Longshots of interest on 2024 Pegasus World Cup Day

January 27th, 2024

On a deep and competitive Pegasus World Cup Day, chances are that overlooked contenders might jump up to factor at enticing prices. Here are several to consider for your wagering strategies at Gulfstream Park:

Race 6 – La Prevoyante (G3)

#9 Highland Grace (12-1) is worth a look as a well-bred, lightly-raced filly who figures to appreciate a step up to 1 1/2 miles. By American Pharaoh and out of Grade 2 winner Caroline Thomas (herself a daughter of Grade 1 vixen Bit of Whimsy), she hails from a family that trainer Barclay Tagg knows well. Highland Grace is 2-for-2 with Flavien Prat, who rode her to maiden and allowance scores at Belmont Park, and she’s since performed respectably behind Godolphin shipper Eternal Hope in the Jockey Club Oaks (G3) and Sands Point (G2).

Race 8 – William L. McKnight (G3)

#11 Anglophile (12-1) must prove himself against several classy veterans, but if he’s anything like the typical English Channel who improves with maturity, the Brian Lynch trainee can hold his own. Out of a Kitten’s Joy mare from a deep female line, Anglophile blossomed when stretching out to longer distances. He upset Far Bridge, one of last season’s top turf sophomores, in the Dueling Grounds Derby (G3), giving him collateral form with Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) contender Webslinger.  Anglophile’s rattling fourth in the Dec. 23 Tropical Park Derby, over an inadequate 1 1/16 miles, should set him up to give a good account here. John Velazquez rides him back. 

Race 9 – Inside Information (G2)

#8 Gerrymander (8-1) has the back class for Chad Brown, as the 2022 Mother Goose (G2) winner, if she can work out the right trip. The prospect of a torrid pace could help #2 Two Item Saver (12-1) gain valuable black-type for her page. The Charles Fipke homebred has a class question to answer in her stakes debut, but the daughter of 2010 Kentucky Derby (G1) hero Super Saver and multiple Grade 2-winning millionaire Two Item Limit does have a decent closing kick. Two Item Saver’s half-sister, Arena Elvira, is herself a Grade 2 scorer and stakes producer. Junior Alvarado takes the call for Ignacio Correas IV.

Race 10 – Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G2)

#6 Ruby Nell (8-1) is a filly I’ve been more skeptical of than not, so it’s going a bit against the gain for me to entertain her in a spot like this. Yet Richard Mandella does appear to have gotten the $1.2 million Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream sales topper to learn how to deploy her high speed. Cruising on the front end with a maestro in Frankie Dettori, might she last just long enough going 1 1/16 miles on this circuit? Even if she is caught by one of the prime threats, Ruby Nell could enhance the exotics. 

Race 11 – Fred W. Hooper (G3)

Although blueblood #12 Signator (15-1) is still trying to pan out as a $1.7 million OBS April purchase, he has been on an upward curve for Shug McGaughey. If not for a sluggish start in the Queens County S. last out, he probably would have prevailed as the 1.15-1 favorite. Signator was beaten a grand total of a half-length by another long-term project, Crupi, who runs in the Pegasus World Cup (G1). Two of the Tapit colt’s three wins have come around Aqueduct’s similar one-turn mile configuration, and this rather open-looking race shapes up as a sensible place for a stakes breakthrough.

Race 12 – Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1)

I’m eagerly hoping that #3 Integration (3-1) ratifies his status as the next U.S. turf star, but for a longshot play, #10 Shirl’s Speight (15-1) has appeal. The Roger Attfield charge has tried his trip only twice, most recently as a closing fourth in last year’s Dubai Turf (G1). That effort, versus an international cast on World Cup night, implies that he handles it. Arguably the main reason to keep the faith here is the presence of Luis Saez, who last rode him to a runner-up effort at 55-1 in the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). Saez also masterminded Shirl’s Speight’s signature win in that year’s Maker’s Mark Mile (G1).

Race 13 - Pegasus World Cup (G1)

Since one of my fixed ideas is that #8 First Mission (7-2) would have beaten #7 National Treasure (9-5) in last year’s Preakness (G1), if not for his unfortunate scratch, I’m looking forward to testing that hypothesis in the Pegasus. To take a stab, #3 Dynamic One (15-1) could be a sleeper in his second start off the layoff for Todd Pletcher. An alum of the 2021 Derby trail, the son of Union Rags was putting it all together during his four-year-old campaign with scores in the 2022 Suburban (G2) and Blame S. (over Proxy). Dynamic One was sidelined for more than 15 months, and his Dec. 22 comeback showed little as he never got going in fifth. Given his historical pattern of moving forward substantially second time out, however, it wouldn’t be a shock if Dynamic One is finishing fast at big odds. 

Good luck and enjoy Pegasus Day!