Accelerate betting favorite on Pegasus World Cup odds

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Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) champion Accelerate will lead a stellar field in Saturday’s $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park, the richest horse race run in the United States.

The 12-race card at Gulfstream Park includes nine stakes with the co-feature the first running of the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), which is the second richest race to be run in the United States this year.

Accelerate is listed as the +150 betting favorite (wager $100 to win $150) on the Pegasus World Cup odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com for what will be the final race of his career. He will head off to stud duty this spring. Accelerate has won 10 of his 22 career starts and has earned $5,792,480.

The first two editions of the Pegasus World Cup were won by Arrogate and Gun Runner, who were both Breeders’ Cup Classic winners.

Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner City of Light appears to be Accelerate’s biggest threat for Saturday’s race and is the lone runner that defeated him in 2018. City of Light edged Accelerate by a neck in the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) last April but Accelerate got revenge by soundly defeating him when they met next in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) in May.

City of Light is the second choice on the betting lines at +300. His Beyer Speed Figure for his Dirt Mile win was 110 compared to Accelerate’s 105 for his Classic victory.

Gunnevera is next on the betting lines at +800. The Antonio Sano trainee made a good late rally to finish in the runner-up spot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, coming up just a length short of Accelerate. Trained by Antonio Sano, he has won four times over the Gulfstream Park main track and ran third in last year’s Pegasus.

As well, there are several horses in the race with solid credentials that have generous prices. Among those are Bravazo (+1200), who was beaten just a neck in the Clark Handicap (G1) in his last start. The D. Wayne Lukas trainee raced in each of the Triple Crown races last year, the best result a runner-up finish in the Preakness Stakes (G1).

Audible (+1000) will be saddled by trainer Todd Pletcher. The colt won the Florida Derby (G1) last year over the main track at Gulfstream Park. Patternrecognition took the field gate to wire to win the Cigar Mile Handicap (G1), while Seeking the Soul (+1600) was second in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and third in the Clark in his last two starts.

Also, Mexican sensation Kukulkan is perfect in 14 career starts. The legendary jockey Frankie Dettori will ride Kukulkan on Saturday, with the horse a longshot at +6600 on the odds to win the Pegasus World Cup.

Completing the field are Charles Town Classic (G2) winner Something Awesome (+4000), Tenacious Stakes winner Tom’s d’Etat (+4000), Cigar Mile runner up True Timber (+2500) and Imperative, who was a distant ninth in his last start against optional claimers.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Appeals court strikes down federal horseracing rules act

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NEW ORLEANS — Congress unconstitutionally gave too much power to a nonprofit authority it created in 2020 to develop and enforce horseracing rules, a federal appeals court in New Orleans ruled Friday.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, or HISA, is “facially unconstitutional.”

The authority created by the act was meant to bring uniform policies and enforcement to horseracing amid doping scandals and racetrack horse deaths. But the 5th Circuit – in two rulings issued Friday – ruled in favor of opponents of the act in lawsuits brought by horseracing associations and state officials in Texas, Louisiana and West Virginia.

The Federal Trade Commission has the ultimate authority to approve or reject HISA regulations, but it can’t modify them. And the authority can reject proposed modifications.

Three 5th Circuit judges agreed with opponents of the act – including the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and similar groups in multiple states – that the setup gave too much power to the nongovernmental authority and too little to the FTC.

“A cardinal constitutional principle is that federal power can be wielded only by the federal government. Private entities may do so only if they are subordinate to an agency,” Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan wrote for the panel that ruled in the Texas case.

The same panel, which also included judges Carolyn Dineen King and Kurt Engelhardt, cited the Texas ruling in a separate order in favor of horseracing interests and regulators challenging HISA in a different case.

The chair of the horseracing authority’s board of directors said it would ask for further court review. Friday’s ruling could be appealed to the full 5th Circuit court of the Supreme Court.

“If today’s ruling were to stand, it would not go into effect until January 10, 2023 at the earliest,” Charles Scheeler said in an email. “We are focused on continuing our critical work to protect the safety and integrity of Thoroughbred racing, including the launch of HISA’s Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program on January 1, 2023.”

The ruling was criticized by Marty Irby, executive director of the Animal Wellness Action organization. “Over the course of three Congresses, the most brilliant legal minds on Capitol Hill addressed the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act’s constitutionality and ultimately decided that the Federal Trade Commission’s limited oversight was sufficient,” Irby said in an email.

Among the subjects covered by the authority’s rules and enforcement were jockey safety (including a national concussion protocol), the riding crop and how often riders can use it during a race, racetrack accreditation, and the reporting of training and veterinary records.

Animal rights groups, who supported the law, pointed to scandals in the industry involving medication and the treatment of horses.

Duncan wrote that in declaring HISA unconstitutional, “we do not question Congress’s judgment about problems in the horseracing industry. That political call falls outside our lane.”

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, hailed the ruling on Twitter, calling HISA a “federal takeover of Louisiana horse racing.”

Fractional interest in Flightline sells for $4.6 million

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Keeneland says a 2.5% fractional interest in Breeders’ Cup Classic champion Flightline has sold for $4.6 million during a special auction before the start of its November Breeding Stock Sale.

Brookdale Farm’s Freddy Seitz signed the ticket for an undisclosed client, the track announced in a release. The sale comes a day after ownership of the 4-year-old son of Tapit retired the unbeaten colt following his record 8\-length victory in Saturday’s $6 million, Grade 1 Classic at Keeneland. Flightline likely locked up Horse of the Year honors with his fourth Grade 1 victory in six starts by a combined victory margin of 71 lengths – dominance that has drawn comparisons to legendary Triple Crown champion Secretariat.

Flightline will begin his breeding career next year at Lane’s End Farms in Versailles, Kentucky, but a stud fee has yet to be determined. West Point Thoroughbreds, part of the bay colt’s ownership, offered the fractional interest. Seitz said the buyer wanted to “make a big splash” and get more involved in the business.

“With a special horse like (Flightline) all you can do is get involved and then just hope for the best,” Seitz said in the release.

“There has never been a horse that has done what he has done for however many years, back to Secretariat. You just have to pay up and get involved, and this is kind of what he’s thinking.”