Omaha Beach Still Favored as Three More Are Added to Pegasus World Cup

January 19, 2020

The invited field for the fourth Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park in Florida on January 25 is still organizing itself after three more invitees were added on Sunday.

Five-year-old Tenfold, third in the 2018 Preakness and winner of the Grade 3 Pimlico Special, has now been invited alongside Midcourt and Bodexpress.

Midcourt won the Grade 3 Diver Stakes in November while Bodexpress, as well as being well-known locally anyway, has the distinction of being the Florida Derby runner-up behind the now scratched Maximum Security and they could at least add a little depth to a race that has been cutting up somewhat in the build-up.

With the purse now down to $3million and no race-day medication being allowed, some have appeared to have swerved this race after it made an auspicious start to its life, the first event being held in 2017 and being worth a cool $16 million but the 2020 version may yet prove to be remarkable in its own way.

Key Horses No Longer on the List

The potential field has been shaken up recently, reserve runners Diamond Oops, War Story and True Timber have been moved up into the main field after some major players were withdrawn from the list of invitees for the PWC.

Gift Box, Bravazao, Roadtser, and Kentucky Derby first-past-the-post Maximum Security are no longer in contention now which is a great shame for the event.

The latter-named horse in particular had already been a strong pick for many in the lead-up to this huge Grade 1 race, however with a 50% share of the four-year-old TVG Haskell Stakes and Cigar Mile winner having been purchased by Ireland’s Coolmore operation, it seems he is set to instead contest the world’s newest most valuable prize, the Saudi Cup in February.

The new invitees along with the names of those now no longer taking part has changed the betting strategies of many this month, with the race now on the face of it looking a little less competitive than it was before.

Omaha Beach Now Strong Favorite

The monopolistic look of the odds for the Pegasus has also led to some feeling the race needs to be more competitive, with the already favored Omaha Beach now into around even-money after his recent successful prep in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita.

A closer look however reveals that, despite winning the Arkansas Derby with a view to him taking part in last year’s Triple Crown events, all of his best work has been done over shorter distances including his taking win in the six-furlong Santa Anita Sprint Championship and it may be that he is vulnerable in this sphere.

Bob Baffert’s McKinzie on the other hand, has strangely done so much better on his travels than in California thus far and also when he’s been faced with a shorter distance.  So, despite not quite getting the job done as favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, he must surely be seen now as a rock-solid choice for this event if somehow he shows up. Baffert has reported he will skip the Pegasus and opt for the inaugural Saudi Cup. We will have to wait and see on that.

In the current list of the Pegasus World Cup odds, he shows up pretty well all things considered and he could be the value wager in the race given his undoubted class.

No Race Day Medication at the Pegasus

Having been embroiled in horse welfare controversy before regarding the state of the track at Santa Anita, Pegasus World Cup owners The Stronach Group announced that for this year’s event both the PWC and the Turf Invitational would be run free of any medications.

The group heralded the decision as marking a new era for thoroughbred racing in North America, the med-free policy really though simply coming into line with the standards already long since marked out by the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities.

As well as the main two Grade 1 races being run without medication allowed, 2% of the purses for these races kick back to thoroughbred aftercare programs which has to be seen as a good thing making it up to the owners and trainers now to support this initiative as much as possible.

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