Some serious purse money and prestige are on the line on Pegasus World Cup day at Gulfstream Park this Saturday.
Gulfstream Race 11 (Post time: 4:51 p.m. Eastern)
The Grade I, $7,000,000 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational
1 3/16th-miles on turf
The inaugural Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, formerly the Gulfstream Park Turf, drew a contentious field of 10.
#7 BRICKS AND MORTAR (5-1) has run just once since Oct. 2017, winning a high-level allowance over this course in December. He was well-regarded at three, winning two stakes and placing in another pair. Chad Brown seems to have spotted BRICKS AND MORTAR ambitiously, but the works are strong and the son of Giant’s Causeway has back class. BRICKS AND MORTAR and Irad Ortiz Jr. will team up once more. They should get a ground-saving trip from mid-pack.
#9 CATAPULT (7-2) was last seen running second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Prior to that start he swept the Grade II Eddie Read and Grade II Del Mar Mile. John Sadler, who entered ACCELERATE in the Pegasus World Cup, names Joel Rosario to ride. The speed figures put CATAPULT squarely in the hunt.
#2 YOSHIDA (5-2, morning-line favorite) was primarily a turf horse before switching to dirt for his last two starts of 2018. He won the Grade I Woodward at Saratoga before finishing a respectable fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. YOSHIDA has multiple stakes victories on turf, including the Grade I Turf Classic at Churchill Downs last May. Jose Ortiz will be aboard.
The play: $3 exacta box 2/7/9, $2 win 7 ($20)
Gulfstream Race 12 (Post time: 5:36 p.m. Eastern)
The Grade I, $9,000,000 Pegasus World Cup
1 1/8-miles on dirt
The Pegasus World Cup drew a field of 12, though most of the attention will deservedly go toward ACCELERATE and CITY OF LIGHT.
#3 CITY OF LIGHT (5-2) is more than capable of posting the minor upset. He was last seen setting a quick pace in victory in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. CITY OF LIGHT was the last to beat ACCELERATE when they met in April’s 1 1/8-mile Oaklawn Handicap. CITY OF LIGHT is not a “need the lead” type, so expect him to sit behind the pace set by #12 PATTERNRECOGNITION. Javier Castellano will have to ensure that he doesn’t go too fast early so he has enough to fend off ACCELERATE in the lane. CITY OF LIGHT recorded a bullet tune-up work over this course.
#5 ACCELERATE (9-5, morning-line favorite) won six stakes in 2018, including the Breeders’ Cup Classic, with his only loss coming to CITY OF LIGHT. He frequently runs speed figures good enough to win a race like the Pegasus World Cup, and he’s training well going into this. Joel Rosario has the call.
#8 GUNNEVERA (8-1) and #1 BRAVAZO (12-1) will be rolling from far back in the Pegasus. The former didn’t win a stakes race last year but was a game second in both the Woodward and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. GUNNEVERA has Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard.
BRAVAZO has dropped nine straight dating back to February’s Risen Star but placed in five Grade Is in 2018. Gulfstream’s leading jockey, Luis Saez, will be in the irons.
The play: $5 trifecta 3,5/3,5/1,8 ($20)