Pegasus World Cup Turf 2023: Odds and analysis

Pegasus World Cup Turf 2023: Odds and analysis
Photo: Benoit Photo

A full field of 12 was drawn for Saturday’s $1 million, Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational at Gulfstream Park, and Ivar was named the 5-2 morning-line favorite.

The Pegasus Turf was first run in 2019, when Bricks and Mortar was the winner for Chad Brown as the 2.80-1 second choice. Zulu Alpha won in 2020 for Michael Maker as an 11-1 shot, and Colonel Liam was victorious the last two years for Todd Pletcher as the favorite both times at 5-2 in 2021 and 9-5 last year.

Here is a full-field analysis for the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus World Cup Turf with the official track morning-line odds. The Turf is scheduled as race 12 of 13 with post-time set for 4:40 p.m. EST.

Wit (8-1 – Practical Joke – Todd Pletcher / Jose Ortiz – 10: 4-3-2 - $603,000) Wit moved from dirt racing to the turf in August at Saratoga and had four top-three finishes since. He was second in the Hall of Fame (G2) at the Spa and in the Bryan Station (G3) at Keeneland. Wit won a restricted stakes in August and most recently rallied to finish third in the Hollywood Derby (G1) beaten by less than a length. This 4-year-old will make his first start against older horses. Good on dirt and now turf.

Good Governance (15-1 – Kingman– Anna Meah / Shaun Bridgmohan – 10: 4-2-1 - $266,180) Good Governance was fourth after rallying from 10th in the recent Fort Lauderdale (G2) at Gulfstream, which served as local prep for the Pegasus Turf. The 7-year-old has only 10 career starts with three wins in allowance races. The five starts in 2022 were the most he made in any year since he was a debut winner in 2019 at Saratoga. Toss.

3. Atone (12-1 – Into Mischief – Mike Maker / Irad Ortiz Jr. – 22: 6-4-4 - $621,146) Since a front-end allowance victory at Aqueduct in November, Atone has been training at Gulfstream Park, where he had three five-furlong bullet workouts. The Timeform US pace projector expects Atone to be on the lead in this field. Atone was fourth in the Pegasus Turf last year and then had a trio of top-three finishes in graded stakes. The 6-year-old has five allowance wins at four tracks but is not a stakes winner. Live long shot.

4. Hurricane Dream (15-1 – Hurricane Cat – Graham Motion / Frankie Dettori – 18: 6-4-1 - $187,505) Hurricane Dream will make her American debut in the Pegasus for Graham Motion after making 16 starts in Europe, most of them in France. In June the 6-year-old was second in a Group 3 stake at Longchamp going 10 furlongs. He had two other top-three finishes in a Group 2 and 3 at Saint Cloud this year. The nine-furlong distance of the Pegasus will not be a problem for Hurricane Dream. Motion does not usually win with his European imports first time out. Use underneath.

5. One More Bid (20-1 – California Chrome – Ryan Hansen / Mike Smith – 9: 2-4-1 - $234,640) This son of California Chrome ships east from Santa Anita having won his last two starts. One More Bid broke his maiden in his eighth try and then stepped up to win the Mathis Mile (G2) with a stalking trip. He will have to run a furlong longer than any start in his career thus far and face Grade 1 competition. Toss.

6. Lady Speightspeare (6-1 – Speightstown – Roger Attfield / Luis Saez – 13: 7-1-3 - $761,145) Lady Speightspeare is the only female in the field, and she is making the first start of her career against males. Last seen she finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at 32-1. Before that she won three graded stakes in a row at Woodbine, with two on the Tapeta and one on the grass. Under the guidance of Hall of Fame trainer Roger Attfield, she also won the first four starts of her career. Her more recent races were stalking the pace, but she raced closer to the lead in the beginning of her career. Win contender.

7. Speaking Scout (8-1 – Mr Speaker – Graham Motion / Paco Lopez – 14: 4-4-0 - $500,668) Speaking Scout ships back to Graham Motion after a late-running victory in the Hollywood Derby (G1) at Del Mar in December. As a 4-year-old, he will have to face older horses for the first time in his career. His two most recent wins were at the nine-furlong distance, so he should be running down the stretch. Top choice.

8. Who’s the Star (20-1 – Tonalist – Mark Casse / Emma-Jayne Wilson – 17: 7-1-2 - $375,940) Who’s the Star ships from Woodbine, where he won his last three starts in graded stakes on the synthetic surface. He won his first two starts on the turf in Canada in an allowance and the Niagara Stakes, rallying from last both times. An eighth-place finish in the Turf Cup (G2) at Kentucky Downs kept him from having won six races in a row. To no surprise, the pace projector has him in last early in the race. Regular rider Emma-Jayne Wilson travels to stay on board for trainer Mark Casse. Use underneath.

9. Decorated Invader (20-1 – Declaration of War – Christophe Clement / Junior Alvarado – 16: 6-4-1 - $617,823) Decorated Invader was second in the Fort Lauderdale (G2) at Gulfstream behind his stablemate City Man. The 6-year-old won the Summer (G1), Pennine Ridge (G2) and Hall of Fame (G2) earlier in his career. Most of his starts were at a mile distance, but he ran well at nine furlongs in his last start and at Saratoga. Decorated Invader ran well on yielding, good and fast grass courses. Live long shot.

10. Ivar (5-2 – Agnes Gold – Paulo Lobo / Javier Castellano – 15: 6-2-2 - $1,400,303) The 7-year-old Ivar is the 5-2 morning-line favorite based on his Grade 1-heavy resume. His last three starts were in the Grade 1 races with a fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile and a pair of seconds in the Turf Mile at Keeneland and the Woodbine Mile. That was Ivar’s third run in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, and each time he ended up with fourth-place finishes. He is a past Grade 1 winner who typically uses a closing move. Ivar primarily runs the mile distance and shows only one start going 1 1/8 miles. Win contender.

11. Master Piece (10-1 – Mastercraftsman – Saffie Joseph Jr. / Tyler Gaffalione – 20: 6-3-1 - $454,412) This 7-year-old began his career in South America and then came to America in 2021 where he raced primarily in graded stakes. His first four American starts were in the east for Chad Brown and then he raced on the West Coast five times where he won the Eddie Read (G2) in July at Del Mar. In the west, he was trained by Michael McCarthy. Master Piece was eighth in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf. He now will run for Saffie Joseph in the Pegasus. Win contender.

12. City Man (4-1 – Mucho Macho Man – Christophe Clement / Joel Rosario – 26: 9-5-3 - $987,120) This 6-year-old New York-bred is just shy of millionaire status after 26 starts and comes to the Pegasus Turf with three wins in a row - on Dec. 31 in the Fort Lauderdale at Gulfstream and twice against state-breds. That stalking win in the local prep race for the Pegasus earned City Man status as the 4-1 second choice in the morning line. Despite his draw in post position 12, the pace projector has City Man mid-pack in the early going. The one to beat.

Also eligible

King Cause (Creative Cause – Mike Maker / Florent Geroux – 34: 8-4-7 - $603,228)

Steady On (Pioneerof the Mile – Todd Pletcher / Irad Ortiz Jr. – 5: 2-2-0 - $156,050)

Summary: The top two choices in the morning line, Ivar and City Man, drew to the far outside in this competitive 12-horse field, and they will have to deal with that obstacle to win the Pegasus Turf.

The 6-year-old City Man is in the best form of his career, but he has never been a horse who dominates races that he wins, even in New York-bred stakes. Can he be expected to win a fourth race in a row from post position 12?

Ivar has big speed figures and consistent results against Grade 1 competition all over the country. However, Ivar is a miler who has only one start going the Pegasus distance, and he will race from post position 10.

These two favorites are vulnerable, so the betting strategy will be to play the trifecta with generously priced horses such as Atone, Lady Speightspeare, Speaking Scout, Master Piece and Decorated Invader – keying top choice Speaking Scout and Lady Speightspeare.

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