News and STORIES

Omaha Beach And Others Draw Posts For Pegasus World Cup

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Friday January 24, 2020
The favored Omaha Beach has drawn post 5 for the Jan. 25 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes Presented by Runhappy (G1) at Gulfstream Park. The purse for the Pegasus was reduced from $6 million last year to $3 million this year, with no entry fee.

While the post is not normally a highly important aspect of the race, it is different for the Pegasus. It has a large field and a short run to the first turn in a 1 1/8-mile race, making the post number more important. 

Those who will break from the outside posts have a more difficult task. 

The posts were drawn on Wednesday for the 12 starters in the fourth edition of the Pegasus.

Another change for the Pegasus this year is that horses will not be able to use medication. This includes the race-day medication Lasix, given for anti-bleeding purposes. 

Unlucky Bodexpress

Top Racing, Global Thoroughbreds, and GDS Racing Stable's Bodexpress was the unlucky one in the draw this year. This continues an unfortunate pattern for the son of Bodemeister, who ran in the Preakness Stakes (G1) as a maiden and reared at the start. 

In that race, he lost jockey John Velazques and circled the track without a rider. 

"He doesn't get a lot of breaks," trainer Gustavo Delgado said. "We expected him to be outside but not that far. He's showing some speed from the gate, and that's what you'll need to win from post 12, so it's not something we'll worry about too much. 

"It's something you can't control. Sometimes what seems like bad news turns out to be good news."

Fox Hill Farms' Omaha Beach, the 7-5 morning-line favorite, should not have a problem with post 5. The Pegasus will be the final start of his multiple Grade 1-winning career. 

"Five is a great number," trainer Richard Mandella said. "I'm just happy to be in there."

The Post Number

One can see the effects of the post number on horses by reviewing the results of previous editions of the race. Those who broke from posts 9 through 12 had a tougher time. 

Some years, horsemen already felt like they were defeated prior to the race, just because of the post that was drawn.

Only one out of the 12 horses who drew those posts finished in the top three. Gun Runner scored the 2018 Pegasus from post 10. The only other close horse was Keen Ice, who finished fourth in the 2017 Pegasus from post 9.

Gun Runner was coming into the race off a victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) and was a couple of days away from being named the 2017 Horse of the Year. He entered into that race with 6-5 odds.

Two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome drew post 12 for the inaugural Pegasus in 2017, and he was not able to finish ahead of ninth.

Others in the Field

Robert P. Donaldson's Spun to Run beat Omaha Beach in the Big Ass Fans Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1) by 2 3/4 lengths, and he ended up drawing post 9 for this year's edition.

"He has tactical speed. (Jockey Javier Castellano) will get him out of there," Donaldson said. "Going into the first turn, he has enough speed to get where he needs to be."

Mucho Gusto, trained by Bob Baffert, will also run in the race. He drew post 10.

"I didn't want to be in the one hole, even though I won with the one hole (in the 2017 Pegasus with Arrogate ), but wherever you are, if you don't break there, it's curtains," Baffert said. "It's going to be a mad dash to the first turn. He breaks well and is speedy so hopefully he'll be fine. The break will be the key for everyone. It's exaggerated because of the short run to the turn."