tenacious effort in the Pegasus – which will be a tall order considering his competition – Tom’s d’Etat has a chance to finish in the top two or three at what should be high odds. He has won on the lead or from a pace-pressing position, and the latter strategy would appear to serve him best on Jan. 26. Shaun Bridgmohan has been on Tom’s d’Etat in both of his 2018 starts coming back from the layoff and gets the mount for the Pegasus. He won the 2011 Donn Handicap.

Bet Tom’s d’Etat in the Pegasus World Cup.


Adam Coglianese/NYRA

7. True Timber (30-1)

Jockey: Joe Bravo

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin

Owner: Calumet Farm

Career record: 17 starts – 4 wins – 4 seconds – 4 thirds

Career earnings: $550,550

Earnings per start: $32,385

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 118

Pedigree: Mineshaft – Queen’s Wood, by Tiznow

Color: Bay

Age: 5

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Calumet Farm’s other Pegasus starter will be making his second trip outside of his home circuit of New York for the Pegasus, where he should be one of the longest shots in the field. True Timber outran his odds of 31.50-1 in his most recent race when second by three-quarters of a length to Patternrecognition in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Presented by NYRA Bets. All three of this horse’s career wins after breaking his maiden have come in allowance/optional claiming races, but he has run well in stakes races from time to time. A note of caution: True Timber’s recent success (two wins and two seconds in his prior four starts) has come after he was shortened up to races ranging from six furlongs to a mile, and he was soundly defeated in two races at 1 1/8 miles earlier in his career. His stalking running style is a positive for the Pegasus, however. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin won the Donn Handicap twice, including with Hall of Famer Invasor in 2006. Jockey Joe Bravo has been aboard True Timber for the horse’s last three starts; the veteran rider won the Donn Handicap in 1997.

Bet True Timber in the Pegasus World Cup.


Eclipse Sportswire

8. Gunnevera (8-1)

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Trainer: Antonio Sano

Owner: Margoth

Career record: 19 starts – 6 wins – 5 seconds – 2 thirds

Career earnings: $4,111,800

Earnings per start: $216,411

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 123

Pedigree: Dialed In – Unbridled Rage, by Unbridled

Color: Chestnut

Age: 5

Running style: Closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This $4.1 million-earning fan favorite looms as possibly the main threat to Accelerate in the Pegasus, based on his class, consistency, and perhaps most importantly on how the race figures to play out. With several horses entered who prefer to race close to the lead, the pace in the Pegasus figures to be honest, and this stone-cold closer could capitalize in the late stages while competing on his home track. He rallied strongly in his last start, cutting into Accelerate’s lead in deep stretch only to lose by a length at 30.80-1 odds in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Gunnevera earned a 123 Equibase Speed Figure in the Classic, his career best, and he has been training steadily for south Florida-based Antonio Sano at Gulfstream Park West for his 5-year-old debut. If he can pair up his most recent speed figure come Jan. 26 and Accelerate races too close to the lead through the first mile – two big ifs – Gunnevera can improve on his third-place finish last year and pull the upset in the 2019 Pegasus. His current form and affinity for Gulfstream’s main track make him a logical horse to use in exactas and trifectas at the very least. Gunnevera responded very well to his first pairing with jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and the national leader in wins and purse earnings in 2018 retains the mount for the Pegasus. Ortiz rode eighth-place finisher Sharp Azteca in last year’s race.

Bet Gunnevera in the Pegasus World Cup.


Leslie Martin/Coglianese photo

9. Kukulkan (30-1)

Jockey: Frankie Dettori

Trainer: Fausto Gutierrez

Owner: Cuadra San Jorge

Career record: 14 starts – 14 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $326,484

Earnings per start: $23,320

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 109

Pedigree: Point Determined – The Real Mayo, by Bernardini

Color: Dark bay or brown

Age: 4

Running style: Pacesetter/press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This horse adds a dollop of intrigue to the Pegasus but faces long odds as his connections bring him back from his native Mexico to Gulfstream, where he won the Caribbean Classic in his North American debut on Dec. 8. That race was the centerpiece of Gulfstream’s Clasico Caribe racecard, restricted to horses bred or based in Caribbean or Latin America, and Kukulkan dominated his opposition in the 1 1/8-mile event, moving up on cue from his jockey as the field entered the far turn and pulling away effortlessly to score by 10 ¼ lengths. He earned an Equibase Speed Figure of 109 for the effort, which came via a very slow final time of 1:54.08, and the Point Determined colt will face an exponentially more difficult assignment in the Jan. 26 Pegasus. He’s undefeated through 14 starts, 13 of those coming in Mexico where he won that country’s Triple Crown in 2018. Getting leading international jockey Frankie Dettori to ride is a plus, but Kukulkan appears overmatched in the Pegasus against the best route dirt horses North America has to offer. Dettori rode last-place finisher Toast of New York in the 2018 Pegasus.

Bet Kukulkan in the Pegasus World Cup.


Coady Photography

10. Audible (10-1)

Jockey: Flavien Prat

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Owners: China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners, Starlight Racing, and WinStar Farm

Career record: 8 starts – 5 wins – 1 second – 2 thirds

Career earnings: $1,220,520

Earnings per start: $152,565

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 112

Pedigree: Into Mischief – Blue Devil Bel, by Gilded Time

Color: Bay

Age: 4

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: The 2018 Xpressbet Florida Derby winner looms as one of the main threats to Accelerate in this year’s Pegasus World Cup based on his 2-for-3 career record at Gulfstream Park and his overall talent. His most recent effort, however, casts some doubt on whether he has enough class to topple Accelerate, as he settled for second in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 3 Harlan’s Holiday Stakes by a half-length on Dec. 15 at Gulfstream as a 1-10 favorite. That race followed a sharp comeback effort off the layoff in a seven-furlong listed stakes at Churchill Downs on the Breeders’ Cup Classic Nov. 3 undercard, which he won by two lengths. Last spring, Audible emerged as a top-tier Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve candidate with two open-length stakes wins at Gulfstream Park before he finished a respectable third behind Justify (just missing second) in the 144th Derby despite an eventful trip. Based on his running style, this colt should be paired alongside Accelerate with both tracking the pace as the Pegasus field travels through the backstretch. Audible always answers the bell and is a definite threat to hit the board on Jan. 26, but he’ll need to run a career-best race to win with California-based Flavien Prat in the irons. Pletcher finished third and fourth in the inaugural 2017 Pegasus with Neolithic and Keen Ice, respectively. He won the Donn Handicap five times.

Bet Audible in the Pegasus World Cup.


Eclipse Sportswire

11. Imperative (30-1)

Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

Trainer: Anthony Quartarolo

Owners: Loooch Racing Stables and Imaginary Stables

Career record: 44 starts – 6 wins – 8 seconds – 4 thirds

Career earnings: $2,996,305

Earnings per start: $66,098

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 120

Pedigree: Bernardini – Call Her, by Caller I. D.

Color: Bay

Age: 9

Running style: Stalker

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This veteran gelding joined the Pegasus lineup as the last entrant over the weekend of Jan. 19-20, marking co-owner Ron Paolucci’s third straight appearance in the race. His Loooch Racing Stables co-owned War Story, who ran in the 2017 Pegasus (fifth) and last year’s renewal (10th), and Paolucci/Loooch, along with Imperative’s trainer Anthony Quartarolo, also owned a part of Sharp Azteca, who was ninth last year. Imperative has raced all over the country during a busy career, and has won the lucrative Charles Town Classic twice, in 2014 and 2017. He also finished second in that race in 2015 and in general has been a consistent, hard-trying runner who more often than not performs well enough to earn his keep while rarely reaching the winner’s circle. Since his 2017 Charles Town Classic win, Imperative has only hit the board once in six starts and was overmatched in his two Grade 1 tries in that time frame. On the positive side, he did win the 1 1/8-mile Poseidon Stakes on the undercard for the inaugural Pegasus World Cup in 2016. He will be one of the longest shots in this year’s race – if not the longest – and enters off of a ninth-place finish in a one-mile allowance optional claiming race at Gulfstream on Dec. 7. Tyler Gaffalione, a rising star in the jockey ranks, finished fourth in last year’s Pegasus and eighth in 2016.

Bet Imperative in the Pegasus World Cup.


Chelsea Durand/NYRA photo

12. Patternrecognition (10-1)

Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Trainer: Chad Brown

Owners: Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence

Career record: 11 starts – 5 wins – 5 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $812,325

Earnings per start: $73,848

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 119

Pedigree: Adios Charlie – Almost a Valentine, by High Cotton

Color: Bay

Age: 6

Running style: Pacesetter

Notable achievements and interesting facts: This horse enters the Pegasus on the heels of two consecutive graded stakes wins in New York, both at a mile. He won the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap at Belmont Park in late September by a length and then took the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Presented by NYRA Bets at Aqueduct by three-quarters of a length over Pegasus opponent True Timber. Prior to those breakthrough wins, Patternrecognition had build a solid résumé in New York allowance/optional claiming races, only finishing out of the money once in nine starts before his stakes debut. He figures to be a pace factor in the Pegasus since all three of his most recent races, including a win in a seven-furlong Saratoga allowance last summer, came on the front end. But this horse has only raced beyond a mile once – finishing second in a 1 1/16-mile allowance in October 2017 – and has a sprinter’s pedigree. Drawing the outside post position is another obstacle, and jockey Jose Ortiz will have to hustle his mount out of the gate and try to secure a good forward position before the field hits the first turn. Trainer Chad Brown has teamed up with owners Klaravich Stables (Seth Klarman) and William Lawrence to win major stakes with horses such as Cloud Computing and Practical Joke. Brown conditioned Stellar Wind for the Coolmore group in last year’s Pegasus, where she finished sixth in her career finale. Jose Ortiz retains the mount on Patternrecognition after piloting him in the Cigar Mile; the 2017 Eclipse Award winner was aboard runner-up Shaman Ghost in the inaugural Pegasus and rode 10th-place War Story last year.

Bet Patternrecognition in the Pegasus World Cup.

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