The inaugural running of the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) attracted an eclectic group of 10 runners. Three are females, three are geldings and four are horses. Two were born in Japan, one was born in Ireland, one was born in Canada and six were born in America. FREE Pegasus World Cup Invitational PPs courtesy of Brisnet! At 1 3/16 miles, the race will start at the top of the homestretch and have a long run into the clubhouse turn. There should be plenty of time for the field to sort themselves, out so the draw seems inconsequential. I have not been impressed by the domestic turf runners we have so the temptation is to look closer at the international horses. Magic Wand (#1) was a good fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) last out. From post 10 she pressed the pace while wide before weakening late. Prior to the Breeders’ Cup, she won the Ribblesdale Stakes (G2) last June at Royal Ascot when she beat the classy Wild Illusion by four lengths. It turns out that despite a stout pedigree, she was not a 1 1/2-mile filly, so trainer Aidan O’Brien dropped her back to 10 furlongs on Arc Day at ParisLongchamp, where she was beaten a length by Wild Illusion in the Prix de L’Opera (G1). When Gulfstream Park announced in November that there would be a turf race to go along with the Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), Coolmore said that they would support it. At first glance, bigger names might have been expected but Magic Wand, going this distance from rail with only 112 pounds, looks extremely dangerous in here. Aerolithe (#4) is the Japanese representative and the difference is that she has faced, and beaten, male company already. Back in June going a mile, she missed by a neck in blazing-fast time before returning four months later to win a Grade 2 going nine furlongs. She was only beaten three lengths last out in the Mile Championship (G1) and now stretches out a bit in distance. Japanese turf courses are notably firm and running times are extremely fast. In her one start going 1 1/4 miles, Aerolithe was beaten by almost eight lengths but that was on yielding turf. She has won going left-handed, so this race’s circumstances will be familiar to her. Florent Geroux picks up a very lucrative mount. Of the rest, Bricks and Mortar (#7) is an intriguing starter from the powerful Chad Brown barn. As a three-year-old, he was very good winning the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Stakes (G2) and just missing in the Saranac (G3) and Hill Prince (G3). Off for 14 months, he returned at Gulfstream Park with a good win going a mile last month. Since then, he has trained extremely well on the turf at Palm Meadows training center and gets Irad Ortiz Jr. back aboard. One thing that catches my eye is that he is a five-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway. Giant’s Causeway has sired an amazing number of five-year-old graded winners, as his offspring get better with age and Bricks and Mortar fits the bill. Yoshida (#2) is a Grade 1 winner on dirt and turf. He has been pointed to this race by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott and has shown he can win on the front end, from way off the pace, on firm going and on yielding going. Jose Ortiz gets the mount back. Next Shares (#5) won the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland in October but hated the turf condition in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), finishing 13th. He returned to win three weeks ago at Santa Anita against Grade 2 foes and fits with these on his best day. Fahan Mura (#6) is the other female in the group but, more importantly, she looks to be the lone speed. I’m not sure if she can get the distance but I don’t see anyone in here challenging her early. If jockey Edwin Maldonado can slow the pace down enough, she could have a nice lead turning for home. WAGERING STRATEGY It will be interesting to see where the betting money goes in here. Magic Wand is 9-2 on the morning line and I would sign up for that price if available. I will key her to win and try to protect her with exactas and some trifectas. Win: #1 Exacta: #4, #7 with #1 Trifecta: #1 and #4 with all with all PHOTO: Magic Wand will try to earn her first win since Royal Ascot in the inaugural Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park on January 26, 2019 (c) Adam Coglianese Photography/Lauren King