Looking for a Pegasus World Cup winner? Take your pick:
SLEEPY EYES TOM (PP: 1 ML 8-1) has run 1 1/8 miles three
times in his career. He has a win, a second and a fifth. He hurried to the
front in the pair of in the money races and ran co-pilot in the miss. He's made
his money as a closer or stalker of late, winning his last two from off the
pace at 7 furlongs. Stalking a fast pace is probably his best chance to win.
It's doubtful he can outrun faster horses early and still have the legs to get
to the line first.
COASTAL DEFENSE (PP: 2 ML 15-1) would need many things to go
his way to be crowned the Pegasus champ. He doesn't have the speed to get in
front of the speed burners, an ideal stalking trip is his best path to the
winners' circle. He would need the all the horses that flashed speed at some
point to hustle out and set a torrid pace. With strong late pace figures, he
has the kick to outrun other closers to the wire.
INDEPENDENCE HALL (PP: 3 ML 20-1) is another that wants to
see fast quarter and half-mile fractions. Jockey Flavien Prat would love to see
the fist half in under 47 seconds and be fourth or fifth behind the
pacesetters. With a head of steam, INDEPENDENCE HALL would need to pass tiring
rivals while holding off others with better late legs. He'll need close to a
perfect setup and trip.
KNICKS GO (PP: 4 ML 5/2) has one way to the winners' circle,
get to the front and stay there. Trainer Brad Cox has to hope his horse can get
the lead without too much pressure. It won't take too much to clear the inside
three, but that turn does come quick. He could be in trouble in he has to go
three-wide all the way through the first turn.
JESUS' TEAM (PP: 5 ML 8-1) is in that fat group that needs
the early speed types to lose the race in the opening half by going too fast.
His late pace figures are way to low to compete with the closers. As such,
jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. will need to sit right off the pace, maybe fourth or
fifth, make a power move out of the turn, get a big jump on the late comers and
hope to hold on.
KISS TODAY GOODBYE (PP: 6 ML 10-1) has won two in a row. He
is in good form but still only has one way to win, a fast pace. However, he
would need just about all the other closer and stalkers to run a little faster
than they should too. He has weak early pace and mid-pace figures. He could be
way behind and if the pace isn't fast enough, he could stay there.
TAX (PP: 7 ML 5-1) is coming off his biggest race, winning
handily in his fist start in more than seven-months. Owner Randy Hill and
trainer Danny Gargan tell Horse Racing Radar they hope to be second or third
(they will be), go past KNICKS GO and hold off CODE OF HONOR. We agree, that's
their way to the winners' check.
HARPERS FIRST RIDE (PP: 8 ML 10-1) might be the only horse
in the race with multiple routes to trophy. He's won on the lead and he's won
from the middle and he's won from the back. If the pace is too slow, he'll
crowd KNICKS GO. If the pace is just right, he'll likely tag along with TAX. If
it's too fast, jockey Angel Cruz will likely be the first closer in line to
make his move.
LAST JUDGEMENT (PP: 9 ML 20-1) won his last race leading
from start to finish. The winning effort was way out of character for the
five-year-old. It was the first time in his last 10 starts that he didn't stalk
or close. Trainer Michael Maker's horse has some strong, late pace figures
relative to the rest of the field. Although he wired the field last out, LAST
JUDGEMENT's fractions suggest he doesn't have the early tempo to keep up with
the likes of KNICKS GO. Stay close to the front and use his late push in
probably his way to the W. However, he ran just one week ago. It will be a tall
CODE OF HONOR (PP: 10 ML 9/2) is the class of the field,
running in seven Grade I stakes races in his last 10 starts with a G2 and a
pair of G3s in the other. Of late, he gives horseplayer hope, charging down the
stretch only to fall short. To win, jockey Tyler Gaffalione needs to put his
horse closer to the front than usual. That could be difficult from the 10 spot.
He'll need to be no worse than fifth or sixth out of the first turn and no more
than 3 to 5 lengths from the front or an opening half mile under 47 to have his
MR. FREEZE (PP: 11 ML 15-1) needs to be on/near the lead to
score. He hasn't shown another way in his last 10 outings. Jockey John
Velazquez will need to push MR. FREEZE super-duper hard to clear horses to his
inside before the quick first, left turn. He'll need an opening quarter mile in
about 24 seconds to be in his preferred spot, probably not going to happen.
Otherwise, if he'll need to run the first-quarter mile in 22 and change to make
his way forward and that's too fast.
MATH WIZARD (PP: 12 ML 20-1) looks like the most overmatched
horse in the field, he's not been close in six of his last seven starts. The
only way for him to finish first is with a hot pace that engulfs the rest of
the field. Odds are that won't happen and he'll be the longest shot on the
board at post time.