Pegasus World Cup Invitational

December 5, 2016

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL The Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park will be held on January 28th, 2017. 


The first ever running of the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) is just the start of what organizers hope will be a horse race that contends with the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes and Breeders’ Cup.


A dozen stakeholders invested $1 million for a spot in the starting gate in the world’s richest Thoroughbred horse race on Saturday, Jan. 28. The Pegasus World Cup will anchor a spectacular day of racing featuring six supporting stakes, three of them graded.


One of the stakeholders, California Chrome LLC, is expected to bring the 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome from his West Coast base for the Pegasus World Cup to kick off his 6-year-old campaign and provide the stage for a potential showdown with multiple Grade 1-winning 3-year-old Arrogate, who defeated California Chrome in the Nov. 5 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).


Beyond California Chrome and Shaman Ghost, a contender owned by Stronach’s Adena Springs, most of the other stakeholders are examining their options such as selling or leasing their spot, purchasing all or part of a horse, or leasing one from another owner.


Juddmonte Farms, the owner of Arrogate, has the most attractive horse among non-stakeholders. Others contenders emerged last weekend from the Cigar Mile (G1), where Paul Pompa’s Connect edged Divining Rod by a nose, and the Native Diver (G3), won impressively by Grade 1 winner Midnight Storm.


“I'm going to let him hang out for a little bit and recover from that race, then take him down to Palm Meadows,” said Connect’s trainer Chad Brown, who winters at Gulfstream Park satellite training center in Palm Beach County. “Obviously, we're going to take a look at this Pegasus Cup, but there's no firm plans to participate at this point. I'll get him to Florida, see how he's training, and speak to Paul Pompa about it as the month of December goes on.”


Trainer Eric Guillot, spending his first winter in South Florida, trains a Pegasus prospect in McCormick Racing and Southern Equine Stable’s Laoban. The 3-year-old Uncle Mo colt broke his maiden with a 27-1 upset of the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) July 30 at Saratoga. He hasn’t run since finishing 12th behind Arrogate’s record-setting Travers (G1) triumph Aug. 27.


“I got a couple calls from different people about him. I’m planning on running him the third week of December and go from there,” Guillot said. “I think it’s going to be a supply and demand situation. I think the longer a man holds out the cards are in my hand, so to speak.”


Laoban has been working at Palm Meadows for his return, which Guillot said could come in either a mid-December allowance or the $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday (G3) Dec. 17.


“He’s a legitimate horse. He would have run good in the Travers if he didn’t hurt himself the week before. We plan on running the third week in December. I’ve got a couple options but I’m not sure what I’m going to do with him,” Guillot said. “It’s going to matter the distance and the surface and who’s running, but he’ll definitely need a prep before the Pegasus. It is something that we’re interested in but I think it’s too early to talk about details at this point. I think we’ll be sitting in the driver’s seat if we can get a good race under his belt.”


Interest has also been shown in Mr. Jordan, winner of the 2015 Pegasus Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park trained by longtime Florida horseman Eddie Plesa Jr. Also based at Palm Meadows, the 4-year-old gelding has won two straight races including the Sunshine Millions Classic Preview Nov. 12 at Gulfstream Park West.


The $250,000 Sunshine Millions Classic, where Mr. Jordan would be the likely favorite, is run one week before the Pegasus World Cup on the Jan. 21 Sunshine Millions Day program prior to Gulfstream Park hosting the 46th annual Eclipse Awards.


“I’ve had somebody ask if I had any interest, but am I interested in it? It would all come down to monetary consideration. Am I going to win the race? No. Could I be a participant? I guess,” Plesa said. “They’re looking at having 12 horses in the race so I’m sure everybody that’s got a spot is going to look to make the best deal they can to get somebody to represent them in whatever deal they can make.”


Other stakeholders for the Pegasus are Reddam Racing LLC, Ronald and Jerry Frankel, Jim McIngvale, Coolmore Partnership, Mohammed Faissal al Saud and Earle Macke LLC, Starlight Pegasus Partners, Dan Schafer, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Rosedown Racing Stables and Ruis Racing LLC.


“To me just sitting on the sidelines watching, it’s a great concept,” Plesa said. “I really, really hope things turn out the way they’d like to see them and that they get 12 horses in there and there’s going to be excitement on all 12 horses at some level and it makes a great day for horse racing.”