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Pegasus Field Takes Flight

by Jeremy Plonk

January 2, 2018

Now that we’ve finished all the cookies and the last bars of Auld Lang Syne, the first major destination for 2018 will be January 27 and the $16 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park. Last year’s showstopper featured California Chrome and Arrogate. With less than 4 weeks until racing’s version of the mega millions jackpot, the lineup is taking shape as each of the dozen $1 million starting spots solidifies.

Here’s the cast as it stands:

  • Gun Runner, last out winner of the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic, who blazed 6 furlongs Sunday morning at Fair Grounds in 1:10-3/5;
  • Collected, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up and winner of the G1 Pacific Classic;
  • West Coast, the 2017 Travers winner and Breeders’ Cup Classic third-place finisher.
  • Stellar Wind, multiple G1 winner and past Eclipse Award winner, now in the care of Chad Brown for the Coolmore group;
  • Seeking the Soul, hero of the G1 Clark Handicap on Thanksgiving Weekend;
  • War Story, the 6-year-old winner of the G2 Brooklyn and most recently fourth in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic;
  • Gunnevera, G2 winner of the 2017 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream;
  • Toast Of New York, now age 7 but in 2014 the runner-up in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic, making his second start since coming out of retirement and stud duty;
  • Giant Expectations, winner of the G2 San Antonio, whose name was added to the list over the weekend and will run for The Stronach Group;

An additional three slots will be filled out in the coming weeks, and indications are one of those may be via super miler Sharp Azteca, who would add a phenomenal pace element to the Pegasus World Cup.

Arrogate won last year’s inaugural PWC off a layoff from the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the longest such inactivity of any horse in the field. Interestingly, Bob Baffert has gone two ways with his ’18 Pegasus hopefuls – taking the Arrogate route with West Coast, but opting to run Collected in last week’s G2 San Antonio, in which he ran a disappointing prep.

Be sure to check out the final workouts in the coming weeks for all the contenders at XBTV.com. I will be particularly interested to see how West Coast, my pick to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic, concludes his preparations at Santa Anita before coming east.