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

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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, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. 

Pegasus races planned for Gulfstream and Santa Anita in 2024

Horse racing on Opening day of the winter-spring meet at Santa Anita Park.
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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – After seven Pegasus World Cup events, it’s evidently time for change.

1/ST Racing, which has hosted the entirety of the Pegasus series to this point at Gulfstream Park, is planning for two Pegasus days in 2024 – one at Gulfstream and the other at Santa Anita. Details aren’t finalized and it’s unclear how it would fit in the racing calendar, but 1/ST is planning for both dirt and turf Pegasus races as part of the Santa Anita program.

Gulfstream played host to the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational on the dirt Saturday, along with the $1 million Pegasus Turf and the $500,000 Pegasus Filly and Mare Turf.

“I’d really love to see that we bring it to the West Coast,” 1/ST President and CEO Belinda Stronach said. “That will probably happen in 2024. What we did this year for 2023 was said, `OK, we have a number of great race days, let’s coordinate those better and call it the 1/ST Racing Tour and recognize great achievements within our own footprint.”

Saturday marked the first stop on that new 1/ST Racing Tour. Along with some of the biggest race days at 1/ST tracks – like Florida Derby day at Gulfstream on April 1, Santa Anita Derby day on April 8 and the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 20 – there are a pair of days where the tour will be running simultaneously.

This coming Saturday, Gulfstream will play host to the Holy Bull while Santa Anita has the Robert B. Lewis – both of them Kentucky Derby prep races.

And on March 4, Gulfstream has the Fountain of Youth, another major Derby prep, while San Anita has the Big Cap. Plans call for coordinated post times at those two tracks on those days to provide the best racing action every 20 minutes, as well as some unique betting options.

“We can never rest on our laurels,” Stronach said. “We have to keep moving forward. We have a great team that’s really committed.”

The main Pegasus race is one of the biggest-paying races in North America. Art Collector claimed about $1.8 million from a $3 million purse with his win on Saturday. In 2022, only the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic and $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf featured bigger prizes among U.S. races, and the $3 million Pegasus purse is equal to the one offered last year at the Kentucky Derby.

Regardless of what happens with the Santa Anita plan for future Pegasus events, Stronach insisted Gulfstream will continue having Pegasus days. There has even been talk about Gulfstream playing host to Breeders’ Cup races again, something that hasn’t happened since 1999.

“This is staying here in Miami,” Stronach said. “Pegasus has a home here in Miami. We can’t move Pegasus from Miami. We have great partners here and it’s more than just a day now. We have deep roots here in Miami.”

Arabian Knight earns Baffert record 6th win in Southwest

Betway Challow Hurdle Day - Newbury Racecourse
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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Arabian Knight won the $750,000 Southwest Stakes by 5 1/2 lengths at Oaklawn, giving Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert his record sixth victory in the race.

The colt came into the Kentucky Derby prep as one of the most highly touted 3-year-olds in the country. Arabian Knight, who was purchased for $2.3 million as a 2-year-old, was making his second career start and first on a sloppy track in front of 27,000 fans in Arkansas.

“These good horses are hard to come by,” said Baffert, who was on hand in Hot Springs. “We’ve had a lot of luck here at Oaklawn, so it was nice to have a horse like this.”

However, Arabian Knight was ineligible to earn the Kentucky Derby qualifying points awarded to the winner because Baffert has been suspended for two years by Churchill Downs Inc. The penalty, which ends shortly after this year’s Derby on May 6, stems from Medina Spirit’s medication violation after the colt won the 2021 Derby and was later disqualified. Baffert is challenging the ban in court.

Ridden by John Velazquez, Arabian Knight ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:43.50 and paid $2.80 to win. He is 2-0 and has career earnings of $544,275.

“He ran 1:43 and change, that’s racehorse time and he did it without taking a deep breath,” Baffert said. “This was a big effort.”

Red Route One closed from last to finish second, and Frosted Departure was third. Sun Thunder was fourth, followed by Jace’s Road, Corona Bolt, El Tomate and Western Ghent.

At Gulfstream in Florida, Baffert’s entry Defunded finished second in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup, beaten by 4 1/2 lengths by Art Collector on Saturday.