With All Eyes On The $3 Million Pegasus World Cup, Bettors Should Look To The Undercard For Some Excitement On The Turf

Written By Dave Bontempo on January 28, 2022 - Last Updated on January 29, 2022
Horses come out of the gate at Gulfstream Park.

From a spectator standpoint, the $3 Million Pegasus World Cup stakes late Saturday afternoon will really be something. For bettors who want to take advantage of Gulfstream Park’s all-day wagering carnival via TVG, the preceding turf race could be something else.

That’s the 1/1-8-mile Pegasus World Cup Turf for $1 million. This undercard race, with a post time of about 4:49 p.m. EST, has the ingredients bettors savor:

  • A large field of 12
  • Class horses
  • Layoff variable
  • The turf

Roughly an hour before Knicks Go and Life Is Good command center stage in the main event, which has been listed with a post time anywhere between 5:35 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. EST, let’s look closer at this underrated jewel. The Pegasus World Cup Turf is indicative of many races throughout the day that should yield handsome payoffs. The entire card has $5.2 million of graded stakes races, big fields in nongraded events and a packed program that starts at 11:30 a.m. EST.

Pegasus turf race overview of early contenders

Colonel Liam is the defending champion. How will he handle a nearly eight-month layoff? He was beaten soundly in the Manhattan at Belmont Park in June. After being in a good position around the final turn, he was outgunned by race winner Domestic Spending. No prep race since. The layoff is a concern. A win over the Gulfstream surface is an edge. A strong horse, but vulnerable.

Sacred Life has been steadily improving. Broke through to win the Grade III Knickerbocker at Belmont Park and ran a good second in the Seabiscuit Handicap at Del Mar in November. Although beaten at 4-5, showed life down the lane. He was nudged by Field Pass, who is in this race.

You have to love the effort from Field Pass in holding off Sacred Life. The horses were practically in a photo finish. It’s going to be hard to separate them.

Never Surprised took the same path as Colonel Liam did last year en route to this race. He scored a gate-to-wire triumph by 6 1/4 lengths in the $100,000 Tropical Park Derby at Gulfstream Park. There is an advantage to winning a race over the host track. The outside post position of No. 12 is not ideal, but this is a quality horse. Alongside Colonel Liam, this could be an enticing exacta combination. Never Surprised hasn’t been able to win in graded stakes. That could be a knock.

Hit the Road finished third in the Grade II City of Hope. Will need to make a run at the pack sooner if he’s going to have a shot at the prize.

Channel Maker ran an excellent fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. At 50-1, he took the lead into the final turn before giving way. That was 1/1-2 miles. This is 3-8 of a mile shorter. If he can show the same kind of fire in this race, he can be in it down the lane. Live long shot.

Cross Border scored a 1/1-16 mile victory in the Prairie Bayou at Turfway Park in December.

Doswell won the Ft. Lauderdale, which is a major prep for this race.

Betting strategies for Pegasus World Cup Turf race

Given the wide-open nature of this race, betting angles and considerations encourage bettors to spread their money. Here are some examples:


There is value on every horse in this race, making a win bet a sensible choice. Colonel Liam and Never Surprised keep one another from running away with the betting pool. Whomever you like on the win line, that should be your first wager. For those who prefer a long shot, this is the best choice.

Exacta makes sense in this race

In addition, you’ll find value in exacta boxes. What’s nice about this wager is that bettors can check projected payouts before making the bet. Exacta boxes are practically a must as opposed to straight exactas. An exacta box wager with Colonel Liam (6) and Never Surprised (12) wins whether the finishing order is 6-12 or 12-6.

Trifecta combinations

Trifecta boxes will pay fairly well if either of the favorites runs out of the money. For $6, a $1 box covers three horses in any finishing order. Some bettors who like both favorites will throw in companion horses in two different boxes, e.g., a $1 trifecta box 6-12-8 or 6-12-5. If you like the favorites, don’t do too many of these; you will end up spreading around too much money for the same rate of return on each ticket.

Trifecta keys are where the wagering gets fun. Here’s how a $1 trifecta key with your favorite horse running first and second works, for $12.

Say your pick is the 6 and you also like the 12, 5 and the 8.
“Key” the 6 in the first position with the 12, 5 and 8 filling the second and third spots.
“Key” the 6 in the second position with the 12, 5 and 8 running first and third.

Lean toward this bet if you have a conviction on a particular horse, combined with a feeling that at least one long shot can run in the money.

Superfecta strategies

While superfecta bets are glorious, they are expensive. A bettor has to nail the top four finishers in exact order. A $1 superfecta box costs $24 and covers four horses.

Here’s a more economical option. Make a stand on two horses in the first two spots and two others for third and fourth. Cost: $4.

The ticket looks like this:
$1 superfecta 6,12 with 6,12, with 5, 8 with 5-8.
Take the same 6-12 combination and add one more horse? Only $6.

For even lighter exposure and payout, there’s the 10-cent superfecta, where available. The key horse on top of four others in a 10-center costs only $2.40. Add $2.40 more to put the horse second.

Another option for 10-cent superfectas is a five-horse box. It costs $12.

Much of the betting strategy in this event applies to the earlier races on the card. Many medium and even some large long shots are going to hit the board.

Pegasus World Cup race lineup and approximate post times

Here’s a look at the approximate post times and the number of entries for the day. They can change, so check closer to post time, but this is an overview of the big fields and financial opportunities in these races.

La Prevoyante: 1/1-2 miles, $150,000
Race 5, about 1:27 p.m., nine entries

William McKnight: 1/1-2 miles, $200,000
Race 7, about 2:31 p.m., with 12 entries

Inside Information: seven furlongs, $200,000
Race 8 at about 3:03 p.m., with 10 entries

Filly and Mare Turf : 1/1-6 miles, $500,000
Race 9, at approximately 3:36 p.m. EST, with 11 entries

Fred Hooper: one mile, $150,000
Race 10, about 4:12 p.m., nine horses.

Bettors can get even more on Friday at Gulfstream Park

The party starts one day early with the Stronach 5 on Friday. This is the most bettor-friendly pool in the industry, featuring a low 12% takeout. Bettors must pick the winners of all five races.

Friday’s races and sequence

Leg 1 –Laurel, Race 9: (10 entries, 1/1-16 mile) 4:16 EST, 1:16 PST
Leg 2 –Santa Anita, Race 3: (seven entries, one mile) 4:33 EST, 1:33 PST
Leg 3 – Gulfstream, Race 9: (12 entries, one-mile turf) 4:42 EST, 1:42 PST
Leg 4 – Golden Gate, Race 3: (eight entries, six furlongs) 4:49 EST, 1:49 PST
Leg 5 –Santa Anita, Race 4: (seven entries, six furlongs turf) 5:04 EST, 5:04 PST

Photo by AP | Wilfredo Lee
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Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, who writes extensively on the emergence of legalized sports betting, is a recipient of the Sam Taub Award for Broadcast Excellence by the Boxing Writers Association of America. He has broadcast boxing for all the major networks over the last four decades and is a member of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame as well as the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame. His work also can be seen at the Press of Atlantic City and iGamingPlayer.

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