“I got the horse right here
His name is Paul Revere
and there’s a guy who says if the weather’s clear
Can do, can do, the guy says the horse can do”
– Writer: Frank Loesser, Guys and Dolls
Considering Louisiana’s four flourishing horse race tracks, there’s no shortage of state fans who’ll keep up with this year’s Pegasus World Cup.
Happening for its sixth year, the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup will take place on Jan. 29 at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida.
Thoroughbreds 4-years-old and up will gallop its 9 ½ furlongs (1 and 1/8 miles) for the 2022 purse of $3 million. Those horses include current favorites Knicks Go (last year’s winner) and Life Is Good.
Named for Greek mythology’s winged and magical horse whose statue stands at the race site, the Pegasus World Cup debuted in 2017, welcomed then by future two-time Pegasus-winning trainer Bob Baffert:
“I think racing usually has a little lull this time of year — We have to wait for spring for something to happen.”
Successor to the Donn Handicap, the Pegasus World Cup is sort of considered a beginning and an ending. On the one hand, it pretty much kicks off a year’s top-stakes race schedule.
Conversely, since the North American horse breeding season starts in Feb., a horse can run one last race before hitting the hay as a stud in retirement.
Here are the first five year’s winners:
- 2021: Knicks Go
- 2020: Mucho Gusto
- 2019: City of Light
- 2018: Gun Runner
- 2017: Arrogate
Inaugural race-winner Arrogate holds the record for the fastest time in the Pegasus World Cup at 1:46.83 and won the initial prize purse of $12 million.
Changes in the fee structure from the initial $1 million per entry have lowered the purse since then.
2022 favorites: Knicks Go and Life Is Good
Even though as of Jan. 14, the Pegasus World Cup wasn’t even half-full, the presence of the two favorites has been confirmed.
Knicks Go makes his final career start this month before retiring to stud. And if that’s not an impetus to finish the race as quickly as possible, what is?
This could go down as Knicks Go’s second and final time to go home with the prize purse. He also won at the Breeders Cup Classic and Whitney Stakes.
Here’s some horse fan trivia: No, Knicks Go wasn’t named for the basketball team. The “K” actually stands for “Korea.”
Considered Knicks Go’s main rival, Life Is Good runs again after last year’s pre-Kentucky Derby injury. He previously took 1st place in the Grade 2 Kelso and Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
In total, nineteen horses have been invited to run in the Pegasus. Also already confirmed is Sir Winston, the 2019 Belmont Stakes winner, who returned to racing after a year’s lay-off and most recently won the Dec. Valedictory (G3).
Ditto for California’s 4-year-old Stiletto Boy, winner of last summer’s Iowa Derby.
As of Jan. 14, other possible entrants include:
- Super Stock
- Eight Rings
- Title Ready
- Dr. Post
- Happy Saver
- Express Train
- Concert Tour
- Midnight Bourbon
According to HorseRacingNation.com, Mandaloun and Midnight Bourbon will compete in the Louisiana Stakes at Fair Grounds on Jan. 22.
Pegasus plans to send out revised invitations on Jan. 23.
A day at the race
For those who choose the excitement of experiencing the race in person, the day offers six other graded stakes races, including the G1 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational on grass.
Ja Rule, Lil Kim, and Mase will perform at the Carousel Club. Hopeful celebrity-spotting visitors may get lucky, as Jennifer Lopez, Pharrell Williams, Vin Diesel, Usher and other famous folk have shown up for the race in previous years.
Individual tickets range from $79 to $1,250.
Watch and wager
Anyone not traveling to watch Knicks Go and Life Is Good run can watch the Pegasus World Cup on NBC. Sites like TVG will also be live-streaming the race. Post time is 5:45 p.m. ET.
Louisiana bettors interested in wagering can access online operators like TVG and BetAmerica, who offer full track odds. The Louisiana Racing Commission regulates and licenses these sites.