The Pegasus World Cup Turf Will Need a King

The Pegasus World Cup Turf (Grade 1)- $1,000.000 Purse
GP- For Four Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and One Eighth on the Turf
January 28, 2023

This is an active weekend of racing throughout the virtual nation, with several tracks hosting races of considerable prestige and overall impact. There may be some debate over which track has the biggest races, but its being Pegasus weekend, GP certainly makes a very strong argument that they should be the first focal point. Here, we will look at the second biggest race on their Saturday card: The Pegasus World Cup Turf. Under its current name, this race has been run since 2019, and Lunar Blaze got the win for John Henry. Previously, the race was known as the GP Turf Handicap in as far as its schedule placement. In 2022, the purse for the race was moved up to $1,000.000, matching it with where the real-life race had been since 2020. That was won by Immoral and Mb Stables. That well accomplished gelding is still active, but after an allowance at GG, you have to wonder if he’ll get back to this level. We have fourteen in this race, as expected, including four who ran in the BC Turf and three won ran in the BC Mile in November. Let’s meet all of them now!

#1- Nevada Silver (Nakamura Stables, ridden by J Loveberry)- The gelding begins his five-year-old season after winning a pair of races in 2022. That was highlighted by the Grade 1 Makers Mark Mile in April and was a big reason why he was in the BC Turf. After running on the pace in that event, he faded to an eighth-place result, beaten by six lengths. He was back out there three weeks later for the Grade 2 Smith, placing fourth. While he’s been good at those longer distances, and I think these eight- or nine-furlong races are in his wheelhouse a little more. You may recall that he was here last year for the PWC Turf and ran third. That time he had to break from post 11. No such issue here.

#2- Jakarta (Nakamura Stables, ridden by S X Bridgmohan)- four-year-old will be the year anniversary of Jakarta’s private sale from Fractious to Nakamura Stables. $450.000 exchanged hands that day but Jakarta would make just slightly more than half that over the year. Fortunately, a lot of that came in his last two starts, a pair of runner ups out in California, so perhaps he is going to start making up for himself now as he hasn’t won in the Nakamura silks yet. It’s not too late for that to happen and this is a great race for that to start.

#3- Mickey (South Shore Stables, ridden by A R Rodriguez)- Winning a couple of prep races for the KYD would send him into all three of the TC races but for whatever reason, Mickey just didn’t show up there. He bounced back immediately, however, capturing the BEL Derby. That sent him into the BC Turf, and in that he showed that he could show up in a big race, winning the race. Perhaps, he just wanted to be on the grass, a surface where he is 6-for-11. Last saw him in the Grade 2 Mathis Brothers Mile as a high weight, and he was not quite as sharp. It’ll be interesting to see just how he begins his four year old campaign.

#4- Show Me How To Live (Mo Mentum Farm, ridden by F Geroux)- There has been plenty of life in this one ever since he was moved to the grass in June. He would first run second on yielding turf at LAD before breaking his maiden for $100.000 at SAR in July. He continued to run well at the Spa with an allowance win, and that moved him into stakes company. His last start was his biggest win to date, coming in the Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf at CD in late November. Since then, he has been gearing up for his four-year-old season, and regardless of how this race goes for him, he’s a good one to watch going forward in this division.

#5- Devil Made Me Doit (Maxmillion Farm, ridden by G Corrales)- For his career, this gelding has won five of 20, but he was a little more impressive in 2021 than he was last year. In that season, he finished third in the BC Turf. Last year, he never really hit the same stride but at the same time, was not bad. It would be in his last start of the season where he picked up his lone win, coming in the Grade 2 Seabiscuit Handicap. Works look good, if not great, coming into this. May not be the name that grabs your attention the quickest here, but he may be poised for a strong run.

#6- Pxg (Mb Stables, ridden by M Franco)- Sometimes, a horse will get better with age, and for Pxg, there was no better year than his six-year-old campaign. He won five of seven over the year, including the KD Turf Sprint and the Shadwell Turf Mile. Only one race last year saw him fail to hit the board, but unfortunately for the trainer, that was the BC Mile. Surprisingly, he never got involved there. It’s easier to forgive those race lines in a BC event, but when the age starts sneaking up there, you don’t want to see that become a trend.

#7- Key Biscayne (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by A Beschizza)- After running second to Mickey in the BC Turf, Key Biscayne gets a chance at revenge on that one within this field. He’s a lot older than Mickey, though, and really has more in common with Pxg. They are both seven-year-olds, and Key Biscayne will also say that he was at his best as a six-year-old. He won three times, including the Grade 2 Pan American and Grade 2 BEL Gold Cup. If you want a horse that’s very consistent, Key Biscayne’s not the safest option, as he has his duds from time to time, but he should still be a worthwhile pick.

#8- Ptyrannical (Arindel, ridden by E J Zayas)- A few months ago, Ptyrannical narrowly missed in the BC Mile, being involved in a tight photo for the victory, but being placed third. He went into that race off a win in the Grade 3 Mint Million, for its $1,000.000 purse. These results put him over $1,700.000 in career earnings, but more importantly, have him entering his five-year-old season on top of his game. Look for him, then, to be a lot better than he was when he was here for the PWC Turf last year, and we should be expecting to see him do good things in 2023.

#9- Contradiction (Aer Stables, ridden by E J Wilson)- After running fourth in the 2021 BC Classic, Contradiction was hoping to build on that in 2022, but got off to a very slow start. Graded stakes went by for this one, one after the other, with big nominations being paid for them and not even penny coming back in earnings. That streak only ended on the day after Christmas, and he needed to be dropped into the allowance ranks to do so. While he did win, it hasn’t stopped the trainer from making a big change with Contradiction, moving him here for his turf debut. It’s a tough way to do it!

#10- King Que Niagra (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by J Lezcano)- While this now six-year-old gelding is not one of the horses that ran in the BC last year, he was actually entered into the BC Turf and was scratched. That was a shame, because he was about as hot as one could be going into November, putting together a three-race winning streak that included the United Nations, Sword Dancer, and Hirsch Turf Classic. That’s quite a roll! He would end up racing later in November but did it on the main track and failed to earn a check. Now, he’s back on the turf for the first time since the Hirsch. Can be the same horse he was three and a half months ago?

#11- Boardwalk Empire (Smokey Stover, ridden by P Husbands)- This colt by Con Artist began to hit his peak over the summer last year, and would win the Grade 1 SAR Derby before a couple of strong third place finishes where he was within a length of the winner. Those races were the Grade 3 Dueling Grounds Derby and the Hirsch Turf Classic. In the BC Turf, he did not have one of his best starts, but has run twice since then, rebounding well. On New Year’s Eve, he won the Grade 2 Ft Lauderdale Stakes, which is a nine-furlong race on the grass right here. Yes, this is a far superior field to that, but the 101 SRF that he earned that day cannot be overlooked.

#12- Lets Do It Big Boy (RNP Stables, ridden by T Conner)- Entering his nine-year-old season, this gelding has been doing a lot, and the results keep coming. In November, he was not only in the BC Mile, but finished second in the race, missing out in a photo to Great Bonkers. He went into that race off of back-to-back victories in the Fourstardave Handicap at SAR and the WO Mile at WO, so certainly he is not slowing down. This will be the fourth time that he runs in the PWC Turf as well, placing fourth in both 2019 and 2021 though was tenth last year. His January 7th work is good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a little slower than his mile works in late 2022. Hopefully, that’s just an aberration.

#13- Aerialist (Mb Stables, ridden by A Bocachica)- Here’s another one that did some BC racing in November, and Aerialist would earn the third-place check for his efforts in the BC Turf. In all, it was year that saw four wins in eleven starts, highlighted by the $1,000.000 KD Turf Cup, where he took down his more well-known stablemate, Immoral, in the process. While he’s taken a liking to the especially long distances, he can get results at nine furlongs as well. This is a good horse, but I sense that he could be lost in the shuffle a little bit with those he is running against.

#14- Moonlight Special (Allinthegate, ridden by J J Castellano)- They’ll all be in the gate before this gelding is loaded into it, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a chance. He is making a jump in class, though, as his stake experience has predominantly been in ungraded races. From time to time, he has appeared at the graded level, and comes here off a win in the Grade 3 River City Handicap. Never, has he seen a field close to this, but he has earned the right to take them on. The post will only add to the challenge and chance to impress.

Prediction: 10-3-8-6

— NS

Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES

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