Knicks Go, Colonel Liam lead 2021 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Series odds


Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Knicks Go is the early favorite at 5-2 for the $3 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, Jan. 23 (NBC, 4:30-6 p.m. ET). He is trained by Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer finalist Brad Cox and will be ridden by Joel Rosario, a finalist for the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey.

The 2019 Travers Stakes winner Code of Honor, who was most recently second in the Clark Stakes (G1), is on Knicks Go’s heels at 9-2. Danny Gargan’s Tax comes in at 5-1 after finishing 9th in the 2020 Pegasus World Cup. Trainer Dale Romans fields two horses in the dirt race: the 15-1 Coastal Defense and 30-1 longshot Mr Freeze, who finished second in last year’s edition.

Todd Pletcher’s Colonel Liam (7-2) leads the turf field. This will be his first graded stakes race after making his first start less than a year ago. Irad Ortiz Jr., another Eclipse finalist, has the ride.

Neither of last year’s winners (Mucho Gusto on the dirt and Zulu Alpha on the turf) will make a run at a title defense, with Mucho Gusto retired and Zulu Alpha out with an ongoing ankle injury.

The Pegasus World Cup runs 1 1/8 miles on the dirt, and the Pegasus World Cup Turf runs 1 3/16 miles on the turf.

Since 2020, the two races run entirely medication free, including Lasix, a commonly used anti-bleeding medication. This year, the winner of the Pegasus World Cup will receive automatic entry into the $20 million Saudi Cup. Both races are for horses aged 4 years and older and are invitation-only.

Related: How to watch 2021 Pegasus World Cup

$3 million Pegasus World Cup post positions and odds:

  1. Sleepy Eyes Todd (8-1),
    Trainer: Miguel Angel Silva
    Jockey: Jose Ortiz
  2. Coastal Defense (15-1)
    Trainer: Dale Romans
    Jockey: Corey Lanerie
  3. Independence Hall (20-1)
    Trainer: Mike McCarthy
    Jockey: Flavien Prat
  4. Knicks Go (5-2)
    Trainer: Brad Cox
    Jockey: Joel Rosario
  5. Jesus’ Team (8-1)
    Trainer: Jose Francisco D’Angelo
    Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.
  6. Kiss Today Goodbye (10-1)
    Trainer: Eric Kruljac
    Jockey: Mike Smith
  7. Tax (5-1)
    Trainer: Danny Gargan
    Jockey: Luis Saez
  8. Harpers First Ride (10-1)
    Trainer: Claudio Gonzalez
    Jockey: Angel Cruz
  9. Last Judgment (20-1)
    Trainer: Mike Maker
    Jockey: Paco Lopez
  10. Code of Honor (9-2)
    Trainer: Shug McGaughey
    Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione
  11. Mr Freeze (30-1)
    Trainer: Dale Romans
    Jockey: John Velazquez
  12. Math Wizard (20-1)
    Trainer: Saffie Joseph Jr.
    Jockey: Edgard Zayas

$1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf post positions and odds:

  1. Next Shares (20-1)
    Trainer: Richard Baltas
    Jockey: Drayden Van Dyke
  2. Breaking the Rules (10-1)
    Trainer: Shug McGaughey
    Jockey: John Velazquez
  3. Storm the Court (12-1)
    Trainer: Peter Eurton
    Jockey: Julien Leparoux
  4. North Dakota (10-1)
    Trainer: Shug McGaughey
    Jockey: Jose Ortiz
  5. Colonel Liam (7-2)
    Trainer: Todd Pletcher
    Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.
  6. Largent (9-2)
    Trainer: Todd Pletcher
    Jockey: Paco Lopez
  7. Aquaphobia (20-1)
    Trainer: Mike Maker
    Jockey: Joe Bravo
  8. Anothertwistafate (5-1)
    Trainer: Peter Miller
    Jockey: Joel Rosario
  9. Cross Border (15-1)
    Trainer: Mike Maker
    Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione
  10. Pixelate (15-1)
    Trainer: Michael Stidham
    Jockey: Edgard Zayas
  11. Say the Word (6-1)
    Trainer: Philip D’Amato
    Jockey: Flavien Prat
  12. Social Paranoia (8-1)
    Trainer: Todd Pletcher
    Jockey: Luis Saez

Watch the 2021 Pegasus World Cup on Saturday, Jan. 23 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. ET on NBC, and the NBC Sports app. 

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.