The 2021 Pegasus World Cup, by Invitation Only, New Invitees added to the field, Charlatan likely to pass, Mucho Gusto retired

January 4, 2021

Baffert Trainees Among 12 Grade 1 & 2 Winners Invited to Jan. 23 Event

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Bob Baffert-trained Mucho Gusto and Charlatan are among a dozen Grade 1 and Grade 2 winners on a list of 16 horses invited Sunday to the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park.

The fifth running of the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus, won previously by Longines World’s Best Racehorse Arrogate (2017), Horse of the Year Gun Runner (2018), Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) winner City of Light and Mucho Gusto (2020), will be run Saturday, Jan. 23 along with the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1).

            Limited seating is available and tickets can be purchased at Pegasusworldcup.com.

            Fans can watch and wager on the Pegasus World Cup at 1stbet.com and xpressbet.com. 

The Pegasus World Cup and Pegasus World Cup Turf will be part of an extraordinary program featuring seven graded stakes, four contested on the turf. Stakes on Pegasus Day will also include the $200,000 Inside Information (G2), $125,000 William L. McKnight (G3), $125,000 Marshua’s River (G3), $125,000 La Prevoyante (G3) and $125,000 Fred Hooper (G3).

            The 12 horses given first preference for the Pegasus World Cup were (in alphabetical order):

  • Charlatan – Owned by SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Stonestreet Stables LLC, Frederick Hertrich III, John Fielding, Golconda Stables. Trained by Bob Baffert
  • Code of Honor – Owned by W.S. Farish. Trained by Shug McGaughey
  • Harpers First Ride – Owned by MCA Racing Stable LLC. Trained by Claudio Gonzalez
  • Jesus’ Team – Owned by Grupo 7C Racing Stable. Trained by Jose D’Angelo
  • Kiss Today Goodbye – Owned by John Sondereker. Trained by J. Eric Kruljac
  • Knicks Go – Owned by Korea Racing Authority. Trained by Brad Cox
  • Mr Freeze – Owned by Jim Bakke, Gerald Isbister. Trained by Dale Romans
  • Mucho Gusto – Owned by HRH Prince Faisal Bin Khaled. Trained by Bob Baffert- (Subsequently retired, out of race)
  • Sharp Samurai – Owned by Red Baron’s Barn LLC, Rancho Temescal LLC, Mark Glatt. Trained by Mark Glatt
  • Sleepy Eyes Todd – Owned by Thumbs Up Racing, LLC. Trained by Miguel Angel Silva
  • Tax – Owned by R.A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch. Trained by Danny Gargan
  • True Timber – Owned by Calumet Farm. Trained by Jack Sisterson.

            The also eligibles are (in order of preference) 

  • Anothertwistafate – Owned by Peter Redekop B.C., Ltd. Trained by Peter Miller
  • Math Wizard – Owned by John Fanelli, Khalid Mishref, Cash is King LLC, LC Racing LLC, Collarmele Vitelli Stables LLC, Ioannis, Zouas, Bassett Stables. Trained by Saffie Joseph Jr.
  • King Guillermo – Owned by Victoria’s Ranch. Trained by Juan Carlos Avila
  • Idol – Owned by Calvin Nguyen. Trained by Richard Baltas

Baffert, who won the Pegasus last year with Mucho Gusto and the inaugural running with Arrogate, has two chances for a hat trick with his defending champion and Charlatan.

After his victory in the Pegasus last year Mucho Gusto finished fourth Feb. 29 in the Saudi Cup before Baffert gave the 5-year-old son of Mucho Macho Man time off. He returned Dec. 26 to finish fourth of six in the San Antonio (G2). 

Mucho Gusto wins the 2020 Pegasus

Charlatan was regarded as one of the country’s top 3-year-olds after his performance in the May 2 Arkansas Derby (G1) but he was sidelined with an ankle injury before returning off a seven-month layoff to win the Dec. 26 Malibu Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita. 

Trainer Bob Baffert has stated he is leaning against the Pegasus in favor of the Saudi Cup and the huge purse. That race is also a one turn mile and an eighth which he feels Charlatan is better suited for, at least at this stage of his career.

With Mucho Gusto retired it looks like Baffert may sit this Pegasus out.

Multiple Grade 1 winner Knicks Go enters the Pegasus off three consecutive victories since being moved to the stable of Brad Cox.  The 5-year-old Maryland-bred son of Paynter was an impressive winner last time out of the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). 

Jesus’ Team, second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile and beaten less than a length by Knicks Go, sold for $30,000 as a yearling and has earned $508,940. The Jose D’Angelo-trained 4-year-old finished third in the Preakness (G1) and Jim Dandy (G2) last year.

Sharp Samurai was beaten a nose by Jesus’ Team for the place in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. The 7-year-old gelding, based at Santa Anita with trainer Mark Glatt, was second last year in the Pacific Classic (G1), Eddie Read (G2) and City of Hope (G2). His last victory was the 2018 City of Hope. Sharp Samurai is also on the invitation list for the Pegasus Turf.

W.S. Farish’s homebred Code of Honor will be making his 13th consecutive start in a graded race, his ninth in a Grade 1 event. Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, Code of Honor was placed second in the 2019 Kentucky Derby (G1) and went on to win the Travers (G1) and Jockey Club (G1). Code of Honor’s 4-year-old season included a victory in the Westchester (G3) and second-place finishes in the Clark (G1) and Kelso (G2).

Tax, claimed for $50,000 out of his second career start by trainer Danny Gargan for co-owner Hugh Lynch, will run in his second consecutive Pegasus. The 5-year-old, an impressive winner of the Harlan’s Holiday (G3) at Gulfstream Dec. 12 off a seven-month layoff, was fourth in the 2019 Belmont (G1) and won that year’s Jim Dandy (G2). The son of Arch finished ninth in last year’s Pegasus after stumbling at the start.

 Mr Freeze finished second in last year’s Pegasus World Cup, 4 ½ lengths behind winner Mucho Gusto. Trained by Dale Romans, Mr Freeze went on to win the Fayette Stakes (G2) before wide trips resulted in a sixth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Mile and fifth-place finish in the Clark last time out.

Calumet Farm is hoping the third time is the charm for True Timber. Seventh in the 2019 edition of the Pegasus and eighth last year, the 7-year-old enters this year’s $3 million edition off a popular victory in the Cigar Mile (G1) Dec. 5 at Aqueduct. It was his first win in 13 starts, since September of 2018.

Sleepy Eyes Todd won the Mr. Prospector Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park Dec. 19. The 5-year-old son of Paddy O’Prado, who won the Charles Town Classic (G2) in August, has been a model of consistency, winning eight of 15 races while racing at 11 different tracks for trainer Miguel Angel Silva.  

John Sondereker’s Kiss Today Goodbye, a lightly-raced 4-year-old, upset Mucho Gusto and four others Dec. 26 in the Malibu when he closed from last. Trained by J. Eric Kruljak, Kiss Today Goodbye had finished fifth in the Del Mar Derby (G2) and fourth in the Twilight Derby (G2) earlier in the year.

Harpers First Ride, a 5-year-old Maryland-bred, enters the Pegasus having won four of his last five starts including a victory in the Pimlico Special (G3). Maryland’s perennial leading trainer Claudio Gonzalez will saddle the son of Paynter.

Anothertwistafate, winner of the Jan. 2 San Gabriel (G2) at Santa Anita and Sept. 10 Longacres Mile (G3), is No. 1 on the also eligible list. The son of Scat Daddy is also on the invitation list for the Pegasus Turf. Locally-based Math Wizard, a Grade 1 winner who finished second last summer to Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) show finisher Global Campaign in the Monmouth Cup, is second on the AE list while King Guillermo, owned by former Major League Baseball all-star Victor Martinez, and Idol, second in the San Antonio, round out the list.

Gulfstream Park officials announced Sunday additional invitations to the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) and $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), to be held Saturday, Jan. 23.

Independence Hall, a 12 ¼-length winner of the Nashua (G2) at two and runner-up in the Sam F. Davis (G3) at three, and Coastal Defense, fourth Nov. 27 in the Clark (G1), have received invitations for the 1 1/8-(G1mile Pegasus World Cup and have been added to the also-eligible list.

Moving into the main body of the Pegasus World Cup from the also-eligible list are Grade 1 winner Math Wizard and Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner King Guillermo.

Ride a Comet, an impressive winner Saturday of the Tropical Turf (G3), has been invited to the 1 3/16 mile Pegasus World Cup Turf and was placed on the also-eligible list. Moving into the main body of the Pegasus Turf is Next Shares and Field Pass.

Limited seating is available and tickets can be purchased at Pegasusworldcup.com.

            Fans can watch and wager on the Pegasus World Cup at 1stbet.com and xpressbet.com.

Independence Hall, a 4-year-old son of Constitution, returned from an eight-month layoff to win under allowance conditions in November at Del Mar before finishing fifth Dec. 26 behind Charlatan in the Malibu (G1). Independence Hall is trained by Michael McCarthy, who trained 2019 Pegasus World Cup winner City of Light.

Dale Romans, who saddled Mr Freeze to a second-place finish last year behind Mucho Gusto in the Pegasus World Cup, trains Coastal Defense. A 5-year-old son of Curlin, Coastal Defense was fourth in the Clark as well as the Oct. 10 Fayette (G2).

John Oxley and My Meadowview Farm LLC’s Ride a Comet is undefeated in four starts since returning from a two-year layoff. The 6-year-old son of Candy Ride, trained by Mark Casse, also won the Kennedy Road (G2) in November at Woodbine.

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