Happy Pegasus Day!

Today marks the first big race day of 2023. The Gulfstream card has seven graded stakes with the Pegasus Turf and Pegasus World Cup headlining the day.

While the 2023 Pegasus field lacks a superstar, it sports a competitive field where a solid case can be made for a half dozen entrants. It’s just an old fashioned good betting race – with a $3 million purse.

The Pegasus Turf features a similarly competitive field that was expected to include two time defending champion Colonel Liam – but he was recently retired with an ankle issue.

Race 12 – The Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational Stakes – Grade I

One Mile and a Furlong on the Turf for Four Year Olds and Up

1. Wit: After switching to the turf this Pletcher trainee had a nice summer at the Spa with a second in the Hall of Fame and a win in the restricted Better Talk Now Stakes. Was a close up third in the Hollywood Derby in October behind Speaking Scout. Nice colt but takes on older horses for the first time as a newly minted four year old and the speed figs are lacking. Don’t think so.

2. Good Governance: Moved from the Chad Brown barn to Anna Meah before the Ft. Lauderdale where he was a decent fourth after being spun wide. Will need to move forward again off that effort to compete here. Unlikely.

3. Atone: Interesting Mike Maker entrant attracts Irad here and comes off a 100 Beyer winning effort in N3X company at the Big A last November. Has been firing bullets in the morning over the Gulfstream main track in preparation for this. Should be the pace setter – come and catch me. Could get loose. Finished fourth in this race last year. The Pick.

4. Hurricane Dream: Graham Motion picks up the training of this French bred gelding whose last win was fifteen months and eight starts ago. Reunites with Frankie Dettori. Trainer Stat: Motion is 14% with first time foreign shippers but the $2 ROI is only $0.63. Not today.

5. One More Bid: While it took eight races to break his maiden he improved significantly once he was put on the turf going two turns. Stalk and pounce type has two consecutive narrow wins. Might help set the pace. Looking elsewhere.

6. Lady Speightspeare: Five year old mare tries the boys off an excellent third place performance in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at 32-1. The 103 Beyer that day was a career top, and she will need to repeat it to compete here. Needs to be on or very close to the pace and that doesn’t seem likely here. Up against it.

7. Speaking Scout: The second Graham Motion trained entry comes in off a win in the Hollywood Derby (90 Beyer). He will need to significantly improve to compete here, and that 90 Beyer was a career best. But he is a closer who keeps coming all the way to the wire. Underneath player.

8. Who’s The Star: Mark Casse enters this Tonalist colt off three straight wins on the synth at Woodbine. However, this gelding has been a much lesser horse on the grass with speed figs that are not competitive here. Hard to see.

9. Decorated Invader: Did not begin his 2022 campaign until September but showed improvement through the four races he ran highlighted by a good second in the Ft. Lauderdale (97 Beyer) where he had clear run at City Man but couldn’t reel him in. Draws a bit better today. Potential upset candidate.

10. Ivar: Morning line favorite who has three triple digit Beyers in a row but was unable to finish off any of those races. A true miler who has won at a mile and sixteenth draws outside some very good ones with a short run to the first turn. His best win was in the Shadwell Turf over two years ago. Doesn’t face any monsters her today – but he will be a underlay and draws poorly. Play against.

11. Master Piece: Three for three at the nine furlong distance as this one moves from Mike McCarthy to Saffie Joseph. Late runner appears a step below the best here, but he can be competitive if he can work a trip from the outside post. Underneath in exotics.

12. City Man: NY bred has been a consistent performer for the Clement barn and last out was excellent in winning the Ft. Lauderdale with a 99 Beyer. However the twelve hole is very tough, although he does possess the tactical speed to gain position. Will be over bet off that last win. Use defensively in horizontals.

13. King Cause: AE is cross entered in the 7th race today. Had a career best performance two back in the Knickerbocker at the Big A (98 Beyer) at todays distance. Was never a factor in the Ft. Lauderdale and now will be all the way on the outside if he draws in. Too tough.

14. Steady On: AE is cross entered in the 7th race today. Appears over his head.

Picks 3-9-11-7

Race 13 – The Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes – Grade I

One Mile and a Furlong on the Dirt for Four Year Olds and Up

1. Proxy: Defeated a relatively weak group last out in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap (101 Beyer). Previous start was back in July where he was a good third behind Olympiad in the Stephen Foster also at Churchill (104 Beyer). Will be able to save ground and make a strong run in the stretch. Has run well fresh before and Stidham wins at a 32% rate (6/19) with runners in stakes races off a similar layoffs. Showed definitive improvement with Rosario in the last two efforts. The Pick.

2. Simplification: Was a decent third in the Harlan’s Holiday last month (103 Beyer). Got a good inside trip that day but Skippylongstocking was able to make the first move. Has done his best running at Gulfstream where he has never finished off the board in seven starts. Has finished behind several of these multiple times. Trainer Stat: Antonio Sano has one win from 49 starters in graded stakes. Bottom side of exotics.

3. Ridin With Biden: Runs here off of two straight wins at Parx in overnight stakes races. Last out in the Kris Kringle Stakes he was five wide the whole way and just hung on to hold off a deep closer (95 Beyer). Should be part of a hot early pace. Likely to get cooked early.

4. White Abarrio: Was a good third in the Cigar Mile (99 Beyer) and is undefeated at Gulfstream in four starts. We know he likes the surface and reunites with Gaffalione who guided him to his best results last year. Likely underlay. Lean against.

5. Defunded: Baffert ships this one from SoCal where won his last two outings in the Awesome Again (99 Beyer) and Native Dancer. Likes to be up front and should be setting the pace here. Baffert/Irad will draw a lot of money – probably too much as this one will need to move forward in his fourteenth career race to win. Looking elsewhere.

6. Art Collector: Mott trained colt underperformed last time out in the Lukas Classic at Churchill last October (91 Beyer). Does his best running on or attending the pace. He’ll have to sit in behind a couple of speedy ones here. Seven wins from nine starts at today’s nine furlong distance. You’ll get a price. Minor award.

7. Skippylongstocking: Won the local prep for this race in the Harlan’s Holiday where he stalked the pace and kicked away late (106 Beyer). That win was off a four month freshening after the Pennsylvania Derby where he was no match. Water is very deep here and will need to repeat the Ft. Lauderdale effort. Will be coming late, and race flow may assist him. Exacta player.

8. Get Her Number: Peter Miller ships this one from SoCal where he has been training since a very good second place to Mind Control in the Cigar Mile (99 Beyer). Won a high end optional claiming race two back at Del Mar (100 Beyer). Will need to get nine furlongs against a salty group. Nope.

9. Last Samurai: Wayne Lukas attracts Frankie Dettori to take the mount on this long shot runner who last out was second in the black type Tinsel Stakes at Oaklawn (97 Beyer). Bested by Proxy two back in the Clark. Will need a step forward to compete with this group. Not today.

10. Cyberknife: Was excellent in the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile (105 Beyer) where he was headed by Cody’s Wish at the wire. Hasn’t won since the Haskell but was competitive in all of his starts and has shown to be a versatile runner. Will need to use his tactical speed to get position from this outside post. Gets a slice.

11. Stilleto Boy: Comes in from Cali where he most recently was no match for Country Grammer in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes a month ago (92 Beyer). Was a longshot third in this race last year. He can get the distance and while he has only one win in his last twelve starts he has plenty of minor awards. Unlikely.

12. O’Connor: Last out in the Harlan’s Holiday he sat off the pace and moved steadily into position but was one paced in the stretch finishing fourth (100 Beyer). Two back in his first U.S start he easily handled an optional claiming field (99 Beyer). Up and comer. Longshot who should be coming late.

13. Hoist The Gold AE Looking for his first stakes win of any kind. Was an overmatched third last out to Taiba in the Malibu. Demand a price.

14. Endorsed: AE Mike Maker enters this runner off a local win in optional claimer at seven panels (95 Beyer) This seven year old has yet to win a stakes race in his career but did finish fourth last year in this race at 86-1. Possible price play for the bottom of supers.

Picks 1-7-6-10