In the days leading up to the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida, usracing.com will profile the horses in the race set for Jan. 23. The profiles will be updated on Jan. 20 with morning-line odds, post positions and jockeys.
By Ed McNamara
If this weak edition of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational deserved to be a Grade 1, $3 million race, Coastal Defense wouldn’t belong in it. He’s a 5-year-old who’s 2-for-9 lifetime and finished fourth in his last two races, the Clark and Fayette Stakes.
In his defense, he missed by only about two lengths in the Clark and by about a length in the Fayette, and Dale Romans’ horses often outrun their odds in big races. He’s been close to Pegasus entrants Mr Freeze (also trained by Romans) and Code of Honor, who’ll be one of the top three choices. Coastal Defense even finished one spot ahead of Mr Freeze in the Clark. So that data may tempt longshot players.
His late move was too little, too late in the Clark, when the chart footnote says he was “unprepared for the start.” If he runs a similar race in the Pegasus, fourth would be his ceiling. I won’t be playing him.
Post position: TBD
Trainer: Dale Romans
Jockey: Joe Talamo
Owner: Albaugh Family Stables, Helen K. Groves Revocable Trust
Career record: 9-2-2-0
Career earnings: $155,266
Top Equibase speed figure: 108
Pedigree: Curlin-Trensa, by Giant’s Causeway
Running style: Closer
Notes: Romans ran a distant second with Mr Freeze in last year’s Pegasus, and he’s never afraid to take a shot. Remember his deep closer Keen Ice’s upset of Triple Crown hero American Pharoah in the 2015 Travers? … Coastal Defense breezed 4 furlongs in a quick 47.11 seconds Jan. 16 at Gulfstream … Coastal Defense didn’t debut until he was 4. “He was hurt as a 2-year-old and as a 3-year-old,” Romans said. “But we always knew he was a good horse, and he started to come around at the end of the year.”
Ed McNamara is an award-winning journalist who has been writing about thoroughbred racing for 35 years. He has handicapped races for ESPN.com, Newsday and The Record of New Jersey. He is the author of “Cajun Racing: From the Bush Tracks to the Triple Crown” and co-author of “The Most Glorious Crown,” a chronicle of the first 12 Triple Crown champions.