Both OMAHA BEACH (swelling in right hind leg) and SPUN TO RUN (hives) are out of the $3 million dollar Pegasus World Cup on Saturday at Gulfstream Park. That pretty much makes this a wide open affair for the remaining 10 horses.
Here then a Daily Racing Blog closer look at the field:
1. TRUE TIMBER (15-1) Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin. Jockey: Joe Bravo. Third in three straight Graded races in New York — two of them while chasing MAXIMUM SECURITY — he’s seeking a first Stakes Win and doesn’t figure to get it here. He ran evenly to be 7th in last year’s Pegasus. Expect a similar effort Saturday.
2. TAX (8-1) Trainer: Danny Gargan. Jockey: Jose Ortiz. This gelding ran a sneaky-good second at Aqueduct in the Discovery Stakes (G3), producing big numbers in that November 30th contest. There’s a case to be made that he’s improving. The two scratches seems to make it significantly easier for the front-running type to hang around at a price.
3. DIAMOND OOPS (15-1) Trainer: Patrick Biancone. Jockey: Julien Leparoux. There is no doubt this gelding loves Gulfstream Park with a 5-for-6 record locally, but what about the distance? He stumbled at the break of his prior two-turn dirt try in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. He will likely garner some support at the window and go off well below his Morning Line odds.
6. HIGHER POWER (6-1) Trainer: John Sadler. Jockey: Flavien Prat. Since breaking out for new connections in the Pacific Classic (G1), he earned a pair of 3rd place finishes in Grade 1 company in California. If HIGHER POWER can get away cleanly and repeat that Del Mar effort, he has a chance at the top spot.
7. WAR STORY (30-1) Trainer: Elizabeth Dobles. Jockey: Joel Rosario. Just when you think this guy’s done, he delivers a Winning performance in the Harlan’s Holiday (G3) and is on to the Pegasus — for a 3rd — in a new barn. The 8-year-old no longer looks like a plodder, but rather a mid-pack runner who could get an earlier run on to the board. Could easily hang on for a piece.
10. MUCHO GUSTO (9-2) Trainer: Bob Baffert. Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr. He tailed off when 4th in the Oklahoma Derby (G3) last September but earned a pair of Grade 1 second place finishes previously in the Haskell (G1) and Travers (G1). He’s in position to be controlling speed on the outside. But will MUCHO GUSTO have the right amount of stamina off the layoff?
11. TENFOLD (30-1) Trainer: Steve Asmussen. Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione. This horse jumps up once in a while to deliver big efforts, such as his Wins in the 2018 Jim Dandy (G2) and 2019 Pimlico Special (G3). But it’s over eight months since he’s hit the board. Works haven’t been especially sharp for this spot, either.
12. BODEXPRESS (30-1) Trainer: Gustavo Delgado. Jockey: Emisael Jaramillo. He has Won twice since bolting the gate at the Preakness Stakes. His antics at the gate may have cost him again in the local Pegasus prep, the Harlan’s Holiday (G3). Although we probably haven’t seen his best, he needs to work on the mental side of the game down. He has speed, and he’ll need it on a short run to the first turn.
This race becomes a very interesting betting proposition with the defection of the two Morning Line favorites. DRB expects #6 HIGHER POWER and #10 MUCHO GUSTO to assume the betting favorites role. And while we expect those two to be in the mix, they will offer no Value on the top portion of a ticket.
For Value we Like #2 TAX, #7 WAR STORY, and #8 MR FREEZE. We prefer the #2 best of the three and will key him over the others mentioned here along with the #3 DIAMOND OOPS.
So the play is a Trifecta key using the #2 with 3–6–7–8–10. If the 2 gets bet down to where it won’t offer Value we’ll just swap it with either the 7 or 8, possibly both. We’ll also do an Exacta Box using the 2–7–8, and Win bets on any of the above at 4-1 or better.