Bettors view Saturday’s $3 million Pegasus World Cup through a different lens than in previous years. This one has strong value.
With Cyberknife named the morning-line favorite at 5-to-2 odds, the 12-horse field offers several viable candidates in a 1 1/8-mile event for 4-year-olds at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.
Although odds don’t become official until post-time, per pari-mutuel rules, the 2023 Pegasus will be far more wide-open for gamblers than its recent predecessors.
This is not the 2021 showcase featuring Breeders’ Cup winner Knicks Go, who romped at 6-5. Nor is it the 2022 battle between Breeders’ Cup winners Knicks Go and Life Is Good, a dream matchup but a betting nightmare with both horses at 4-5.
2023 Pegasus World Cup Field: Post Positions, Odds, Jockeys, Trainers
Here is the field and morning-line odds for Saturday’s Grade 1 event.
|1||Proxy||9-2||Joel Rosario||Mike Stidham|
|2||Simplification||15-1||Paco Lopez||Antonio Sano|
|3||Ridin With Biden||20-1||Emisael Jaramillo||Robert Reid Jr.|
|4||White Abarrio||15-1||Tyler Gaffalione||Saffie Joseph Jr.|
|5||Defunded||6-1||Irad Ortiz Jr.||Bob Baffert|
|6||Art Collector||10-1||Junior Alvarado||Bill Mott|
|7||Skippylongstocking||5-1||Jose Ortiz||Saffie Joseph Jr.|
|8||Get Her Number||15-1||Luis Saez||Peter Miller|
|9||Last Samurai||20-1||Frankie Dettori||D. Wayne Lukas|
|10||Cyberknife||5-2||Florent Geroux||Brad Cox|
|11||Stilleto Boy||30-1||Mike Smith||Ed Moger Jr.|
|12||O’Connor||10-1||Javier Castellano||Saffie Joseph Jr.|
This one will be tricky but potentially rewarding for bettors. Gamblers navigate a field that is both competitive and inconsistent.
The Pegasus World Cup headlines a stellar 13-race program including the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), the $500,000 Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G3), and four other graded stakes.
Eight total stakes offer $5.3 million in purses.
Post time for the Pegasus is approximately 5:45 p.m., with the World Cup Turf set for about 5 p.m.
Most nationwide bettors will wager online via outlets like FanDuel TV, formerly TVG. NBC will televise the Pegasus.
Bet on the Pegasus World Cup: Up to $200 back on first bet loss at TVG
Here are the Pegasus World Cup field and morning-line betting odds.
1. Proxy (9-to-2 odds)
Forwardly placed in the $750,000 Clark Stakes from the rail and gained a breakthrough graded stakes victory in November.
There were only five foes for Proxy in the Clark. This has several more.
Doing his best running right now. Every reason to be there.
He likes to break early, and the rail position will encourage that. But he could also be pocketed as others look to have more early speed.
2. Simplification (15-1)
Hard battler, winless in seven tries since capturing the Fountain of Youth last year at Gulfstream. Beaten by Pegasus rivals Cyberknife, Skippylongstocking (twice), and White Abarrio. But finished noses apart with Cyberknife in the Pennsylvania Derby.
Often in it, rarely wins.
3. Ridin With Biden (20-1)
Parx invader from Pennsylvania has done everything asked in cheaper company but takes a monstrous step up. Goes from a win in the $75,000 Kris Kringle Stakes into a $3 million event.
A 95 Beyer Speed Figure in his last race is respectable, but this is asking a lot.
4. White Abarrio (15-1)
Returns to Gulfstream Park, where he is 4-for-4 including the Florida Derby last year.
Has gone 0-for-5 since, including finishing 16th in the Kentucky Derby and seventh in the Haskell to Cyberknife.
Was in decline until notching a gallant third in the $750,000 Cigar Mile in the slop at Aqueduct in his last. Nipped by Get Her Number for second in that race.
5. Defunded (6-1)
Fairly-priced and comes off two nice victories, including the $300,000 Awesome Again at Santa Anita.
Trained by Hall-of-Famer Bob Baffert, who notched Pegasus victories with Arrogate in 2017 and Mucho Gusto in 2020. Has to ship from California, which is a disadvantage, but Baffert is known for placing his horses in the right spot.
On an upward arc, but can still look average. Stilleto Boy, the longest shot on the board here, finished ahead of him in a race last July.
6. Art Collector (10-1)
Wouldn’t be unheard of for the two-time Charlestown Classic winner to make some noise. Had two straight wins before getting a dull fifth in the Lukas Classic Stakes on Oct. 1.
The layoff is a concern.
Has a victory over Mind Control, who recently captured the Cigar Mile ahead of White Abarrio and Get Her Number.
7. Skippylongstocking (5-1)
Was a distant ninth behind third-place Cyberknife in the Pennsylvania Derby last fall.
But he’s a speed factor at a track that embraces it and he has a victory over the surface in the Harlan’s Holiday.
Will get a lot of play and could have the early lead.
8. Get Her Number (15-1)
Threw in a big one at the Cigar Mile, finishing a tight second to Mind Control in the slop.
Disadvantage is that he’s a maiden at the distance and done much of his better work in shorter races.
9. Last Samurai (20-1)
Takes a step up after finishing second in the $200,000 Tinsel Stakes. Has the propensity to run late. Would need a speed duel and the race of his life.
10. Cyberknife (5-2)
Farewell race after a steady and strong 2022. Won the Arkansas Derby and the Haskell Stakes, then finished second to Cody’s Wish in a thrilling Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile duel.
The class of the field on paper, but the kind of lukewarm favorite who could just as easily finish second or third than win. Outside post is not a good one. Will need to break alertly because the first turn comes up quickly. Needs to get stalking position and hope to benefit from a possible pace duel up front.
First time at Gulfstream.
11. Stilleto Boy (30-1)
The longest shot on the board runs credibly, but at lower levels. Second in the $200,000 San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita. Needs to be much better here.
Excellent value, however, considering that he finished ahead of Defunded in the San Diego Handicap last summer.
12. O’Connor (10-1)
Gets a mulligan after flopping as a 6-5 favorite in the Harlan’s Holiday. Finished several lengths behind Skippylongstocking at 1 1/16 miles and now must stretch to 1 1/8 miles. Hasn’t proven he can be in this.
Gulfstream Park is speed-favoring, but this pace could be contentious, enabling a stalker to do well.
Proxy, Simplification, Defunded, Art Collector, and Skippylongstocking all break near the front. White Abarrio has been a speed-stalk type. Cyberknife stalks.
The pace should be hot enough for a stalker to run well. That could help Cyberknife or even open things up for a price horse like Get Her Number to get into the exotics.
We’ll be careful not to spread too much.
My first play is a mild win bet on Cyberknife. The Haskell and Breeders’ Cup performances came in races of $1 million, the best in the field.
I don’t like his post and maiden voyage on this track, but every horse has some disadvantage.
Will decide on Saturday between an exacta box of 1-10, 5-10, or 2-10. An exacta box could pay well here.
Horses with Gulfstream form (2-4-7) will go into some exotics ticket, but that’s a Saturday decision.
Otherwise, Art Collector (6) can throw in a big one, and Get Her Number (8) could benefit from a pace. They could hit the board too. Overall, the exotics angle may have too many to choose from.
Thoughts for Bettors
Given the lack of consistency in this field, take a pop on some mid-range or longshots either in the ticket or on top.
Nobody in this field is screaming “play me.”
Exotics (exactas, trifectas, superfectas) can be lucrative, but expensive to chase. If you like any horse in the area of — say, 7-2 or higher — bang that as the primary bet and just fool around with the exotics.