The turf companion to the Pegasus World Cup Stakes on dirt, the Pegasus Turf is open to horses age four and older, and they’ll race 1 3/16 miles on the Gulfstream Park grass.
For the third annual edition of the Pegasus Turf, the race has drawn a competitive field of 12 with no single strong favourite, making for a wide-open betting event.
Since it evolved from the Gulfstream Park Turf Stakes to become the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational Stakes (G1T) in 2019, the race’s two winners went on to rank among the divisional leaders. Bricks and Mortar was voted Horse of the Year after his Pegasus Turf-winning season in 2019, and last year’s winner, Zulu Alpha, is a 2020 Eclipse finalist as older turf male.
- Race: Pegasus World Cup Turf
- Purse: $1 million
- Track: Gulfstream Park
- Date: January 23
- Post Time: 4:59 PM (ET)
On its surface this seems like a wide open edition of the G1 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, but I believe Anothertwistafate (#8) may be a cut above the rest. This horse has always oozed talent. He burst onto the Derby Trail in 2019 on the synthetic track at Golden Gate Fields and had no trouble transitioning to the main track with second-place finishes in the G3 Sunland Derby and G3 Lexington that year, races that also proved he can ship effectively. After a poor run in the G1 Preakness he was off for a long time, but he returned in top form in the latter half of 2020 and has stepped his game up even further since being transferred to Peter Miller.
His last race, a decisive win in the G2 San Gabriel, is really the one I’m keying on when picking this horse. It marked his first start with blinkers and also his first without Lasix, a combination that produced a career-best effort from him. He did get a good trip in that spot, but the conditions of the race almost perfectly mimic what he figures to encounter on Saturday, and if he’s able to reproduce that performance here I don’t know that there’s anyone good enough to beat him.
Todd Pletcher is emptying the barn for the Pegasus World Cup Turf with three runners, all of whom seem to have a good shot. I’d tread lightly with the Pletcher trio as they’re no superstars and liable to be overbet, but my preference is Social Paranoia (#12), who received a lowly 90 Beyer for his last out win. As a result of that number, this is the one Pletcher horse I feel could actually offer some value, and I know he’s capable of much better. It remains to be seen if he’s more of a miler, but he did finish second in the G1 Belmont Derby in 2019 at a mile and a quarter, so I don’t think he’s out of his element here.
Someone who is perfectly at home in races like this is Mike Maker, who sends out Aquaphobia (#7) and Cross Border (#9). These two need to improve off middling recent form, but Maker is lethal in longer turf races and both Aquaphobia and Cross Border have back class. If either were to fire their best shot off a brief freshening, I believe they could potentially upset this field at a big number.
Jules Iavarone, Michael Iavarone, Jerry McClanahan, Ritchie Robershaw, and Mark Taylor
LLC, Susanna Wilson, and Dan Hudock
Hooties Racing LLC and Skychai Racing, LLC
Miriam Lee has always been a horse racing fan thanks to trips to the tracks in her home state of Maryland with her father as kid. She owns an OTTB and is an advocate for promoting the sport among her peers. Miriam studies communication arts at Hood College and will receive her master’s degree in 2021, which she plans to use for a career in screenwriting. Her all-time favorite racehorse is Man O War.