In the days leading up to the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida, usracing.com will profile the horses in the race set for Jan. 23. The profiles will be updated on Jan. 20 with morning-line odds, post positions and jockeys.
By Ed McNamara
Jan 22, 2021 Saturday's $3 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park, a key bridge from the Breeders' Cup Classic to next month's Saudi Cup and the Dubai World Cup in March, tops the weekend horse racing. Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable and Swilcan Stable's Vequist, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2020, stands out among 30 nominees as she is poised to launch her sophomore season in the $200,000 Davona.
If this weak edition of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational deserved to be a Grade 1, $3 million race, Coastal Defense wouldn’t belong in it. Easy rummy rules. He’s a 5-year-old who’s 2-for-9 lifetime and finished fourth in his last two races, the Clark and Fayette Stakes.
In his defense, he missed by only about two lengths in the Clark and by about a length in the Fayette, and Dale Romans’ horses often outrun their odds in big races. He’s been close to Pegasus entrants Mr Freeze (also trained by Romans) and Code of Honor, who’ll be one of the top three choices. Coastal Defense even finished one spot ahead of Mr Freeze in the Clark. So that data may tempt longshot players.
His late move was too little, too late in the Clark, when the chart footnote says he was “unprepared for the start.” If he runs a similar race in the Pegasus, fourth would be his ceiling. I won’t be playing him.
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Pegasus World Cup Profile: Coastal Defense
Post position: TBD
Trainer: Dale Romans
Jockey: Joe Talamo
Owner: Albaugh Family Stables, Helen K. Groves Revocable Trust
Career record: 9-2-2-0
Career earnings: $155,266
Top Equibase speed figure: 108
Pedigree: Curlin-Trensa, by Giant’s Causeway
Running style: Closer
Notes: Romans ran a distant second with Mr Freeze in last year’s Pegasus, and he’s never afraid to take a shot. Remember his deep closer Keen Ice’s upset of Triple Crown hero American Pharoah in the 2015 Travers? … Coastal Defense breezed 4 furlongs in a quick 47.11 seconds Jan. 16 at Gulfstream … Coastal Defense didn’t debut until he was 4. “He was hurt as a 2-year-old and as a 3-year-old,” Romans said. “But we always knew he was a good horse, and he started to come around at the end of the year.”
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Essential Quality, winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and last year's 2-year-old champion, is among 326 3-year-old thoroughbreds made eligible during the early nomination period to compete in this year's Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
Breeders Cup Horse Racing
Other top horses include Fire At Will, Greatest Honor, Keepmeinmind, Life Is Good, Medina Spirit and Midnight Bourbon.
Triple Cup Horse Racing Betting
The total is down 21 horses from last year's 347 that were nominated during the early stage, which costs $600 per horse and closed Jan. 23. The late period, requiring a payment of $6,000, continues through March 29.
Thirteen fillies, including BC Juvenile Fillies winner and last year's champion 2-year-old filly Vequist, also are among the early nominees for the Triple Crown series, which opens with the Kentucky Derby on May 1. The Preakness is scheduled for May 15, and the Belmont is set for June 5.
Fourteen horses from outside the United States are nominated, led by Canada with seven.
Two-time Derby winner Todd Pletcher led all trainers with 45 nominations, followed by six-time Derby winner Bob Baffert (23), Steve Asmussen (22) and Chad Brown (18).
Godolphin led all individual owners with 11 horses, followed by Calumet Farm owner Brad Kelly with 10. Godolphin owns Essential Quality, who is trained by Brad Cox.
Into Mischief was the leading sire, with 20 offspring nominated.