The Pegasus World Cup will be run for the first time in 2017 and right out of the gate, the race is generating a lot of excitement and discussion throughout the industry. The Pegasus World Cup will replace the Donn Handicap on the Gulfstream Park stakes schedule and will be run at the same conditions – a mile and an eighth on the main track with coveted Grade 1 status. There is one major difference, however, and that is the purse. With $12 million on the line, the Pegasus World Cup Invitational is the world’s richest Thoroughbred horse race.
To participate in the race, twelve owners or groups of owners put up $1 million each to secure a spot in the race months ago. From there, it was up to them to find a horse to fill their purchased slot in the starting gate. The $12 million in entry fees is what went to fund the purse.
Pegasus World Cup Entries
If you cannot make it to Gulfstream Park, you can bet on the Pegasus World Cup through one of these recommended racebooks.
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Pegasus Betting Tips
The Pegasus World Cup will replace the Donn Handicap and while the purse may be inflated, many of the other details about the race remain the same. This is a mile and an eighth contest for older horses at Gulfstream Park in January and there are some key factors to consider in handicapping a race like the Pegasus World Cup.
The way this race is timed, many horses in the race may have raced in the November Breeders’ Cup but have been on the sidelines getting some R&R since then. Others may have had a prep race in between the two. Conditioning and fitness is something to consider. For a horse returning off of an extended layoff, they may need a race under their belt to perform their best.
Another major factor to consider is the location of the race – Gulfstream Park. Gulfstream Park’s main track is notoriously speed favoring so your best bet may be to go with a front-runner. Additionally, some horses can really favor or really dislike the racing surface so be sure to go back and check whether or not your top contender has raced at Gulfstream Park before and, if so, how they did.
With such a massive purse at stake, the Pegasus World Cup will attract some of the biggest names in the sport from owners to trainers to jockeys to horses. For 2017, the big stars are California Chrome and Arrogate. After a narrow defeat to the up and coming Arrogate in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Horse of the Year California Chrome will try to turn the tables on his rival and close out his truly remarkable career on a high note.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has been very successful in the Donn Handicap and won three of the last four editions for a total of five victories in the race. He will have to see if that success translates to the Pegasus World Cup but he does have a strong hand with two contenders – Keen Ice and Neolithic. Keen Ice has the distinction of being one of only two horses to ever defeat Triple Crown champion American Pharoah and routinely hits the board in major races. Neolithic is relatively unproven against top class stakes competition but has a perfect two for two record at Gulfstream Park.
Will the Pegasus World Cup take flight in its inaugural year? Only time will tell whether the race will be a revolutionary success or a $12 million misfire.