This week in racing: Pegasus World Cup undercard probables lead off

January 20, 2020 06:46pm
This week in racing: Pegasus World Cup undercard probables lead off
Photo: Chelsea Durand/NYRA
Saturday’s stakes-laden Pegasus World Cup program at Gulfstream Park -- which features the swan song of Omaha Beach -- and the opening of Oaklawn Park highlights a busy week of racing action.

In addition, Gulfstream Park will offer bettors a guaranteed Rainbow Pick 6 jackpot pool of $4 million when racing resumes on Thursday ahead of a scheduled mandatory payout.

There’s plenty to dig in to, so let’s jump right in...

Gulfstream Park

Nine stakes races are on tap for Saturday. In addition to the six graded events listed below, Gulfstream will also host the $150,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint, $150,000 Ladies Turf Sprint and $150,000 South Beach Stakes.

Entries for the Pegasus program will be taken on Wednesday. Click each race name for a look at probables. 
It’s looking like a full field of 12 will go postward in the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus. Omaha Beach, a finalist for champion 3-year-old of 2019, is expected to go off as a solid favorite in his final career start before entering stud at Spendthrift Farm in Kentucky.

Other major contenders include Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Spun to Run, along with California shippers Mucho Gusto for Bob Baffert and Higher Power for John Sadler.
A full gate is expected in what’s shaping up to be a wide-open betting race. The projected field includes a bevy of high-class turf specialists led by Magic Wand, a globetrotting shipper for trainer Aiden O’Brien; and emerging west coast star Mo Forza, who is a finalist for champion turf horse of 2019.

Trainer Chad Brown has a three under consideration: Sacred Life, Instilled Regard and Without Parole. They could be joined by fellow division stalwarts Channel Cat, Sadler’s Joy and Arklow. 

$200,000 Inside Information (G2)

Of the projected field, Spiced Perfection has the looks of a standout. The Peter Miller trainee is a two-time Grade 1 winner that most recently bounced back from defeat in the Breeders' Cup to win Aqueduct's Go for Wand (G3).

Other notable contenders include Pink Sands, who last month won the Rampart (G3) at Gulfstream for Shug McGaughey; and Blamed, a multiple Grade 3 winner who hasn’t started since winning the Royal Delta Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream last February. 

$200,00 La Prevoyante (G3)

A short field is expected for this 1 ½-mile turf event for older distaffers, according to the Gulfstream racing office. The six-pack of probables includes European shipper Simply Beautiful for O’Brien and graded-stakes placed Kelsey’s Cross for Patrick Biancone. In addition, this race could also feature the return of Lady Paname, who has not started since winning the 2018 Long Island Stakes for Chad Brown. 

$200,000 W.L. McKnight (G3)

This 1 ½-mile turf event for older hoses is expected to feature American Tattoo, who most recently won the 1 ¼-mile Allen Jerkens at Gulfstream; and a pair of Canadian multiple graded-stakes winners in Tiz a Slam and Pumpkin Rumble. 

$150,000 Fred Hooper (G3)

Stakes winner Gray Magician, who competed in last year’s Kentucky Derby, is expected to make his 4-year-old debut in this one-mile event on the main track. Among his projected rivals are veteran graded stakes winner Tale of Silence for Barclay Tagg and lightly raced Olympic Village for Bob Hess Jr. Also expected is Epic Dreamer, who ran in last year’s Holy Bull (G2) and Fountain of Youth (G2) before heading to the sidelines. He returned on Dec. 21 to win a Gulfstream allowance for Kelly Breen. 

Santa Anita Park

Only two stakes are scheduled for this week. In addition to the Palos Verdes (G2) on Saturday, Santa Anita will host the $70,000 Clocker’s Corner for turf sprinters on Sunday. 

$200,000 Palos Verdes (G2) 

This six-furlong event is slated to feature Flagstaff for John Sadler and possibly Speed Pass, a recent maiden winner for Baffert. Flagstaff, who ran third behind Omaha Beach and Shancelot in last year’s Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1), hasn’t started since winning the Damascus on the Breeders’ Cup Saturday undercard.

Oaklawn Park

There are no graded stakes on this week’s schedule, but Friday’s opening day program does feature the Smarty Jones Stakes for 3-year-olds on the 2020 Kentucky Derby trail. On Saturday, Oaklawn will also host the $100,000 Fifth Season for older horse going a mile on the main track, which was split into two divisions; and the $100,000 Pippin Stakes at one mile for fillies and mares.

$150,000 Smarty Jones

A field of nine was drawn for this one-mile, point-paying Kentucky Derby prep. It features a trio of stakes winners in Silver Prospector, who won the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) for trainer Steve Asmussen; Nucky, longshot winner of the Del Mar Futurity (G1); and Shoplifted, who most recently won the Springboard Mile for Asmussen. 

The Smarty Jones will also mark the stakes debuts of well-regarded colts Lynn’s Map and Three Technique. Lynn’s Map was rerouted to this spot after drawing post No. 14 and being scratched from Saturday’s Lecomte Stakes (G3) at Fair Grounds. Three Technique, who has two wins and a pair of seconds in four starts, hasn’t started since winning an optional-claiming race at Aqueduct on Nov. 20 for trainer Jeremiah Engelhart and Bill Parcells’ August Dawn Farm.

Sam Houston Park

Sunday marks the biggest day of the Sam Houston meet with six stakes races, including a pair of Grade 3s for older runners. In addition to the graded stakes listed below, Sam Houston will also host the $200,000 Texas Turf Mile, $100,000 Frontier Utilities Turf Sprint, $75,000 Jersey Lilly Stakes for female routers on the main track, and the $75,000 Stonerside Sprint. 

$300,000 Houston Ladies Classic (G3)

A six-pack of older distaffers are set to go 1 1/16 miles on the main track. This will mark the seasonal debuts of 2018 Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress for Tom Amoss and Grade 1 winner Street Band for trainer Larry Jones. 

Among their rivals are multiple Grade 3 winner Lady Apple and Mylady Curlin, who most recently won the Falls City Handicap (G3) at Churchill Downs for Brad Cox.

$200,000 John B. Connally Turf (G3)

A field of 12 older horses are set to go 1 ½ miles on the turf. Notable entrants include Tracksmith, who most recently won the Woodchopper at Fair Grounds; stakes-winner Dot Matrix, who exits a third in the Red Smith (G3) at Aqueduct; and Grade 3-winner Marzo, who is one of three entered for trainer Mike Maker. 


It’s a rather light stakes schedule in New York this week with only a pair of hundred-granders on tap.

$100,000 Jazil Stakes

This 1 1/8-mile main track event is expected to attract 2019 Belmont Stakes winner Sir Winston for trainer Mark Casse. Sir Winston, who went to the sidelines following his Belmont score, returned on Dec. 28 in the grassy Woodchopper and checked in 12th. He is likely to look much-improved with recency and the return to dirt, but that's only if he's entered after losing a shoe in his most-recent work. Casse termed him "tentative" to start with new glue-on shoes.

Aqueduct will also host the $100,000 Ruthless Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on Sunday. 

Carryover Alert

There will be no shortage of carryovers to chase when racing resumes later this week.

At Gulfstream Park, the Rainbow Pick 6 went without a single-ticket winner for the 38th consecutive day on Sunday. The carryover pool stood at $3,133,994 with Gulfstream officials guaranteeing a pool of $4 million heading into Thursday’s program. A mandatory payout is scheduled for Sunday. The pool is expected to exceed $10 million assuming there are no single ticket winners before then.

At Fair Grounds, the Black Gold Pick 5 will have a carryover of $335,367 for Thursday’s card. Then on Friday, Santa Anita will have a carryover of $600,551 for its Rainbow Pick 6. 


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