2023 Pegasus World Cup Contenders & Odds
Pegasus World Cup Returns to Gulfstream Park - January 28
The Pegasus World Cup headlines the 13-race program that will also features the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) and the $500,000 Pegasus World Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G3), as well as four other graded stakes, during the annual celebration of Thoroughbred racing, entertainment, fashion and dining. First-race post time is set for 11:30 a.m.
NBC will nationally televise the Pegasus World Cup Day festivities from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. The all-stakes late Pick 5 (Races 8-12) and the late Pick 4 (Races 9-12) will both offer guaranteed gross pools of $750,000. The all-stakes Rainbow 6 will span Races 7-12. All four muti-race wagers will be anchored by the Pegasus World Cup, a 1 1/8-mile feature for older horses.
Cyberknife Early Favorite For Pegasus World Cup
Cyberknife (Gold Square LLC) is scheduled to make the final start of his racing career at Gulfstream Park, where the multiple Grade 1 stakes winner has been installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite for the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) on Saturday, January 28.
The Pegasus World Cup will headline a stellar 13-race program also featuring the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) presented by Qatar Racing, the $500,000 TAA Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G3) presented by Pepsi, and four other graded stakes. Eight total stakes will be contested for $5.3 million in purses.
Win or lose in the 7th running of the 1 1/8-mile stakes for 4-year-olds and up, Cyberknife, who drew Post No. 10 in the 12-horse Pegasus field, will be retired to begin stallion duty at Spendthrift Farm in Kentucky.
2023 Pegasus World Cup Field & Odds
Race 13 at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, January 28 - Post 5:40 PM
|Ridin With Biden
|Robert Reid, Jr.
|Saffie Joseph, Jr.
|Irad Ortiz, Jr.
|Saffie Joseph, Jr.
|Get Her Number
|Ed Moger, Jr.
|Saffie Joseph, Jr.
Cyberknife's sire, Gun Runner, ran the last race of his racing career in the 2018 Pegasus World Cup before retiring to stud at Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky. The son of Candy Ride went out in style with a 2 ½-length victory.
Cyberknife's trainer, Brad Cox, was victorious in the 2021 Pegasus World Cup with Knicks Go, who came back to finish second behind Life Is Good in last year's renewal of the thoroughbred racing season's first multi-million-dollar stakes.
Cyberknife established himself as one of the premier colts in the 3-year-old division last year while winning the Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn and the Haskell (G1) at Monmouth Park and Grade 1 placings in the Pennsylvania Derby and Travers. He finished his 3-year-old campaign with a photo-finish second behind Cody's Wish in a most memorable edition of the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Keeneland.
"It's really amazing he's been able to stay as good as he has physically and mentally. He's improved a tremendous amount mentally over the last six, seven, eight months. Physically he looks amazing. He's given us all the signs - and maybe even more so now, working better than he ever has leading up to this," Cox said. "He is older. He's stronger than he was throughout his 3-year-old season. And he's going to need to be."
Although Cyberknife has never run at Gulfstream, Cox, from his Gulfstream experience, is confident the versatile Kentucky-bred runner will be quick to adapt.
"It's going to be a good group of horses. Obviously, we're taking the show on the road; he's never been to Gulfstream. But I'm very happy with the way he's training," Cox said. "I think as along as he can get away well and get involved in the race the early part, he'll be effective. I think he'll like the configuration of the mile-and-an-eighth at Gulfstream."
Florent Geroux, who rode Gun Runner in his Pegasus World Cup victory, is named to ride Cyberknife.
Godolphin LLCs Proxy, who is rated second in the morning line at 9-2, enters the Pegasus World Cup off his first career Grade 1 victory in the Nov. 25 Clark (G1) at Churchill Downs. The Michael Stidham-trained 5-year-old son of Tapit pressed the pace before edging clear nearing the wire to win the first stakes of his 13-race career, during which he has had four runner-up finishes in Grade 2 stakes.
"Certainly, I feel like the Pegasus is going to come up tougher overall, a tougher race, so we have to pick our game up from the Clark," Stidham said. "I don't think we can run the same race we ran in the Clark and expect to win. I think we need to do a little bit better, and I'm hoping my horse will move forward from the Clark. That's what we need to see."
Joel Rosario, who rode Knicks Go for his 2021 Pegasus World Cup score, has the call on Proxy, who drew Post No. 1.
Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr, who leads all trainers with victories during the current Championship Meet at Gulfstream in his quest to defend his 2021-2022 title, is represented in the Pegasus World Cup field by three horses: Daniel Alonso's Skippylongstocking (5-1; Post No. 7), C2 Racing Stable LLC and La Milagrosa Stable LLC's White Abarrio (10-1; Post No 4) and Fernando Vine Ode and Michael and Jules Iavarone's O'Connor (10; Post No. 12),
Skippylongstocking, who finished third in the 2022 Belmont Stakes (G1) before winning the West Virginia Derby (G3), is coming off a sharp victory in the Dec. 31 Harlan's Holiday (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
"He's coming off a strong performance in the Harlan's Holiday. He got a freshening after the Pennsylvania Derby, and he carried a lot of weight into the Harlan's Holiday. He's carrying the same kind of weight, so that's very positive for him.," Joseph said. "He's filled out a tremendous amount. Obviously, it's a much tougher race this time, but I feel like he's close to where he was for his last race."
White Abarrio brings an impressive record at Gulfstream into the Pegasus World Cup, having won all four of his starts, including a 1 ¼-length victory in the 1 1/8-mile Curlin Florida Derby (G1).
"He's a horse for course. He's 4-for-4 at Gulfstream, so it gives you a lot of confidence. Any time you can run on your homecourt, it's always an advantage," Joseph said.
White Abarrio is coming off a sharp third-place finish in the Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct.
"He's not an overly big horse, but what I like the most - he wasn't a horse that was strong - is he's gotten stronger as he's matured," Joseph said. "He's a lot stronger than he was, which is good, because we can increase his training a little. Overall, that will help him develop. He's definitely put on weight."
O'Connor, a Group 1 winner in Chile, won his Oct. 16 U.S. debut in a stakes-quality optional claiming allowance by six lengths but disappointed when he finished an even fourth as the favorite in his return in the Harlan's Holiday.
"Going into that last race, I thought he was giving all the right signals. It definitely makes you question things," Joseph said. "Hopefully, he can redeem himself. I think the extra distance will help him."
Jose Ortiz has the call on Skippylongstocking, while Tyler Gaffalione and Javier Castellano are named to ride White Abarrio and O'Connor, respectively.
Trainer Bob Baffert will send Michael Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman's Defunded to the Gulfstream Park track Saturday in search of his third success in the Pegasus World Cup. He was victorious with Arrogate in 2017 and Much Gusto in 2020.
Defunded (6-1; Post No. 5) is coming off back-to-back victories in the Awesome Again (G1) at Santa Anita and Native Diver (G3) at Del Mar.
"Basically, he's a one-dimensional kind of horse, but he's training really well. It's going to be a tough race. You never know. The post. The break. Everything has to go right. Arrogate, everything went right for him. Mucho Gusto, everything went right for him," Baffert said. "You've got to get a good trip. There is a short run to the first turn and there are fast horses in there, so we're just going to go down there and see where he fits with those kind of horses."
Irad Ortiz Jr. is scheduled to ride Defunded for the first time since their fourth-place finish in the Pat Day Mile (G2) in May 2021.
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas has made a late change in jockeys for Willis Horton Racing LLC's Last Samurai, who will be ridden by international superstar Frankie Dettori. The 5-year-old son of Malibu Moon (20-1; Post No. 9), who finished fourth behind Proxy in the Clark, won the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) last season.
Bruce Lundsford's Art Collector (10-1; Post No. 6) will be one of six Grade or Group 1 winners in Saturday's 12-horse field, having won the 2021 Woodward (G1) at Belmont Park. The Bill Mott-trained 6-year-old campaigner won his second straight Charles Town Classic (G2) last season.
Junior Alvarado, who celebrated his 2000th career victory Saturday at Gulfstream, is scheduled to ride Art Collector for the first time in the Pegasus World Cup. Art Collector breezed an easy half-mile in 50 seconds Sunday at Payson Park in his final tune-up.
Gary Barber's Get Her Number (15-1; Post No. 8) enters the Pegasus World Cup off a sharp runner-up finish in the Cigar Mile, in which he finished a head behind victorious Mind Control and a half-length ahead of White Abarrio.
Defending Championship Meet titlist Luis Saez has the call on the 5-year-old son of Dialed In.
Tami Bobo and Tristan de Meric's Simplification, who captured last season's Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream and finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby (G1), made a menacing move coming off the turn into the homestretch in the Harlan's Holiday before settling for third.
The Antonio Sano trainee (15-1; Post No. 2) will be ridden by Paco Lopez.
Steve Moger's Stilleto Boy (30-1; Post No. 11), who finished third in last year's Pegasus World Cup, is coming off a second-place finish in the San Antonio (G2) at Santa Anita, where he ran his career-best while winning the Californian (G2) last March.
The Ed Moger Jr-trained son of Shackleford will be ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith.
Cash is King LLC and LC Racing LLC's Ridin With Biden (20-1; Post No. 3) drew into the 12-horse field Sunday upon the defection of Super Corinto. The Butch Reid-trained 5-year-old gelding has won three of his last four starts, including a victory in the Greenwood Cup (G3) at Parx.
Emisael Jaramillo has the call aboard the son of Constitution.
Dream Team One Racing's Hoist the Gold and Mark Breen's Endorsed also eligible in the listed order.
Cyberknife `Stronger Physically' for 2023 Pegasus
JAN 21 - Cyberknife (Gold Square LLC) worked five-eighths of a mile in 1:01 flat in company with Roman Centurion Saturday morning at Fair Grounds in preparation for next Saturday's $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) presented by Baccarat at Gulfstream Park. The Brad Cox-trained 4-year-old Cyberknife galloped out six furlongs in 1:13 2/5 under jockey Florent Geroux.
The 1:01 clocking was third-fastest of 41 half-mile works at the track, with the 5-year-old stakes-placed Roman Centurion clocked in 1:01.20.
"It was a good work," Geroux said by phone. "He's always been a good work horse. So for him, it was just a maintenance work and keeping him busy and fit. He's had plenty of time to get ready and now we're a week from the race."
Cyberknife comes into the Pegasus off a second-place finish in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1), in which he had held a narrow lead the last half of the race but couldn't quite hold off Cody's Wish. That defeat by a head cost Cyberknife a third Grade 1 victory after taking Oaklawn Park's Arkansas Derby and Monmouth Park's Haskell.
Geroux has ridden Cyberknife for the past 10 of his 12 career races. The jockey concurs with Cox that Cyberknife is working better than ever for his last race before going to stud at Spendthrift Farm.
"The horse is definitely maturing now," Geroux said. "He's stronger physically. I think he put on some weight. He's developing very nicely and made another step forward over the winter, physically and mentally. So we're hoping he's better than he was last year."
Cyberknife certainly has come a long way from when he finished first in his debut on Sept. 25, 2021 at Churchill Downs but ran greenly and was disqualified to second for interference. Exactly a year ago off a maiden victory on his third attempt, he was drubbed in the Fair Grounds' Lecomte (G3) but regrouped to win an allowance race and then the Arkansas Derby. His only race worse than third since needs no apology: It was the cavalry charge known as the Kentucky Derby (G1), in which he was 18th.
"He would zig zag, lose a little bit of focus," Geroux said Cyberknife last spring. "He's been better since. He was perfect in the Breeders' Cup and just got beat by a very nice horse. But it looks like he's doing much better now - hopefully I'm not speaking too soon.
"It was a tough beat (in the Breeders' Cup). We wanted to finish up the year strong, and we thought it was a good spot," Geroux added. "We had a great trip, just couldn't hold off the winner, who is a terrific miler. I think the mile and an eighth is more to his liking."
Meanwhile in California, Defunded, Get Her Number and Stilleto Boy got in their final tune-ups for the Pegasus World Cup Saturday morning.
Michael Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman's Defunded, an impressive winner of the Awesome Again (G1) and Native Diver (G2) in his two most recent starts, breezed five furlongs in 59.40 seconds at Santa Anita. Trainer Bob Baffert saddled Arrogate (2017) and Mucho Gusto (2020) for victories in the Pegasus World Cup.
Gary Barber's Get Her Number, a close second-place finisher behind Mind Control in the Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct last time out, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.60 for trainer Peter Miller at San Luis Rey Training Center.
Steve Moger's Stilleto Boy worked five furlongs in 1:04.60, handily, at Golden Gate Fields. The Ed Moger Jr.-trained son of Shackleford finished third in last year's Pegasus World Cup.
In Arkansas: Willis Horton Racing LLC's Last Samurai turned in a `bullet' workout at Oaklawn Park, where Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas' trainee breezed five furlongs in 59.40 seconds for the Pegasus World Cup.
In Florida, Skippylongstocking and Simplification breezed Saturday morning for scheduled starts in the Pegasus World Cup.
Daniel Alonso's Skippylongstocking worked a half mile in 50.45 seconds at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream's satellite training facility in Palm Beach Count. The 4-year-old son of Exaggerator, who is trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., is coming off a victory in the Dec. 31 Harlan's Holiday (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
Tami Bobo's Simplification, who captured the Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream last season, breezed a sharp five furlongs in 1:00.22 at Gulfstream Saturday morning. The Antonio Sano trainee's clocking was the second fastest of 44 workouts recorded at the distance.
Cyberknife Turns in Strong Work for Pegasus World Cup 2023
JAN 8 - Trainer Brad Cox is tightening the screws with Gold Square LLC's Cyberknife in preparation for concluding the 4-year-old colt's racing career in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) presented by Baccarat at Gulfstream Park.
Second in a photo finish in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1) in his previous start, Cyberknife is the anticipated favorite for the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus for 4-year-olds and up on Jan. 28. Gulfstream's showcase program that day includes the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), a 1 1/8-mile stakes for older horses, and the $500,000 Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G3), a 1 1/16-mile stakes for older fillies and mares on turf.
The 4-year-old Cyberknife was recorded working five-eighths of a mile in a sparkling minute flat in company with the talented mare Astute Sunday morning at the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans. Fair Grounds clocker Billy Pettingill caught Cyberknife galloping out six furlongs in in a powerful 1:11.74 under exercise rider Edvin Vargas.
The minute matched the fastest of 34 works at the distance. Regular rider Florent Geroux will be aboard for the Pegasus, Cyberknife's last start before joining Spendthrift Farm's stallion band in Lexington, Ky.
"A really good move," Cox said by phone. "Our horse is doing very, very well. It's really amazing that he's continued to get better with the long campaign he had. He had a brief break after the Breeders' Cup. He went over and showed (for prospective breeders) at Spendthrift for around a week, came back and looked great. Since then we've made this march toward the Pegasus. This will be his last run. It will be bittersweet. Hopefully he goes out a winner."
Cyberknife finished second by a head to the older Cody's Wish in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Keeneland.
"It was a big effort," Cox said. "I was very proud of the race. He never quit. He was fighting back at the end. He ran a great race. It was a great finish. Obviously I wish we were on the other end of it. But look, he came out of the race great and hopefully we can get one last win with him before he goes off to stud."
Cyberknife has had five works since the Breeders' Cup. On Jan. 1, he also worked five furlongs, but the move was recorded as a half-mile in 49 seconds because of fog.
"Last week he had a good solid move," Cox said. "This week he obviously picked up the pace with a big gallop-out. We've got two works left. We'll ship the week of the race and see how things go."
Cyberknife's record of 5-4-1 and $2,087,520 in 12 starts includes victories in Oaklawn Park's Arkansas Derby (G1) and Monmouth Park's Haskell (G1), along with a second in Saratoga's Travers (G1) and third in Parx's Pennsylvania Derby (G1).
Cox is hoping Cyberknife can conclude his career in the same fashion as his sire, 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner, who captured the 2018 Pegasus World Cup. This will be Cox's third straight appearance in America's most lucrative dirt race for older horses outside the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1). He won the Pegasus World Cup in 2021 with another Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile runner-up, Knicks Go. That horse went on to capture the Breeders' Cup Classic to be voted 2021 Horse of the Year but finished second in the 2022 Pegasus behind Life Is Good.
Cox said Cyberknife will be his only entrant in the Pegasus World Cup stakes. Set Piece, an invitee to the Pegasus Turf, is getting his usual winter break and won't run, he said.
Proxy Seeks Second Stakes - and second G1 - in Pegasus
JAN 8 - Godolphin's 5-year-old Proxy earned his first career stakes victory in Churchill Downs' Nov. 25 Clark (G1) in his last start. Now he seeks his second in another Grade 1: the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) presented by Baccarat at Gulfstream Park.
Proxy powered five-eighths of a mile in 1:00 in company Saturday at the Fair Grounds as trainer Mike Stidham picked up the son of Tapit's training. The time was the second-fastest of 46 at the distance Saturday at the New Orleans track.
"It was a great work," Stidham said by phone. "He had a workmate (Godolphin's maiden winner Global Sensation) in front of him as a target. He finished up really nice, the gallop-out was strong. He galloped out three-quarters of a mile in 12-and-3. Couldn't have gone any better. Came out of it in great shape. This was the first work we've asked him to finish stronger and gallop-out strong since his last race. He's had a series of works, but this was the first stiff work we've put into him."
Off an almost five-month layoff, Proxy came into the 1 1/8-mile Clark with five career seconds and a pair of thirds in stakes company before winning his start in a Grade 1. Overall, he's 4-5-2 in 13 starts, earning $971,220.
"To make the first stakes win be a Grade 1 was a real bonus," Stidham said. "But he had it coming. He was always just kind of a little bit behind maturity-wise as a 3-year-old. And he was running against arguably the best 3-year-olds in the country, having run against Mandaloun, Midnight Bourbon and all those horses on the Derby trail. He ran very well, competitively. He was always cut out to be a nice horse, but he was always just a step behind. Now he's finally caught up. He's matured both physically and mentally. He's finally developed into the horse we always thought and hoped he could be."
Joel Rosario will ride Proxy in the Pegasus. Stidham said the horse will work the next two Saturdays before shipping to Gulfstream on Sunday Jan. 22
Plans call for Proxy to run through the year, with the ultimate goal being the $6 million Longines Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita.
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