In the days leading up to the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida, usracing.com is publishing profiles of the horses in the race set for Saturday, Jan. 29. The profiles will be updated with morning-line odds and post positions following the draw on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. ET.
By Ray Wallin
The upset winner of the 2019 Belmont Stakes, Sir Winston finds himself in the best form of his career as he starts his 6-year-old campaign.
While beaten Belmont favorite Tacitus got some revenge the following year in the Suburban, this son of Awesome Again looks to dial back the distance to try to win at 1 1 /8 miles.
Sir Winston finally gets his shot at the Pegasus after an injury to his left ankle in 2019 derailed trainer Mark Casse’s plans for him. His return to the races as a prep in the Woodchopper Stakes at the Fair Grounds resulted in a last place finish in a field of 12.
Casse shipped him down to Palm Meadows where he has been working forwardly after finishing his 2021 campaign on a high note at Woodbine with a win in the Valedictory at 1 ½ miles.
“He’s been training well. His breeze this morning was very good,” Casse said after Sir Winston worked 5 furlongs in 1:02.30 last week.
While four of Sir Winston’s six career wins have come over an all-weather surface at Woodbine, the other two victories tell a different story. Besides the 1 1/2-mile win in the Belmont, he notched a gutsy closing win in an allowance optional claiming race at Aqueduct going a one-turn mile.
Sir Winston’s apparent preference for the synthetic surface doesn’t deter Casse. “He’s a pretty good horse. If he can have the same type of form on dirt that he does on the synthetic, he’ll be a force.”
Betting advice: The best opportunity for Sir Winston is if Knicks Go and Life Is Good lock up in a duel on the front end. He is better suited for longer distances but is in the best form of his career. Expect him to be a factor late and don’t dismiss him on the bottom of your exotic wagers.
Post position: 6
Jockey: Edwin Gonzalez
Trainer: Mark Casse
Owner: Tracy Farmer
Career record: 19-6-4-1
Career earnings: $1,189,873
Top Equibase speed figure: 109
Pedigree: Awesome Again-La Gran Bailadora, by Afleet Alex
Running style: Presser/stalker
Notes: Sir Winston has gotten better with age. He has finished first or second in his last four starts, including a win in the Grade 3 Valedictory at Woodbine after a year off. He looks to build off four straight races with an Equibase speed figure over 100.
Ray Wallin is a licensed civil engineer and part-time handicapper who has had a presence on the Web since 2000 for various sports and horse racing websites and through his personal blog. Introduced to the sport over the course of a misspent teenage summer at Monmouth Park by his Uncle Dutch, a professional gambler, he quickly fell in love with racing and has been handicapping for over 25 years.
Ray’s background in engineering, along with his meticulous nature and fascination with numbers, parlay into his ability to analyze data; keep records; notice emerging trends; and find new handicapping angles and figures. While specializing in thoroughbred racing, Ray also handicaps harness racing, Quarter Horse racing, baseball, football, hockey, and has been rumored to have calculated the speed and pace ratings on two squirrels running through his backyard.
Ray likes focusing on pace and angle plays while finding the middle ground between the art and science of handicapping. When he is not crunching numbers, Ray enjoys spending time with his family, cheering on his alma mater (Rutgers University), fishing, and playing golf.
Ray’s blog, which focuses on his quest to make it to the NHC Finals while trying to improve his handicapping abilities can be found at www.jerseycapper.blogspot.com Ray can also be found on Twitter (@rayw76) and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.