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Accelerate Favored in 2019 Pegasus World Cup: Is He A Good Bet?

Pegasus
Pegasus Statue at Gulfstream Park where the richest race in America is run. Photo by Benbrant (Wiki Commons) [CC License]
  • The Pegasus World Cup will be run January 28 at Gulfstream Park
  • Accelerate is an enormous favorite
  • There is value on other contenders

The third annual Pegasus World Cup, a mile-and-an-eighth competition that has changed the horse racing calendar, is scheduled for January 28.

Breeders Cup Classic winner Accelerate is an overwhelming favorite, but there are several other contenders at juicy prices worth considering.

Before the Pegasus existed there was a lull in horse racing between the Breeders Cup, the first weekend in November, and top Kentucky Derby prep races, primarily in March and April.

With a purse in year one of $12 million, and $16 million last year, two of the most dominant horses in the world, Arrogate and Gun Runner opted in and won. Because this year’s crop is competing for only $9 million, the field is less proven aside from Accelerate.

Let’s take a look at the early odds from BetOnline.

Odds to Win 2019 Pegasus World Cup

Horse Odds to Win 2019 Pegasus World Cup at BetOnline
Accelerate +150
City of Light +400
McKinzie +700
Audible +900
Gunnevera +1000
Patternrecognition +1200
Bravazo +1400
Seeking the Soul +1600
True Timber +2500
Kukulkan +5000
Something Awesome +5000
Tom’s D’Etat +5000
Unbridled Juan +5000

*Odds taken 1/13

Accelerate

A rare horse who has gotten better and continued to race, instead of heading to the breeding shed, Accelerate makes his six-year-old debut having won 10 races in 22 tries.

He has won four straight including the Pacific Classic in August, and Breeders Cup Classic in November. He made his name when defeating Arrogate in the 2017 San Diego Handicap.

Accelerate has won five grade one races, and is three for four at this distance. He has never run in Florida, and is one for two all-time outside of California, but is clearly the most accomplished horse in the race and will be a deserving favorite.

The question is the price, and 3/2 means he needs to prosper over 40% of the time to make it a profitable play. Those aren’t outrageous odds in this field, but let’s explore a few other options.

Challengers

City of Light upset Accelerate in April’s Oaklawn Handicap in a tight race at this distance. Accelerate came back to beat City of Light rather easily in May’s Gold Cup at Santa Anita over a mile-and-a-quarter.

After finishing second to Whitmore at Saratoga in the Forego Stakes, City of Light won the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile. The five year old has won five of 10 starts with four second place finishes, and one third.

McKinzie, trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Mike Smith, was three-for-three and headed towards the Kentucky Derby last year when he was injured after finishing second at the San Felipe Stakes. He returned to win the Pennsylvania Derby in September, but finished up the track in the Breeders Cup Classic. He won the Malibu Stakes December 26 at Santa Anita as the favorite.

Audible began his career with four wins in five races including the Florida Derby. That made him a well respected 7/1 at the Kentucky Derby. He finished third behind eventual Triple Crown winner Justify. After six months off he won a stakes race at Churchill Downs, and in December finished second at Gulfstream in a grade two event.

Longshot

Bravazo is really talented and consistently solid.

However, he has won three times in 16 races and his most impressive efforts never end up in the winner’s circle. He finished second at the Preakness, Haskell, and Clark Handicap, while finishing third in the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile.

At this price he has a shot, but perhaps it is better to play him in the back of exactas and trifectas.

Kukulkan is the ultimate wildcard. He is unbeaten in 14 races, but the quality of competition in Mexico is either bad or a complete unknown. His one race in America was great, but again the other horses in the Clasico del Caribe at Gulfstream Park on December 8 were underwhelming.

There are worse stabs than Kukulkan, but rarely do you go from Single-A to the World Series.

The Bet

Accelerate may end up being even money or worse and that means taking 3/2 now isn’t a bad option. That said, who wants to take that short a price? City of Light has beaten him before, and 4/1 is reasonable. We’ll play for the minor upset in what is a field mostly of pretenders.

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Dave gave up on his athletic career at the tender age of 14 due to a lack of ability. Thankfully, that wasn't the end of the road for Dave and sports, however. He has been a sports journalist for 15 years, broadcasting and writing about college and pro sports for outlets across the U.S. and Canada.