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Gun Runner Heavy Favorite for $16-Million Pegasus World Cup

Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) champion and likely 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner put in another solid workout on Sunday morning and continues to be the heavy betting favorite for the $16-million Pegasus World Cup (G1) on January 27 at Gulfstream Park.

The Steve Asmussen trainee is at betting odds of -140 at BetOnline for the world’s richest horse race.

The colt won five of his six races last year, his lone loss coming in the Dubai World Cup (G1) in March where he was run down late by Arrogate. He reeled off wins in four Grade 1 races after his loss — the Stephen Foster, Whitney, Woodward and Classic — by a combined 24 ¾ lengths.

Sharp Azteca, winner of the Cigar Mile Handicap (G1) in his last start on Dec. 2, is the second choice in early Pegasus World Cup betting at BetOnline at +475.

Trained by Jorge Navarro, the son of Freud won four of seven starts last year and ran second in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1).

Collected was second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last fall, beaten 2 ¼ lengths. He was the second choice in early Pegasus World Cup betting but has drifted up to +650 after his disappointing third-place finish in the San Antonio (G2) at Santa Anita on Dec. 26.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, he won four of his six starts in 2017.

Baffert will also saddle West Coast, who was third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, snapping a five-race winning streak. The colt is listed at +650 in early Pegasus wagering at BetOnline.

The colt won a pair of Grade 1 races in 2017, the Travers at Saratoga and the Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing.

Stellar Wind would be the first female to compete in the Pegasus, now in its second year. The mare was purchased for $6 million by Coolmore out of Keeneland's November Breeding Stock Sale.

But instead of heading to the breeding shed, she was turned over to trainer Chad Brown and looks likely to take on the boys in the Pegasus. She is currently listed at +3500 at BetOnline in early Pegasus World Cup wagering.

She has won six Grade 1 races in her career and was the champion filly in 2015. Her last start was a disappointing eighth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) last fall at Del Mar.

Gulfstream Park is putting on quite a show on Jan. 27. In addition to the Pegasus, the racing card will feature seven supporting stakes races, including the $200,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap (G3) and the $200,000 La Prevoyante H (G3).

2018 Pegasus World Cup Odds
HorseOdds
Gun Runner-140
Sharp Azteca+475
Collected +650
West Coast+650
Seeking the Soul+1500
Toast of New York+2500
Gunnevera+2500
Giant Expectations+2500
Stellar Wind+3500
Fear the Cowboy+3500
War Story+3500
Mind Your Biscuits+4000
Destin+4000
The Player+5000
Giuseppe the Great+5000
Control Group+5500
Prime Attraction+7500
Singing Bullet+7500

Odds as of January 8 at BetOnline

Handicapper Michael Dempsey will be covering the Road to the Kentucky Derby for OddsShark and his full card reports with selections, analysis, fair odds line and wagering recommendations for major tracks can be found daily at turfnsport.com.

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The field is now set for the inaugural running of the $12-million Pegasus World Cup (G1) at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, with a dozen going to the post in what will be the world’s richest race in history.

Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Arrogate is the slight favorite in early wagering at Bovada, currently at odds of even money.

The three-year-old was the winner of the Eclipse Award for top three-year-old of 2016 and has won his last five races for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. The colt will break from the rail with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith in the irons.

California Chrome had a six-race winning streak snapped by Arrogate in the Classic, having to settle for the runner-up spot while beaten a half-length for the top spot.

He won the Eclipse Award for top older male and Horse of the Year despite his loss in the Classic.

He came back to win the Winter Challenge Stakes at Los Alamitos in his last tune-up for the Pegasus, which will be his final career start before heading to the breeding shed.

The Art Sherman trainee is the second choice in early wagering for the Pegasus at Bovada at +125.

The six-year-old took the worst of it in the post position draw as he will break from the 12 post. There is a short run to the first turn at Gulfstream Park in 1 1/8-mile races. Horses breaking from the 12 post have gone just 1-for-18.

A dozen stakeholders each put up $1 million for a slot in the starting gate for the Pegasus World Cup, and there is a $7-million payday awaiting the winner of the race.

At least in the early betting it appears to be a two-horse race. Next in line in the betting are Neolithic and Keen Ice, each at +2500.

Neolithic was second in the Discovery Handicap (G1) at Aqueduct and in his most recent start beat first-level allowance runners.

Keen Ice has the distinction of beating Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the 2015 Travers (G1) at Saratoga, but has not won in his last eight starts. He was second in the Harlan’s Holiday (G3) over the Gulfstream Park main track in his last outing.

The Pegasus World Cup will be televised live on NBC on Saturday.

2017 Pegasus World Cup Odds
HorseOdds
Arrogate+100
California Chrome+125
Noble Bird+2000
Neolithic+2500
Keen Ice+2500
Shaman Ghost+3300
Breaking Lucky+3300
War Story+6600
Eragon+6600
Prayer for Relief+10000
Semper Fortis+15000
War Envoy+20000

Odds courtesy of Bovada

Handicapper Michael Dempsey will be covering the Road to the Kentucky Derby for OddsShark and his full card reports with selections, analysis, fair odds line and wagering recommendations for major tracks can be found daily at turfnsport.com.

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