The Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational presented by Runhappy made quite a splash in its first edition 12 months ago, on a soaked, yielding turf course at Gulfstream Park. We look at all the horses in the field:
1. Zulu Alpha: He has a strong late kick, but, as funny as it may seem, he’s one of a couple of horses who seems to want more distance than 1 3/16 miles. Given the distance, his running style and the likelihood of a slow pace, this may not be the spot for him.
2. Arklow: He’s another who would be happier if the race was 1 ¼ miles or more. He acted up before the Breeders’ Cup Turf at 1 ½ mile – then raced wide and was still only less than three lengths behind Bricks and Mortar. He’s a highly consistent sort who belongs in the exotics, but he’ll need a few things to go right for him to pull off a victory.
3. Without Parole: Trained by Chad Brown, the top-class miler, with Frankie Dettori aboard, he is the one to beat.
4. Sadler's Joy: One of the exotics who may not do as well as expected.
5. Channel Cat: He’s also been competitive and should be competitive at the distance, but his record of one win and no seconds in eight 2019 starts is not encouraging.
6. Instilled Regard: Chad Brown’s second starter cannot be ignored in an extremely well-matched field. This is his third race since a six-month layoff and he may be poised for a big effort, even if his speed figures are a bit behind some of the others.
7. Admission Office: He closed fast to finish second by a half-length in the Fort Lauderdale and should relish the additional half-furlong. If you like Instilled Regard at 10-1, then you have to love him at 30-1. He could hold the key to some huge exotics.
8. Henley’s Joy: He’s winless in five starts since taking the $1 million Grade 1 Belmont Derby, but he’s run into some soft turf, which he doesn’t like, and maybe if the sun spends the day in South Florida, he might wake up with a big effort.
9. Next Shares: He ran in this race last year and finished a well-beaten seventh. A firm course should help his cause but he got that in the Breeders’ Cup Mile and was still 6 ¾ lengths behind Without Parole. We’ll pass.
10. Mo Forza: He blossomed in the last two months of his 3YO season, becoming a Grade 1 winner. He’s tackling older horses for the first time and his speed figures seem a cut below his elders. What could work for him is that he has some early speed in a race loaded with closers and maybe, if he’s left alone long enough, he could steal this one.
11. Sacred Life: In four U.S. starts for Chad Brown, he’s never been worse than second. He had a rough trip when second last time out to Next Shares in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 2 Seabiscuit at Del Mar and was probably best in that race. His European background should help with the no Lasix rule, but the likelihood of a wide trip from post 11 diminishes his chances.
12. Magic Wand: This 5YO mare is a world traveller for famed European trainer Aidan O’Brien is another race favourite.
13. Tusk is an also-eligible.
Race Info: Distance : 1 1⁄8 miles (9 furlongs), Surface: Turf, Track: Left-handed, Qualification: Four-Years-Old & Up,Weight: Assigned,Purse: $1,000,000 (2020)