The seventh Pegasus World Cup Invitational, with a purse of $3 million, caps a Saturday card that includes seven graded stakes races at Gulfstream Park in Florida.
Arkansas Derby and Haskell Invitational winner Cyberknife was tabbed the morning-line favorite at 5-2 in the horse racing odds. Trainer Brad Cox’s colt is expected to face 11 challengers, including speedster Defunded and improving Proxy in the 13th race at 5:40 p.m. ET.
The $500,000 Grade III Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf Invitational is the 11th race at 4:06 ET, followed by the $1 million Grade I Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational at 4:40 ET. The 12th and 13th races will be live on NBC.
The Kentucky Derby trail also continues with the $750,000 Grade III Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas on Saturday at 5:57 ET.
Let’s check the latest Horse Racing news, stats, injury reports, and Horse Racing lines for Pegasus World Cup. We’ve got plenty of Horse Racing picks for you to consider.
Pace Makes Race in Pegasus
Cyberknife breaks from 10 posts and has shown the ability to close into fast paces, but he can also stay with the leaders and needs all his skills to run down Defunded.
Defunded, who gets a big jockey change to Irad Ortiz Jr., has been off since Nov. 27 when he won the Grade III Native Diver Stakes at Del Mar. Trainer Bob Baffert’s colt will likely go for the lead and be accompanied by Charles Town Classic winner Art Collector, along with perhaps California invader Stilleto Boy from the 11-hole.
The question is whether Defunded can run everyone off their feet or be challenged enough to tire. Stalkers Cyberknife and 9-2 Proxy, who won the Grade I Clark Handicap on Nov. 25 at Churchill, likely get the first run. Skippylongstocking, who recently won the Grade III Harlan’s Holiday at Gulfstream, won’t be too far behind, and don’t count out White Abarrio (4-for-4 at Gulfstream).
Defunded may offer value at 6-1 ML in the racebook but is up against it in the large field at 1⅛ miles, and Cyberknife looks primed after a strong workout on Jan. 21. The pick is for jockey Florent Geroux to get Cyberknife home and edge Skippylongstocking if you are betting online,
Bet 10 with 7 with 1,2,4,5 in the trifecta.
Outside Horses Key Turf
With two-time defending champion Colonel Liam retired to stud, you can make a case for at least 8 of 12 in the 1⅛-mile Pegasus World Cup Turf.
Brazilian Ivar is the morning line favorite at 5-2 from the 10 posts, but the colt has not won a Grade 1 since 2020. Trainer Christophe Clement sends out City Man (4-1 ML) after three consecutive victories, including the Grade II Ft. Lauderdale at Gulfstream on Dec. 31.
City Man has enough speed to get over from the outside post (12) and, if Master Piece (10-1 ML) avoids being pushed too wide from No. 11, he could be a factor. Atone and No. 6 Lady Speightspeare key the speed horses and No. 1 Wit has also perked up since trainer Todd Pletcher put him on the grass. The bet is City Man makes it four straight.
Go 12 on top of 1,6, 10, and 11 in exactas.
Favorites Can Be Beat
Trainer Chad Brown’s Shantisara is the morning-line favorite at 9-5 from the outside (9) and German Dalika is the likely frontrunner at 5-2 from the 2 holes in the 1 1/16 mile Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
Dalika won the Grade I Beverly D winner at Arlington Park last summer and Shantisara hopes to find the form that led to a win in the Grade I Queen Elizabeth II at Keeneland in October 2021. But there is more value.
Lady Rockstar is second off a layoff for trainer Brendan Walsh and could be ready for her biggest win, trainer Michael McCarthy brings Queen Goddess in from California off three straight strong outings and Wakanaka beat both Dalika and Shantisara in November.
The bet is to put Queen Goddess on top with the other four mentioned underneath in a trifecta.
Bet 6 w 2,3,7,9 w 2,3,7,9.
Arabian Knight Gets Test
Speedy Arabian Knight is the even-money favorite in the 1 1/16-mile Southwest Stakes for 3-year-olds as Baffert goes after his record-extending 19th win in the Oaklawn Park’s series of Kentucky Derby preps.
John Velasquez pilots Arabian Knight, who should face a challenge from three of Brad Cox’s top trainees and another from Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen after winning by 7¼ lengths at 7 furlongs in his only race on Nov. 5 at Keeneland.
“He’s doing really well right now, sometimes you have to trust your quarterback that he can throw the long ball,” Baffert told the Paulick report. “I think his athleticism, sometimes, makes up for a lot of it. If you’re going to stretch them out, let’s run him with some nice horses and see how he can handle adversity.”
Corona Bolt (6-1 ML) is 2 for 2, Jace’s Road (4-1) won impressively at 1 1/16 miles at Fairgrounds on Dec. 26 and Hit Show moves up after a strong win in an optional claiming race at Oaklawn last month for Cox. Asmussen’s Red Route One provides the best value at 10-1 after a close fourth in the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill in November.
The pick is that Jace’s Road catches Arabian Knight (6) and Red Route One (7) close to getting a share.
Bet trifecta 3 w 6,7 w 6,7