2018 Pegasus World Cup Picks
Pegasus World Cup Preview and Odds
Last year, the storyline for the inaugural Pegasus World Cup was the showdown between Arrogate and California Chrome, a battle that failed to develop, as Arrogate took the race with ease, while California Chrome struggled in his final career race.
This year, all eyes are on Gun Runner, recently voted the Eclipse Award as the best thoroughbred in North America in 2017. Since closing out last season with a win in the Breeders' Cup Classic, there was little doubt Gun Runner would take the award, as he won five of six races during the year - finishing second in the other - the last four in a row, all Grade 1 stakes races.
Now he goes into the final race of his career as the heavy 4-5 favorite in both the morning line odds and at Bovada's racebook. If he can retain his form of last year, he's going to be very tough to beat. He has both the early speed to get to the front if jockey Florent Geroux decides to send him right out of the gate, or he can sit off the pace in a stalking position and try to get first jump on the leaders as they turn for home. And while he has won at 1 1/4 miles, the Pegasus distance of 1 1/8 probably suits him perfectly.
The problem for Geroux and Gun Runner is that he drew a tough outside post, #10 in the 12-horse field. Due to the configuration of the Gulfstream track, for races at 1 1/8 miles there is a very short run out of the gate and into the first turn. If Gun Runner tries to clear the field and fails, he risks being hung out very wide in that turn.
If he has to battle the inside speed horses right out of the gate, the concern is how much will he have left in the tank as they turn for home.
West Coast Should Have Things His Way
In contrast to Gun Runner, West Coast (13-2) drew an excellent post position in #2. He's helped by the fact the horse on the rail, Singing Bullet (100-1) is a late runner who is expected to fall back early, and so when the gates open jockey Javier Castellano should have no problem putting West Coast exactly where he wants him going into the turn, most likely sitting just off the lead as they enter the backstretch. From there it's a question of whether he's improved enough as a four-year-old to make up the 3 1/2 lengths he was beaten by Gun Runner in the BC Classic.
Breaking from gate #4, Sharp Azteca (8-1) is one that is expected to be in on the early battle for the lead. A horse that began his career at Gulfstream, he's established himself as one of the best one-mile dirt horses in the country in the past couple of years. He rebounded from a tough runner-up finish in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile to win the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct in early December.
He's never tried to race 1 1/8 miles, but it should be noted he has lots of distance pedigree on his dam's side as his grandsire, Saint Liam won the 2005 BC Classic and several other races beyond one mile. He's could very well be on the lead as they hit the one-mile mark, and then he's going to need every bit of that pedigree to hold on down the stretch.
There are several good closers in the field, and if the pace develops as fast as is expected, the race could set up very well for one of them to come on late and grab a significant piece of the prize. Coming from the #11 post is less of a problem for Seeking The Soul (35-1) than it is for Gun Runner right inside of him, because he's a horse that wants to come from somewhere in mid-pack anyway. He comes into the race off a solid win in the (G1) Clark Handicap, and as another making his four-year-old debut, a move forward from that race should get him into the top four.
The Pegasus World Cup goes Saturday, January 27 from Gulfstream race track in Hallendale, Florida. It's the final race of 12 on a card that features seven other stakes races, with an expected post time of 5:35 PM Eastern.
Entires w/ Bovada Odds
- Singing Bullet (100-1)
- West Coast (13-2)
- Stellar Wind (25-1)
- Sharp Azteca (8-1)
- Collected (5-1)
- Gunnevera (20-1)
- Fear The Cowboy (66-1)
- War Story (66-1)
- Toast Of New York (16-1)
- Gun Runner (4-5)
- Seeking The Soul (35-1)
- Giant Expectations (35-1)
Pegasus World Cup Picks
- 1) #2 - West Coast
- 2) #10 - Gun Runnner
- 3) #4 - Sharp Azteca
- 4) #11 - Seeking the Soul
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