What to know about the 2020 Pegasus World Cup


With new rules and a ton of money at stake, the 2020 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Series at Gulfstream Park will be an unprecedented multi-million dollar Grade 1 race series. The $1 million and $3 million prizes draw some of the top horses from across the country and around the globe.

What is the Pegasus World Cup? The Pegasus World Cup Invitational Series is a series of two invite-only Grade 1 races held annually at Gulfstream Park since 2017 (originally only offering a dirt race before adding the turf division last year). The $3 million Pegasus World Cup runs 1 1/8 miles on the dirt, and the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf runs 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Both races are for horses aged 4 years and older and are invitation-only. Last week, Gulfstream Park announced their preliminary list of invitees and reserve horses, and then adjusted the list after Maximum Security (the only horse in Kentucky Derby history to be disqualified on the track after finishing first) and several other horses declined their invitations.

This year, the Stronach Group, which owns Gulfstream Park and heads the Pegasus World Cup, announced major changes to the series. Both races will be run entirely medication free, as part of an industry-wide push for more safety and transparency in horse racing.

Additionally, all entry fees will be waived as purses drop. Entry fees for the Pegasus have peaked as high as $1 million in past years. The Pegasus World Cup’s purse was dropped from $9 million in 2019 to $3 million this year, and the Pegasus World Cup Turf also saw a $6 million purse decrease from $7 million to $1 million. The Stronach Group also announced that 2 percent of the purses will be donated to caring for retired Thoroughbreds ready to be retrained and rehomed.

When and where is the Pegasus World Cup? The 2020 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Series will take place on Saturday, January 25 at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida from 4:30 to 6 p.m. ET.

How can I watch the 2020 Pegasus World Cup? NBC is home to the 2020 Pegasus World Cup, providing comprehensive race coverage and analysis live on TV, in the NBC Sports app and on NBCSports.com before, during and after the two headlining races. Stream the Pegasus World Cup here.

Horses to watch:  

  • Bob Baffert’s Mucho Gusto finished 4th in the G3 Oklahoma Derby in September during his last time out. Over the summer he took third to Code of Honor in the Travers (G1) and finished second behind Maximum Security in the G1 Haskell. His last victory came on June 16 in the Affirmed Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita.
  • Higher Power finally hit his stride when he won the $1 million Pacific Classic (G1) back in August at Del Mar. He managed to salvage a third place finish in the Awesome Again Stakes (G1) in September after a bad stumble at the beginning of the race, and most recently took third again, this time in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 2.
  • Last year’s Pegasus World Cup runner up Seeking the Soul gets a third shot on the Gulfstream dirt. Now 7 years old, he will look to bounce back after a disappointing few months of graded losses. Seeking the Soul hasn’t won a race since the G2 Stephen Foster Stakes last June.
  • One year after finishing second in the inaugural Pegasus World Cup Turf, Aidan O’Brien’s Ireland-bred mare Magic Wand stands out as the only horse invited to both races (though she is more likely to run in the turf race). The globe-trotting 5-year-old closed out 2019 with a G1 win in Australia and a G1 win in Hong Kong.
  • Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding Trainer Chad Brown fields four horses on the turf: versatile distance runner Arklow, dirt-to-turf convert Instilled Regard, French-bred Sacred Life and Without Parole (GB), who will be running in his second career start on this side of the pond.
  • Turf youngster Mo Forza is on a roll after winning all three races he’s run since breaking his maiden. The 4-year-old son of Uncle Mo notably took the G1 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar in November.

Who won the 2910 Pegasus World Cup races? City of Light claimed the $9 million dirt race in his last career start before being retired to stud at Lane’s End. Horse of the Year finalist Bricks and Mortar, the Chad Brown-trained son of Giant’s Causeway, won the $3 million turf race. His undefeated 2019 campaign saw five Grade 1 wins in six starts, including the Arlington Million (G1) and the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).

What else is going on at the 2020 Pegasus World Cup? For those looking for some tunes to go with their ponies, Gulfstream is bringing Nelly and T-Pain trackside to perform in their premium LIV Stretch Village. Past performers have included Snoop Dogg, Post Malone and Ludacris.

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

Forte works out, waits for Belmont Stakes clearance

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NEW YORK — Forte, the early Kentucky Derby favorite who was scratched on the day of the race, worked out in preparation for a possible start in the Belmont Stakes on June 10.

Under regular rider Irad Ortiz Jr., Forte worked five-eighths of a mile for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher. It was the colt’s second workout since being scratched from the Derby on May 6.

“It seems like he’s maintained his fitness level,” Pletcher said. “It seems like everything is in good order.”

Forte was placed on a mandatory 14-day veterinary list after being scratched from the Derby because of a bruised right front foot. In order to be removed from the list, the colt had to work in front of a state veterinarian and give a blood sample afterward, the results of which take five days.

“There’s protocols in place and we had to adhere to those and we’re happy that everything went smoothly,” Pletcher said. “We felt confident the horse was in good order or we wouldn’t have been out there twice in the last six days, but you still want to make sure everything went smoothly and we’re happy everything did go well.”

Pletcher said Kingsbarns, who finished 14th in the Kentucky Derby, will miss the Belmont. The colt is showing signs of colic, although he is fine, the trainer said.

Another Pletcher-trained horse, Prove Worthy, is under consideration for the Belmont. He also has Tapit Trice, who finished seventh in the Derby, being pointed toward the Belmont.

Judge grants Churchill Downs’ request for summary judgment to dismiss Bob Baffert’s lawsuit

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A federal judge has granted Churchill Downs’ motion for summary judgment that dismisses Bob Baffert’s claim the track breached due process by suspending the Hall of Fame trainer for two years.

Churchill Downs Inc. suspended Baffert in June 2021 after his now-deceased colt, Medina Spirit, failed a postrace drug test after crossing the finish line first in the 147th Kentucky Derby. The trainer’s request to lift the discipline was denied in February, keeping him out of the Derby for a second consecutive May.

U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings ruled in a 12-page opinion issued Wednesday that Churchill Downs’ suspension of Baffert did not devalue his Kentucky trainer’s license. It cited his purse winnings exceeding $1 million at Keeneland in Lexington and stated that his argument “amounts to a false analogy that distorts caselaw.”

Jennings denied CDI’s motion to stay discovery as moot.

The decision comes less than a week after Baffert-trained colt National Treasure won the Preakness in his first Triple Crown race in two years. His record eighth win in the second jewel of the Triple Crown came hours after another of his horses, Havnameltdown, was euthanized following an injury at Pimlico.

Churchill Downs said in a statement that it was pleased with the court’s favorable ruling as in Baffert’s other cases.

It added, “While he may choose to file baseless appeals, this completes the seemingly endless, arduous and unnecessary litigation proceedings instigated by Mr. Baffert.”

Baffert’s suspension is scheduled to end on June 2, but the track’s release noted its right to extend it “and will communicate our decision” at its conclusion.