On Saturday, January 28, Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida will play host to the seventh running of the Pegasus World Cup horse race. The race covers 1 ⅛ miles on the dirt, and some of the best dirt route horses in the world will vie for a purse of $3 million and a place at the top of the handicap division. Pegasus World Cup betting is one of the greatest wagering opportunities of the year, and this is the place to find out who to bet and where to bet them!
Alongside the Pegasus World Cup, Gulfstream will host two other sibling races with the Pegasus name. 2023 will feature the fifth running of the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, a 1 ⅛-mile race on the grass with a $1 million purse. And, they will run the second edition of the Pegasus World Cup Filly and Mare Turf, a 1 1/16-mile, $500,000 race that draws top female turf horses for a winter feature.
Pegasus World Cup Future Bets
Before the gates fly open on Saturday afternoon, you can do your handicapping and lock in a future bet at Bovada’s racebook or another of these top-rated online wagering sites. The first wagering markets typically open for the Pegasus World Cup within a few weeks before the race, so it can be profitable to take a look at top-rated online wagering sites and get ready to place your bet if you find an overlay on a live horse.
Las Vegas Odds for the Pegasus World Cup
As of January 23, 2023, these are the Pegasus World Cup odds for the horses near the top of the market:
Pegasus World Cup History and Winners
The Pegasus World Cup is one of the newest traditions in horse racing. The race was previously known as the Donn Handicap, but in 2017 its name was changed to the Pegasus and the purse was raised. Though owners had to buy in for exorbitant amounts of money to support the purse in its first few years, the purse has still been a rich $3 million offering since 2020, and without the buy-in rule it is open to the best dirt route horses in the country no matter how wealthy their owners are.
Despite its short history, many great horses have already found triumph in the Pegasus.
In 2017, Arrogate became the first Pegasus World Cup winner. Riding high off of impressive victories in the Travers (G1) and the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), the Bob Baffert trainee won the first-ever Pegasus World Cup in a procession. Sent off the heavy favorite, he romped by 4 ½ lengths over 19-1 long shot Shaman Ghost and 23-1 Neolithic, paying $3.80 to win.
2018: Gun Runner
After a win in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Steve Asmussen pointed Gun Runner to a career finale in the 2018 Pegasus World Cup, and it was the coronation everybody hoped for. He stalked the early pace, took over near the three eighths, and gradually went further and further clear, paying $4.20 to win. It was 2 ½ lengths back to West Coast, who finished 10 ¾ lengths ahead of the chasing 13-1 shot Gunnevera.
2019: City of Light
In 2019 City of Light became the first Pegasus World Cup winner to come out of a race other than the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Winner of the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, the Michael McCarthy trainee pressed the early pace, took command, and romped 5 ¾ lengths clear of 34-1 outsider Seeking the Soul, paying $5.80 to win. 3-2 favorite Accelerate, the Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, ran third.
2020: Mucho Gusto
Mucho Gusto became the first Pegasus World Cup winner not to come out of the Breeders’ Cup. Unraced since a fourth-place finish in the Oklahoma Derby (G3) the previous September, the Bob Baffert trainee was ready for his best effort yet. He led early, settled back to track, and took command in the lane to win by 2 ½ lengths, paying $8.80 to win. 7-1 shot Mr Freeze, who the winner ran down, held second by ¾ length over 15-1 long shot War Story.
2021: Knicks Go
Like City of Light, Knicks Go came into the Pegasus World Cup off of a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. The Brad Cox trainee left no doubt about his superiority: he broke on top, set the pace, and bounded home to win by 2 ¾ lengths over a hard-trying local, 11-1 shot Jesus’ Team. Knicks Go paid $4.60 to win as the favorite. Independence Hall, a 27-1 surprise, was just a neck further back in third.
2022: Life Is Good
Though Knicks Go tried to become the first two-time Pegasus World Cup winner, the public sided with Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Life Is Good, and the race unfolded perfectly for him. The Todd Pletcher trainee outsprinted Knicks Go to the top and was never headed, winning by 3 ¼ lengths and paying $3.60 to win. 9-10 second choice Knicks Go finished second, a length clear of 26-1 outsider Stilleto Boy.
Pegasus World Cup Bets
The Pegasus World Cup Bets include all of the wagers you would expect to see in a horse race.
You can bet straight wagers like win, place, and show in the Pegasus World Cup. If you have a strong opinion on a horse in the Pegasus, go ahead and put your money to win! If you are looking for a safer bet on the race, place and show might be more interesting. Though they typically pay less than a successful win wager, a place bet only requires your horse to finish in the top two, and show requires they finish in the top three.
If you like multiple horses in the race, or you have an opinion on a horse who you think can finish second or third but not win, you may be in a great place to cash a big ticket on a single-race exotic wager. The exacta, trifecta, superfecta, and super high five require you to pick the first two, three, four, or five horses across the finish line in a single race.
Cashing exotic wagers can require a combination of skill and luck. However, if you pick the right long shot to finish in the top few horses, then these wagers can give you a life-changing score! And, in the Pegasus World Cup, long shots finish in the money enough to make these wagers appealing.
If you have opinions on which horses are most likely to win not only the Pegasus World Cup but also races near it in the card, then multi-race exotics may be the perfect bets to make on Pegasus World Cup day. Daily Double, Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, and Pick 6 wagering are available on the card.
These bets require you to pick the first two, three, four, five, or six finishers of the race. Like single-race exotics, these can be difficult and require a bit of luck, but if you catch a long shot or two they can pay big money!
Pegasus World Cup Betting Tips
As you plan to bet the Pegasus World Cup, keep in mind the trends in the Pegasus World Cup, as well as the trends on the Gulfstream Park course. Knowing these betting tips can help you maximize your wagering profits on the Pegasus World Cup.
Well-Bet Horses Deliver in the Pegasus
Though looking for long shots can be exciting, the Pegasus has historically not been the place to look for long shots on top. In its first six runnings, the winner has always been either the favorite or the second betting choice. The longest-priced winner among the first six was Mucho Gusto in 2020; he was the second betting choice and paid $8.60 to win.
This does not mean it is useless to look for long shots. If you plan to play exactas, trifectas, or superfectas, there are often long shots who find it into those intra-race exotic wagers.
Speed Is King
At Gulfstream Park, especially on the dirt, early speed is the key to victory. Though a Pegasus World Cup winner does not always have to make the early lead, all of the first six Pegasus winners has either won wire-to-wire or sat close to the early lead before taking over late. This mirrors the usual pattern over the main track at Gulfstream Park.
If there is a lot of early speed in the race, a closer may be able to run on well enough late to finish in the money. Finding a long shot closer who has a good chance to run on late could help single-race exotics pay well. However, when choosing a winner, stick with the speed horses.
Breeders’ Cup Horses Come Back Strong
Five of the first six winners of the Pegasus World Cup last raced in the Breeders’ Cup, meaning that has been a profitable place to look for the right horses in the Pegasus. Both the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile have been strong sources of winners in the Pegasus World Cup, so make sure to give strong consideration to horses who ran well in both of those races.
Mind the Distance
Keep in mind that the Pegasus World Cup covers a distance of 1 ⅛ miles. Compared to a lot of top-level races, this is an intermediate distance. Some milers may find this a little too long, while some true classic-distance (1 ¼-mile) horses may find this trip just a little too sharp.
Look through the past performances of the Pegasus World Cup runners for their ability to handle 1 ⅛ miles. Even if they have not covered that specific distance, you can get some idea based on the range of distances they have tried. If they are a Classic-distance horse, try seeing how they shortened up in stakes company, perhaps to a mile or 1 1/16 miles; if they are versatile enough to handle both kinds of distances, this intermediate one may be just fine.
Pegasus World Cup Turf Races
Though the richest race on the Pegasus World Cup card is always the featured dirt race, logical since dirt remains the highest-profile racing surface in the United States, there is a pair of rich turf races with the Pegasus name, which join it on the card. Like the dirt race, the turf races draw world-class horses and give horseplayers excellent Pegasus World Cup betting opportunities.
Pegasus World Cup Turf History
Gulfstream Park revamped the Gulfstream Park Turf Stakes as the Pegasus World Cup Turf in 2019 and raised its purse to match. It is a $1 million horse race that draws some of the best middle-distance turf horses in the world. A 1 3/16-mile race for its first three years, it has been shortened up to 1 ⅛ miles as of 2022.
Even though horses have shipped from overseas, American horses do well in the Pegasus World Cup Turf. Bricks and Mortar won the 2019 edition of the Pegasus World Cup Turf, a strong beginning to his Horse of the Year season. Zulu Alpha, previously best proven over longer trips, shortened up effectively for the 2020 edition. In 2021 and 2022, Colonel Liam became the first horse to win a Pegasus race twice when going back-to-back in the Turf.
Pegasus World Cup Filly and Mare Turf History
In 2022, Gulfstream added another Pegasus race when it rebranded the Marshua’s River as the Pegasus World Cup Filly and Mare Turf and raised its purse to $500,000. Regal Glory won that inaugural edition, the beginning of a season that would include three Grade 1 wins as well as a second-place finish against Grade 1 males.
Pegasus World Cup Date
The Pegasus World Cup is traditionally run on the last Saturday in January at Gulfstream Park. The Pegasus World Cup and Pegasus World Cup Turf will be broadcast on NBC and also live streamed on Peacock. The entire day’s race card is also shown on the Gulfstream Park website, just like all racing at Gulfstream Park. So, make plans to watch the racing and take advantage of the lucrative betting opportunities all day long at your preferred online racebook!