The fastest of the fast square off Saturday in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park near Miami. This year, the one mile and three-sixteenths event for grass runners, the Pegasus World Cup Turf, highlights a loaded betting undercard that has bettors salivating over the full fields and likely juicy betting returns.

Gun Runner
Gun Runner under Florent Geroux won the 2018 Pegasus World Cup. (Image: Getty)

The Pegasus World Cup field is headed by Accelerate, the morning line favorite at 9/5. But, he again faces the only horse who beat him in 2018. That’s City of Light, tabbed as the early second choice at 5/2. The connections of ten others paid the $500,000 entry fee to gain entry to the Gulfstream starting gate in the one mile and an eighth event on the Gulfstream dirt course.

Win or lose, Accelerate, the Breeders’ Cup Classic winner in November, retires after the race. That’s because he heads for a new career at stud.

Post Positions Key

Both Accelerate –post position five — and City of Light — post position three — have drawn to the inside and avoid being marooned in the outside starting spots. Those drawn outside are likely to be compromised as they are forced to break wide and likely to run a greater distance on the one mile and an eighth Gulfstream Park oval than those drawn closer to the rail.

This is the third running of the unique “pay for play” race won previously by 2016’s super horse Arrogate — narrowly edged by California Chrome for Horse of the Year honors — and last year by Gun Runner, 2017’s Horse of the Year. Both were heavy favorites and easy winners, but this year the race is generally regarded as the most competitive yet. This, despite Accelerate’s six for seven record in 2018. His only blemish: a loss to City of Light April 13 in the Oaklawn Park Handicap.

Top Horses California based

Top jockey Joel Rosario will be astride Accelerate for California conditioner John Sadler. His lone conqueror, City of Light under the tutelage of another California trainer, Mike McCarthy, has Javier Castellano in the irons.

Accelerate is the certain Eclipse Award winner for older horse and a main contender for “Horse of the Year” honors. His chief rival for the prestigious award as the best horse in the U.S. is Triple Crown winner Justify.

The winners will be revealed Thursday night at an awards ceremony, also at Gulfstream Park.

Here are the horses, morning line odds, trainer and jockeys:

Pegasus World Cup:

  1. Bravazo (12-1)— D Wayne Lukas, Luis Saez
  2. Something Awesome (20-1)—Jose Corrales, Edgar Prado
  3. City of Light (5-2) — Mike McCarthy, Javier Castellano
  4. Seeking the Soul (12-1) — Dallas Stewart, John Velazquez
  5. Accelerate (9-5) — John Sadler, Joel Rosario
  6. Tom’s d’Etat (20-1) — Al Stall, Jr., Shaun Bridgmohan
  7. True Timber (30-1) — Kiaran McLaughlin, Joe Bravo
  8. Gunnevera (8-1) — Antonio Sano, irad Ortiz Jr.
  9. Kukulkan (30-1)— Fausto Gutierrez, Frankie Dettori
  10. Audible (10-1) — Todd Pletcher, Flavien Prat
  11.  Imperative (30-1) — Anthony Quartarolo, Tyler Gaffalione
  12. Patternrecognition (10-1) — Chad Brown, Jose Ortiz

Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational:

  1. Magic Wand (9-2) — Aidan O’Brien, Wayne Lordan
  2. Yoshida (5-2)— Bill Mott, Jose Ortiz
  3. Channel Maker (12-1)—Bill Mott, Javier Castellano
  4. Aerolithe (8-1)— Takanori Kikuzawa, Florent Geroux
  5. Next Shares (15-1)— Richard Baltas, Tyler Gafflione
  6. Fahan Mura (30-1) — Vladamir Cerin, Edwin Maldanado
  7. Bricks and Mortar (5-1) — Chad Brown, Irad Ortiz. Jr.
  8. Delta Prince (15-1) Jimmy Jerkens, Frankie Dettori
  9. Catapult (7-2)— John Sadler, Joel Rosario
  10. Dubby Dubbie (30-1)— Bob Hess, Luca Panici