HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The Pegasus World Cup undercard includes three graded stakes races and three non-graded stakes, in hopes of eclipsing last year’s Florida Derby day handle of $36 million. In a national media teleconference on Tuesday, The Stronach Group’s Tim Ritvo stated that $40 million was the goal for Saturday’s big day.
One of the big undercard races that is sure to obtain strong betting is the inaugural $400,000 Poseidon Stakes, a race that was created for the Pegasus stakeholders to have back up horses in case their entry in the $12 feature scratched. The race has attracted a field of nine, including to Pegasus also-eligibles, Stanford and Madefromlucky.
Here’s a look at the Poseidon and the three races leading up to the Pegasus that are part of the $1 million guaranteed late Pick-4:
Race 5: Poseidon - $400,000 non-graded; 1 1/8-miles; Post Time: 1:30 p.m.
The Poseidon kicks off a rare Pick-4 in the middle of the card and has plenty of known commodities lineing up in the gate. 4-Stanford (Even) is the overwhelming favorite coming out of an impressive win in the Harlan’s Holiday and looks to be the one to beat. Love the Florida-bred 9-Hy Riverside (12-1) wheeling back after his victory in the Sunshine Millions Classic last week. 3-Imperative (9-2) ships in for trainer Robert Hess, Jr. from the west coast for his 2017 debut race. 6-Madefromlucky (7-2) hasn’t won since his 3-year-old year in the West Virginia Derby. 1- Mylute (10-1) could close into the exotics, but is not your likely winner. Tough to get past the favorite in here.
Post Time Outlook: 1 - Stanford, 2 – Hy Riverside, 3 – Imperative
Race 9: Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint - $125,000 Grade 3; 5-furlongs – Turf ; Post Time: 3:38 p.m.
Solid group of 12 led by former Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner 10-Mongolian Saturday (7-2) will kick off the late Pick-4 into the Pegasus. 11-Power Alert (4-1) draws in top turf jockey Julien Leparoux coming off a non-graded stake win at Tampa. We’ll also use 2-Manhattan Dan (9-2) with Castellano , who is 2-for-2 over the Gulfstream turf. Leaning towards using 1-Rainbow Heir (6-1), impressive in his last outing at GP.
Race 10: LePrevoyante - $200,000 Grade 3; 1 1/2-miles – Turf ; Post Time: 4:14 p.m.
Turf route for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up features two mares that will be tough to leave off your tickets in 12-Suffused (3-1) and 7-Arles (7-2). Suffused makes her 2017 debut after finishing last year strong with a second-place finish in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor at Woodbine. She had two solid starts at Saratoga before ending her 2016 campaign in the Great White North. Aries finished second to Suffused in the Grade 3 Glens Falls at Saratoga and was nosed out of the Grade 3 Red Carpet at Del Mar. This could be her coming out in America party for trainer Graham Motion. 11-Paige (8-1) won a local prep for Christophe Clement. Most likely to only include the top two in the Pick-4.
Post Time Outlook: 1-Suffused, 2 – Arles, 3 - Paige
Race 11: WL McKinley Handicap - $200,000 Grade 3; 1 1/2-miles – Turf ; Post Time: 4:50 p.m.
The lead-up to the Pegasus is the spot to go deep in the Pick-4 as several contenders are win candidates.
The value horses are 10-Mr. Maybe (6-1) with Eclipse winning jock Castellano aboard and 11-Sadler’s Joy (8-1) who attracts Leparoux to ride. 6-Charming Kitten (9-2) returns to the States from a tour in Ireland for trainer Mike Maker and has to be included on the ticket. I’m tossing 8-year-old Twilight Eclipse (4-1) for 1-Taghleeb (6-1) who is 6-2-2-1 at Gulfstream.
Post Time Outlook: 1 – Mr. Maybe, 2 – Charming Kitten, 3 – Sadler’s Joy
Check tomorrow’s print edition for a preview of the Pegasus World Cup.
Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.