New to the United States racing calendar is the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup. It began as a unique invitational horse race that offered $12 million to the field, based on buy-ins from horse owners. The winner was awarded $7 million, the highest amount for any horse race in the world.
There are plenty of Pegasus World Cup odds available for the bettors when the race comes around, but for now, the World Cup will wait until 2022. The odds were checked on April 23, 2021:
Knicks Go is the winner of the 2021 Pegasus World Cup! 🐎 pic.twitter.com/HgYbSTJ2qq
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) January 23, 2021
Now the 1 1/8-mile race on the dirt track at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida, is worth $3 million, with a sister race, the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1), worth $1 million. The races are run on the last Saturday in January on a card that features six other stakes or handicap races worth over $1 million in purses combined.
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Pegasus World Cup Picks
When picking the winner in the Pegasus World Cup, it helps to look at the odds of horses that lay close to the pace early. Of the four winners, all of them were second or third early behind the pacesetters. The winners have all had low odds to date, with the highest Pegasus World Cup payout being $8.80 and the lowest being $3.80.
Horses who finish in the top three spots tend to offer more value. In 2017, Shaman Ghost finished second at 19 – 1, and Neolithic was third at 23 – 1. That trifecta - with favored Arrogate on top – paid $104.00 on a $1 ticket.
In 2018, 13 – 1 Gunnevera finished third, with 74 – 1 Fear the Cowboy fourth. That superfecta, topped by favored Gun Runner, paid $114.27, while the trifecta only paid $55.50.
In 2019, 34 – 1 Seeking the Soul ran second after being bumped at the start and favored Accelerate finished third. It was the first time the favorite did not win the Pegasus. The $1 exacta paid $41.10, a good price.
In 2020, 7 – 1 Mr Freeze and 15 – 1 War Story finished second and third. Winner Mucho Gusto was the 3 – 1-second choice, so the payoffs were higher with a $222.40 trifecta and a $334.98 superfecta.
Picking the Pegasus World Cup favorites requires looking at their form for the year before since the race comes in January. A lot of horses are exiting races like the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), or Malibu Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park. Other good races to look at are the Cigar Mile (G1) and the Clark Handicap (G2). The Triple Crown has not been a good indicator of Pegasus World Cup success, as it has so far gone to four horses who did not win any Triple Crown race.
Pegasus World Cup Results
Inaugural Pegasus World Cup winner Arrogate is widely considered one of the best horses of all time. He won the Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga by 13 ½ lengths in record time in just his fifth career start. He then took the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) in a battle over the great California Chrome. He faced that rival again in the Pegasus, winning by almost five lengths. California Chrome finished ninth. The Bob Baffert-trained Arrogate went on to win the Dubai World Cup (G1) at Meydan Racecourse and retired with $17.4 million in earnings.
Gun Runner won the second Pegasus World Cup and paid $4.20 to win. He defeated Grade 1 winners West Coast, Stellar Wind, Collected, and Sharp Azteca in the win, which came after he won the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Del Mar. Gun Runner won five Grade 1 races in a row, including the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs, and the Whitney and the Woodward at Saratoga. The son of Candy Ride was trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Florent Geroux.
City of Light won the third Pegasus World Cup. He paid $5.80 when defeating Seeking the Soul and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Accelerate for the win. City of Light sat just behind pacesetter Patternrecognition, then ran away to win by nearly six lengths under Javier Castellano. Michael McCarthy trained the son of Quality Road, who won the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in his race before the Pegasus World Cup. He had odds of 9-5.
The 2020 Pegasus World Cup was won by Mucho Gusto after heavy race favorite Omaha Beach was forced to withdraw from the race. Mucho Gusto was the second choice after Grade 1 winner Higher Power and paid $8.80 to win. Like Arrogate, Bob Baffert trained Mucho Gusto. The race also included top older horses Tenfold, Seeking the Soul, and War Story, as well as younger Tax and Bodexpress.
The 2021 Pegasus World Cup will be run at Gulfstream Park in January.
Pegasus World Cup Turf Odds
The Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational used to be known as the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap through 2018. It has only been the Pegasus World Cup Turf since 2019, and originally had a purse of $7 million. It was reduced to $1 million for 2020. Before its name change, the race was won by horses like Point of Entry, Heart to Heart, Get Stormy, and twice by Einstein.
The 2019 Horse of the Year Bricks and Mortar started his banner year in the Pegasus World Cup Turf. He won by 2 ½ lengths and paid $7.60. He was not favored; Yoshida (Jpn) was favored, but Bricks and Mortar never again raced without being the favorite.
Zulu Alpha won the 2020 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational and paid $25.60 to win on a $2 ticket. He was 11 – 1 in the race, over 3 – 1 Magic Wand from Ireland. 10 – 1 Instilled Regard finished third. The trifecta paid $420.40.
Pegasus World Cup Turf Lineup
2019 Pegasus World Cup Turf winner Bricks and Mortar will one day be a Hall of Famer. The son of Giant’s Causeway earned $7 million, winning just one listed stakes race and one Grade 2 event in 2017 before the Chad Brown-trainee returned to the races late 2018 and kicked off a seven-race winning streak.
In 2019, Bricks and Mortar and Irad Ortiz, Jr. won five Grade 1 races. They started in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, winning by 2 ½ lengths. He then added the Old Forester Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs, the Manhattan Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park, the Arlington Million (G1) at Arlington Park, and the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Santa Anita.
Zulu Alpha has earned $2 million. The Mike Maker-trainee by Street Cry was fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf after winning the Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) in September 2019. He was 11-1 when he defeated Magic Wand in the Pegasus World Cup Turf under jockey Tyler Gaffalione. The Pegasus World Cup Turf favorite was Without Parole, who finished second to last.
Pegasus World Cup Horse Race
The Pegasus World Cup started as a buy-in race where 12 horse owners paid $1 million each to race for a $12 million purse. Owners would then receive not only purse money, but a cut of the food, beverage, ticket sales, and betting profits on the day. Owners could buy into the race even without a horse, and figure out purchasing a horse later. That format only lasted one year.
The Pegasus World Cup was the richest race in the world for one running, then the Dubai World Cup moved its purse to $12 million to match it. They were both eclipsed by the Saudi Cup in 2020, a $20 million race. Now the Pegasus World Cup is only worth $3 million.
It used to be known as the Donn Handicap (G1), a race won by horses like Cigar, Formal Gold, Skip Away, Invasor, Deputy Minister, Foolish Pleasure, and Forego. It was won in 2015 by Constitution, who has become one of the best stallions in the world. He is the sire of 2020 Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law. Another top sire, Quality Road, won the race in 2010 and went on to sire Pegasus World Cup winner City of Light. The Pegasus World Cup/Donn Handicap has been run at 1 1/8-miles since it began in 1959.
Pegasus World Cup Betting
The original Pegasus World Cup handle in 2017 was $40.2 million. It was Gulfstream Park’s all-time record handle. The actual Pegasus World Cup itself handled $15.6 million in wagers.
The Pegasus World Cup bets in 2018 fell short due to terrible rainy weather; total wagering only topped $37 million. That number held true in 2019, and in 2020 handle went back to $41.8 million. The all-time handle record at Gulfstream Park is $41.9 million.
The Pegasus World Cup day offers traditional win, place, and show wagering, as well as exacta, trifecta, and superfecta wagering. The betting menu for the day also includes the Daily Double, Rainbow Pick 6, and Pick 4 wagering.