Pegasus World Cup: Odds, Top Picks by Expert Handicapper Who’s Nailed 6 Straight Races

Pegasus World Cup Picks

This weekend, fans from around the world will make their way to South Florida for The Pegasus World Cup. The 5th edition of the Pegasus World Cup is set for Saturday, Jan. 23rd, 2021, at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida.

This year’s purse share is $4 million dollars for the Pegasus World Cup Invitational and Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational.

Pegasus World Cup Favorites, Top Picks

Knicks Go 6/5 +120
Tax 7/2 +350
Code Of Honor 5/1 +500
Sleepy Eyes Todd 10/1 +1000

Pegasus World Cup Top Pick: Knicks Go

Front-runner made a big splash late in his 2-year-old season, taking the 2018 Breeders’ Futurity at 70-1 odds before running second at 40-1 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He lost eight in a row and was 2-for-14 lifetime before joining trainer Brad Cox last year and getting back his mojo, going 3-for-3 by an average margin of seven lengths.

He was bet down to 9-5 before dominating the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile by 3 1/2 lengths in a Keeneland-record 1:33.85 while being geared down. Cox said he was surprised Knicks Go went off at that low a price, but his bettors couldn’t have been smarter. He’ll be favored in the Pegasus, where the defection of Bob Baffert’s Charlatan left Knicks Go as the controlling speed.

On paper, he looks tough to go against for a trainer who won a record-tying four races on Breeders’ Cup weekend.

Knicks Go ended up in the Dirt Mile following a 10 1/4-length runaway off a 7 1/2-month layoff.

“If I told you when we ran in that allowance race that we were pointing for the Dirt Mile, I’d have been lying to you,” Cox said. “This all happened quick.”

Almost as quick as Knicks Go, who should be very tough to catch in the Pegasus.

Trainer: Brad Cox

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Owner: Korea Racing Authority

Age: 5

Career record: 17-5-3-1

Career earnings: $1,348,995

Top Equibase speed figure: 120

Pedigree: Paynter-Kosmo’s Buddy, by Outflanker

Pegasus World Cup Top Pick: Tax

He was bred by venerable Claiborne Farm, the undisputed all-time leader in clever names. This gelding got his through a play off his dam’s, Toll. Not many Claiborne products end up in maiden claimers as 2-year-olds, but that’s where trainer Danny Gargan grabbed Tax for $50,000 out of a race he won at Keeneland in October 2018.

Gargan has been unusually successful with claims, and this was one of his best. Six weeks later, Tax ran third in the Grade 2 Remsen at Aqueduct. The next winter, Tax was on the Triple Crown trail, and he had a solid season. Although he struggled in the marquee races — 14th in the Kentucky Derby, fourth in the Belmont, seventh in the Travers — he won the Withers and Jim Dandy and ran second in the Wood Memorial.

He’ll be trying to improve upon his ninth-place finish behind Mucho Gusto in last year’s Pegasus. He prepped for it impressively at Gulfstream on Dec. 12, when he missed the track record for 1 1/16 miles by .18 of a second in a 4 1/2-length romp in the ungraded Harlan’s Holiday Stakes. He led throughout, so maybe he can put a little pressure on front-runner Knicks Go in the Pegasus.

“We were just saving him for the next time,” jockey Luis Saez said.

Nine furlongs is Tax’s best distance, so consider him a contender with an outside shot.

Trainer: Danny Gargan

Jockey: Luis Saez

Owner: Hugh Lynch, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, R.A. Hill Stable

Age: 5

Career record: 13-4-3-1

Career earnings: $957,060

Top Equibase speed figure: 115

Pedigree: Arch-Toll, by Giant’s Causeway

RELATED: 2021 Pegasus World Cup: Knicks Go

Pegasus World Cup Top Pick: Code of Honor

Comes in on a four-race losing streak after an underachieving, 1-for-5 season as a 4-year-old. The win came against unimpressive opponents in the Grade 3 Westchester. That he’s one of the marquee horses in the Pegasus tells you all you need to know about an uninspiring field. A race with a $3 million purse should have attracted superstars, not a second-tier group.

RELATED: 2021 Pegasus World Cup Entries: Kiss Today Goodbye

Code of Honor burned plenty of money finishing second in the Clark and the Kelso, fourth in the Whitney and third in the Met Mile. Much more was expected of him last season after he won the Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup (via DQ) and ran second in the Kentucky Derby (via DQ). Traffic trouble and lack of pace were somewhat to blame for his slump at 4, but he hasn’t been himself since he ran seventh in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Before the Clark, trainer Shug McGaughey said, “I think the two turns and the mile and an eighth probably suit him better than the mile in the Kelso did.” He’ll get his preferred 9 furlongs in the Pegasus, where he’ll probably be an underlay. Certainly could win if he can finally work out a trip and recapture his 3-year-old form.

Trainer: Shug McGaughey

Jockey: John Velazquez

Owner: Will Farish

Age: 5

Career record: 15-6-4-2

Career earnings: $2,644,320

Top Equibase speed figure: 115

Pedigree: Noble Mission-Reunited, by Dixie Union

RELATED: 2021 Pegasus World Cup Entries: Independence Hall

Pegasus World Cup Top Pick: Sleepy Eyes Todd

This 5-year-old gray is an iron horse. The model of consistency has won eight of 15 starts at 11 different tracks across the country at distances from 6 ½ furlongs to 1 ½ miles on dirt and on turf. He always shows up and enters fresh from a half-length score over G1 winners Firenze Fire and Mind Control in the Mr. Prospector (G3) on Dec. 19. But that race was a 7-furlong sprint. He has been victorious in a graded stakes at 1 1/8 miles, winning last year’s Charles Town Classic (G2) on the front end all the way by a record 7 ½ lengths, but that track is a 6-furlong oval.

Following his impressive win at Charles Town, his connections took him to Santa Anita and stepped him up into the Awesome Again (G1), where he had a tough day against multiple G1 winners Maximum Security and Improbable, the odds-on favorite to win the Eclipse Award as the Older Dirt Male, finishing fifth, 12 ½ lengths behind. Sleepy Eyes Todd must prove he can achieve success at the top level, but his triple digit speed figures in the last six and nine of his last 11, plus his victory over this track against previous G1 winners, signal it would be wise to factor him into the exotics.

Trainer: Miguel Angel Silva

Jockey: TBD

Owners: Thumbs Up Racing LLC (David and Brenda Cobb)

Age: 5

Career record: 15 8-2-0

Career earnings: $744,825

Top Equibase speed figure: 119

Pedigree: Paddy O’Prado- Pledge Mom, by Wild Rush

Pegasus World Cup Contenders

Code of Honor
Shug McGaughey
W.S. Farish
Harpers First Ride
Claudio A. Gonzalez
MCA Racing Stable LLc
Jesus’ Team
Jose D’Angelo
Grupo 7C Racing Stable
Kiss Today Goodbye
J. Eric Kruljac
John Sondereker
Knicks Go
Brad Cox
Korea Racing Authority
Mr Freeze
Dale Romans
Jim Bakke, Gerald Isbister
Sleepy Eyes Todd
Miguel Angel Silva
Thumbs Up Racing, LLC
Danny Gargan
R.A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch
True Timber
Jack Sisterson
Calumet Farm
Math Wizard
Saffie Joseph Jr.
John Fanelli, Khalid Mishref, Cash is King LLC, LC Racing LLC, Collarmele Vitelli Stables LLC, Ioannis, Zouas, Bassett Stables
Independence Hall
Michael W. McCarthy
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Twin Creeks Racing Stables, LLC, Verratti, Kathleen and Verratti, Robert N.
Coastal Defense
Dale Romans
Albaugh Family Stables LLC and Helen K. Groves Revocable Trust
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