One of the biggest days of horse racing action before the Triple Crown gets underway is staged at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, as two massive Grade 1s are staged in Florida.
The action on the turf has all the makings of being a classic, with a talented field set to line up in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational. But, which runner will come out on top over the 1 1/8 mile distance?
Race History & Records
The Pegasus World Cup Turf has been one of the standout races on the U.S. calendar since it was introduced as the Gulfstream Park Breeder’s Cup handicap in 1986.
Horses aged four and older are eligible to race in the Grade 1, and it has been run in its current format since the introduction of the Pegasus World Cup in 2019. Einstein and Colonel Liam are the only two-time winners of the race, while William Mott is the leading trainer with five victories. Irad Ortiz has been aboard the winner in each of the last three editions of the Pegasus World Cup Turf.
Pegasus World Cup Turf Leading Contenders
There will be European raiders in the field this weekend, and based on the form lines, it could be incredibly challenging to overlook Aidan O’Brien’s Warm Heart. The four-year-old was sensational throughout last season, winning in Grade 1 company over a mile and a half in both the G1 Yorkshire Oaks and G1 Prix Vermeille.
She was unfortunate at the Breeders’ Cup in November, as she was beaten on the line by Inspiral in the Filly & Mare Turf. Warm Heart was once again in solid order when third in the G1 Hong Kong Vase, and if at her best this weekend, she should be very hard to overlook.
Integration is the runner for Claude McGaughey III this weekend, and he could be the big danger to the market leader based on the odds available. The four-year-old has won on each of his three starts over turf, including most recently when producing a stunning effort to beat I’m Very Busy in the G2 Hill Prince over 1 1/8 miles at Aqueduct.
He has won twice on the distance, and has achieved speed ratings of 103 on both efforts. More will be needed on his first start in Grade 1 company this weekend, but he appears incredibly progressive.
Mark Casse will run Webslinger in the Pegasus World Cup Turf this weekend. The four-year-old has been extremely competitive in graded company on the turf, finishing in the top three in each of his previous three starts.
He produced a career-best effort when finishing second over 1 1/8 miles in the G1 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar last season, scoring a speed rating of 105. Webslinger is a very likable runner at this level, and he could be a solid play for exotics this weekend.
Pegasus World Cup Turf Prediction
Warm Heart is considerably the classiest horse in this field, and she will take an awful lot of beating if repeating the form that she showed when winning Grade 1s in the UK and France last year.
Webslinger looks a solid play for exotics, while Adhamo could outrun his odds for Chad Brown stepping back up to 1 1/8 miles for the first time since finishing a close third in the G1 Turf Classic Stakes at Churchill Downs in 2022.
Pick: Warm Heart (+165) AT BETUS
Trifecta Box: (9) Warm Heart/ (5) Webslinger/ (7) Adhamo