Everyone has been looking forward to the showdown between Knicks Go and Life Is Good in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. Even though the two most likely winners are short-priced, there are ways to approach the race with value in mind.
This post will cover the late Pick 4 ending in the Pegasus World Cup and offer exacta and trifecta backwheels for the featured race.
Gulfstream Race 9: Pegasus World Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G3)
This is a spread race.
The 6-year-old mare Regal Glory is the best horse entered and deserves the most respect.
She won the Matriarch Stakes (G1) by 2 1/2 lengths at Del Mar last November after securing an uncontested lead through a slow pace. Even though her last win came in pacesetting fashion, Regal Glory can also stalk or close, as seen by her runner-up finish in the First Lady Stakes (G1) at Keeneland and her closing win in the De La Rose Stakes at Saratoga.
If Regal Glory tries for pacesetting tactics again, she faces a tougher task with speed types Shifty She, Lady Speightspeare and Sweet Melania present.
Regal Glory can try to settle in a stalking or mid-pack position, but traffic is always a concern. It makes sense to explore value options, especially when the Fred W. Hooper Stakes (G3) and Pegasus World Cup appear chalky.
Assuming the pace heats up, Gift List, Alms, Summer in Saratoga, In a Hurry and Bipartisanship are capable of taking advantage from behind.
Also consider Wakanaka, who makes her North America debut for trainer Bill Mott after racing in Italy for her first eight starts. If Mott is debuting this filly in a graded stakes race right off the bat, he must see talent in her.
Top selection: No. 4 Regal Glory (2-1)
Contenders: No. 2 Wakanaka (12-1), No. 5 Gift List (15-1), No. 6 Alms 20-1), No. 8 Summer in Saratoga (12-1), No. 10 In a Hurry (12-1), No. 11 Bipartisanship (20-1)
Pick 4: 2,4,5,6,8,10,11 / 8 / 2,3,5,6,9,10,12 / 1,4
On a 50-cent ticket, the total is $49.
Gulfstream Race 10: Fred W. Hooper Stakes (G3)
The future is bright for Speaker’s Corner, who enters this race after a 6 3/4-length win in a Belmont optional claiming race last October and a close second by half a length to Miles D in the Discovery Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct.
Earlier in the 2021 season, Miles D ran third in the Travers Stakes (G1) against some of the best 3-year-olds in only his fourth career start.
Speaker’s Corner now cuts back to one mile, which he is supposed to enjoy considering he broke his maiden and won a Saratoga allowance race at seven furlongs.
Without getting caught up in numbers, Speaker's Corner also owns the best TimeformUS figures in the field.
Expect Speaker’s Corner to overpower this group on the turn and win.
Top selection: No. 8 Speaker’s Corner (2-1)
Gulfstream Race 11: Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1)
Unfortunately, this is another spread race.
Colonel Liam is the best horse and the defending champion, but he enters off a 238-day layoff and shows a bad race before the layoff. Also, he had a prep race before his Pegasus Turf win last year and lacks a prep this time.
Although Colonel Liam can win, consider other horses to use.
Colonel Liam’s stablemate Never Surprised is the next best entrant. He is a newly turned 4-year-old colt who shows sharp form at the end of 2021 through his win in the Gio Ponti Stakes by 6 1/4 lengths in November at Aqueduct and the local Tropical Park Derby by 6 1/4 lengths on the day after Christmas.
Hit the Road, Channel Cat and Field Pass are capable of upsetting the two Todd Pletcher favorites. Last year, Hit the Road won the Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1) and Channel Cat won the Man o' War Stakes (G1) for their campaign highlights, while Field Pass won both the Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup (G3) and Seabiscuit Handicap (G2) for his big wins.
Two bigger long shots to consider are Atone and Flavius.
Atone ran a closing second in the local Fort Lauderdale Stakes (G2) last month, which is forgivable because Doswell was left alone on an uncontested lead.
Flavius lost the Frank E. Kilroe Mile by one length to Hit the Road last March. The highlight of his season came when he won the Lure Stakes at Saratoga in August over a good field, including Tell Your Daddy and Value Proposition.
Top selection: No. 6 Colonel Liam (3-1)
Contender: No. 12 Never Surprised (12-1)
Other contenders: No. 5 Hit the Road (8-1), No. 9 Field Pass (10-1), No. 10 Channel Cat (12-1)
Live long shots: No. 2 Atone (20-1), No. 3 Flavius (15-1)
Gulfstream Race 12: Pegasus World Cup Invitational
Knicks Go enters this race as the Breeders’ Cup Classic champion. He also won last year’s edition of the Pegasus World Cup, as well as the Whitney Stakes (G1) in August to make himself the probable Horse of the Year.
Life Is Good won only one Grade 1, the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. He gave a great visual impression though when dominating by 5 3/4 lengths.
Earlier in the season, Life Is Good lost the H. Allen Jerkens Stakes (G1) by a neck to Jackie’s Warrior. Besides those Grade 1 efforts, he also won the Sham Stakes (G3), San Felipe Stakes (G2) and Kelso Handicap (G2).
Use both Knicks Go and Life Is Good in horizontals.
If the race is played vertically with an exacta or trifecta, the horse underneath Knicks Go and Life Is Good must offer long-shot odds to offset the low prices on the two favorites. Otherwise, there is no point to a vertical wager.
Consider backwheeling Stilleto Boy underneath the two favorites. He has proven his ability to hit the board in Grade 1 races more than once.
In the trifecta backwheel, also add in Chess Chief, Sir Winston and Title Ready along with Knicks Go and Life Is Good in the second slot.
Top selection: No. 4 Life Is Good (7/5)
Contender: No. 1 Knicks Go (6/5)
Live longshot: No. 3 Stilleto Boy (20-1)
Exacta backwheel: 1,4 / 3
Trifecta backwheel: 1,4 / 1,2,4,6,7 / 3