Defending champion Colonel Liam and fellow Grade 1 winners Channel Cat, Hit the Road, Point Me By and Two Emmys are among 18 horses invited to the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) Saturday, Jan. 29 at Gulfstream Park.
Seven graded stakes worth $5.2 million in purses will be offered on Pegasus Day, led by the return of the $3 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) and Pegasus World Cup Turf and the debut of the $500,000 Pegasus Filly & Mare Turf (G3).
All three races are for 4-year-olds and up. The Pegasus World Cup and Pegasus Turf are both contested at 1 1/8 miles while the Pegasus Filly & Mare Turf, previously known as the Marshua’s River, will be run at 1 1/16 miles.
Robert and Lawana Low’s Colonel Liam won the Tropical Park Derby during the 2020-21 Championship Meet as a prelude to his Pegasus Turf victory by a neck over stablemate Largent. Colonel Liam won on to win the Muniz Memorial (G2) and Turf Classic (G1) and was eighth in last June’s Manhattan (G1) in his most recent start.
“We’ve kind of had in mind that our best approach for him to try and defend his Turf title is just to train up to it. He had some time off and he’s a horse that we think will run well fresh,” Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher said. “He’s put enough into his training that hopefully we can have him ready to run a good race off the layoff.”
Largent and Never Surprised are also on the list of Pegasus Turf invitees. Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Twin Creeks Racing Stables’ Largent won the 2020 Fort Lauderdale (G2) as a prep for the Pegasus Turf and went unraced until finishing fourth in the Jan. 8 Tropical Turf (G3) at Gulfstream. Repole Stable’s Never Surprised, placed in three graded-stakes, became a three-time stakes winner with his triumph in Gulfstream’s Tropical Park Derby Dec. 26.
“Never Surprised, we were happy with his race over the course. It’s kind of similar to what Colonel Liam did last year, going from the Tropical Derby to the Pegasus,” Pletcher said.
Trainer Mike Maker won the 2020 Pegasus Turf with Zulu Alpha, and four of his horses are among the invitee list – Atone, Cross Border, Field Pass and Flavius. Three Diamonds Farm owns Atone, runner-up in the Dec. 18 Fort Lauderdale, and multiple graded-stakes winners Cross Border, third in the 2020 Pegasus Turf, and Field Pass. Maker recently added Flavius, a stakes winner in the U.S. and Europe.
Also invited to the Pegasus Turf are Grade 1-winning millionaire Channel Cat; Fort Lauderdale winner Doswell; 2021 Frank Kilroe Mile (G1) winner Hit the Road; two-time Grade 2 winner March to the Arch; 2021 Bruce D. (G1) winner Point Me By; Irish Group 2 winner Space Traveller, fourth in the Fort Lauderdale; 2021 Mr. D. (G1) winner Two Emmys; and Sacred Life, a Grade 3 winner in the U.S. and France trained by Chad Brown, who won the 2019 Pegasus Turf with Bricks and Mortar en route to Horse of the Year honors.
Atone and Space Traveller are joined on the also-eligible list by Bob and Jackie, English Bee, Flavius and Law Professor.