Pegasus World Cup invitations announced


The Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series has announced the horses invited to run in the 2020 Pegasus World Cup (G1) and in the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) on Saturday, January 25 at Gulfstream Park.

Maximum Security headlines the list of 12 horses (plus five reserves) invited to run in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup, which runs 1 1/8 miles on the dirt at Gulfstream Park. However, the three-time G1 winner is expected to skip Pegasus in favor of the inaugural $20 million Saudi Cup.

Trained by Jason Servis and owned by Gary and Mary West, Maximum Security crossed the wire first in the 2019 Kentucky Derby but was then disqualified on the track for impeding the forward motion of War of Will. The colt by New Year’s Day won the G1 Florida Derby to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, claimed the G1 Haskell in July and finished out the year with a win in the G1 Cigar Mile Handicap.

Bob Baffert’s 5-year-old McKinzie also received an invitation to the Pegasus World Cup after finishing out 2019 with back-to-back second places in the Awesome Again Stakes (G1) in September and in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) in November. Other invitees include early 2019 Kentucky Derby favorite Omaha Beach, who was scratched from the Derby with an entrapped epiglottis; 2019 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Spun to Run; and Aidan O’Brien’s Ireland-based Magic Wand, who was also invited to the Pegasus World Cup Turf.

Other Turf invitees include Calumet Farm’s Channel Cat, 2019 Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) winner Helney’s Joy and three Chad Brown-trained horses (Instilled Regard, Without Parole and reserve horse Sacred Life). Brown trained last year’s Pegasus World Cup Turf winner Bricks and Mortar. City of Lights won the last year’s Pegasus World Cup.

Last month, the Stronach Group announced that the Pegasus World Cup will run entirely medication free for the first time in its four runnings. This comes as part of a growing effort across the industry to improve standards and safety in horse racing after Santa Anita, also owned by Stronach, saw 37 horses die in less than 12 months. Entry fees were entirely waived, and the purse dropped from $9 million to $3 million. Additionally, 2 percent of the purses, which are put up by Stronach, will go to caring for retired Thoroughbred racehorses.

Full list of invitees for the Pegasus World Cup: 

  • Gift Box, trained by John Sadler and owned by Hronis Racing
  • Higher Power, trained by John Sadler and owned by Hronis Racing
  • Magic Wand (IRE), trained by Aidan O’Brien and owned by Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Mr. M.J. Jooste
  • Math Wizard, trained by Saffie Joseph Jr. and owned by John Fanelli, Khalid Mishref, Cash is King, LC Racing, Collarmele Vitelli Stables, Ioannis Zoumas, and Bassett Stables
  • Maximum Security, trained by Jason Servis and owned by Gary and Mary West
  • McKinzie, trained by Bob Baffert and owned by Karl Watson, Michael E. Pegram, and Paul Weitman
  • Mr Freeze, trained by Dale Romans and owned by Jim Bakke and Gerald Isbister
  • Omaha Beach, trained by Richard Mandella and owned by Fox Hill Farms
  • Roadster, trained by Bob Baffert and owned by Speedway Stable
  • Seeking the Soul, trained by Dallas Stewart and owned by Charles E. Fipke
  • Spun to Run, trained by Juan Carlos Guerrero and owned by Robert P. Donaldson
  • Tax, trained by Danny Gargan and owned by R.A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch, and Corms Racing Stable

Reserve invitees for the Pegasus World Cup: 

  • Mucho Gusto, trained by Bob Baffert and owned by Michael Lund Petersen
  • War Story, trained by Elizabeth Dobles and owned by Imaginary Stables and Glenn K. Ellis
  • Bravazo, trained by D. Wayne Lukas and owned by Calumet Farm
  • Diamond Oops, trained by Patrick Biancone and owned by Diamon 100 Racing Club, Amy E. Dunne, DP Racing, and Patrick L. Biancone Racing
  • True Timber, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and owned by Calumet Farm

Full list of invitees for the Pegasus World Cup Turf: 

  • Arklow, trained by Brad Cox and owned by Donegal Racing, Joseph Bulger, and Peter Coneway
  • Channel Cat, trained by Todd Pletcher and owned by Calumet Farm
  • Magic Wand (IRE), trained by Aidan O’Brien and owned by Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Mr. M.J. Jooste
  • Henley’s Joy, trained by Michael Maker and owned by Bloom Racing Stable
  • Instilled Regard, trained by Chad Brown and owned by OXO Equine
  • Mo Forza, trained by Peter Miller and owned by Bardy Farm and OG Boss
  • Next Shares, trained by Ricard Baltas and owned by Debby Baltas, Richard Baltas, Christopher T. Dunn, Jules Iavarone, Michael Iavarone, Jerry McClanahan, Ritchie Robershaw, and Mark Taylor
  • Sadler’s Joy, trained by Thomas Albertrani and owned by Woodslane Farm
  • Starship Jubilee, trained by Kevin Attard and owned by Blue Heaven Farm
  • United, trained by Richard Mandella and owned by LNJ Foxwoods
  • Without Parole (GB), trained by Chad Brown and owned by John and Tanya Gunther
  • Zulu Alpha, trained by Michael Maker and owned by Michael M. Hui

Reserve invitees for the Pegasus World Cup Turf: 

  • Sacred Life (FRA), trained by Chad Brown and owned by Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, Wonder Stables, Bethlehem Stables
  • Admission Office, trained by Brian Lynch and owned by Amerman Racing
  • A Thread of Blue, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and owned by Leonard C. Green
  • Mr. Misunderstood, trained by Brad Cox and owned by Flurry Racing Stables
  • Lucullan, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and owned by Godolphin

Watch the Pegasus World Cup on NBC, and the NBC Sports app on Saturday, January 25 from 4:30 p.m. ET to 6 p.m. ET.

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.”