Pegasus World Cup: Maximum Security, Omaha Beach, McKinzie Top List of 17 Invitees

By Richard Rosenblatt

McKinzie.
Photo by: Zoe Metz

The invites are official, but the field for the $3 million Pegasus World Cup is a long way from being determined, with top contenders such as Maximum Security and McKinzie doubtful starters.

The Stronach Group sent out a list of 17 invitees Sunday for the fourth running of the 1 1/8-mile race at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 25, which has a maximum field of 12. Five horses are on a reserve invitees list. The post-position draw is Jan. 22.

Omaha Beach, winner of the Malibu Stakes (G1) is his last start, arrived in South Florida from California on Dec. 31 to train up to the Pegasus Cup, and will likely be the favorite. The 4-year-old colt has come on strong after missing the Triple Crown races with a throat ailment, winning two Grade 1’s and finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1).

The connections of Maximum Security and McKinzie have given every indication they plan to bypass the Pegasus Cup in favor of the new $20 million Saudi Cup on Feb. 29.

Maximum Security - Photo by Gulfstream Park

Maximum Security – Photo by Gulfstream Park

Maximum Security, undefeated in four starts at Gulfstream, finished first in the Kentucky Derby (G1) but was DQ’d to 17th for interference. Upon his return after missing the Preakness (G1) and Belmont Stakes (G1), the colt ran second on the Pegasus, then won the Haskell Invitational (G1), the Bold Ruler (G3) and the Cigar Mile (G1). The day it was announced the purse of the Pegasus was being reduced to $3 million from $9 million, owner Gary West said Maximum Security was unlikely to run, and would be looking to the Saudi Cup.

Hall of Famer Bob Baffert also said both McKinzie – winner of the Whitney (G1) — and Mucho Gusto would likely bypass the Pegasus Cup.

Magic Wand was invited to both the World Cup and $1 million World Cup Turf Invitational. Trained by Aidan O’Brien, Magic Wand was second in the inaugural World Cup Turf and comes to Florida off a second-place finish in the Hong Kong Cup (G1).

 

The invitations, in alphabetical order (horse, owner, trainer)
Horse Owner Trainer
Gift Box Hronis Racing John Sadler
Higher Power Hronis Racing John Sadler
Magic Wand Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier, Mr. M.J. Jooste Aidan O’Brien
Math Wizard John Fanelli, Khalid Mishref, Cash Is King, LC Racing, Collarmele Vitelli Stables, Ioannis Zoumas, Bassett Stables Michael Maker
Maximum Security Gary and Mary West Jason Servis
McKinzie Karl Watson, Michael Pegram, Paul Weitman Bob Baffert
Mr Freeze Jim Bakke, Gerald Isbister Dale Romans
Omaha Beach Fox Hill Farms Richard Mandella
Roadster Speedway Stable Bob Baffert
Seeking the Soul Charles Fipke Dallas Stewart
Spun to Run Robert Donaldson Juan Carlos Guerrero
Tax R.A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch, Corms Racing Stable Danny Gargan

 

Reserve invitees in order of preference
Horse Owner Trainer
Mucho Gusto Michael Lund Petersen Bob Baffert
War Story Imaginary Stables, Glenn K. Ellis Elizabeth Dobles
Bravazo Calumet Farm D. Wayne Lukas
Diamond Oops Diamon 100 Racing Club, Amy E. Dunne, D P Racing, Patrick Biancone Racing Patrick Biancone
True Timber Calumet Farm Kiaran McLaughlin
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