The following appeared in The Paulick Report January 24th, shortly after the Pegasus World Cup post position draw. Virginia-bred Stellar Wind, the only female participant in the race, drew post three.
A field of 12 will go to the post in the Pegasus; there are also two horses on the also eligible list.
Below is the field for the Pegasus, in post position order with trainers, jockeys, and morning line odds:
1. Singing Bullet, Dale Romans, Robby Albarado, 30-1
2. West Coast, Bob Baffert, Javier Castellano, 8-1
3. Stellar Wind, Chad Brown, Joel Rosario, 30-1
4. Sharp Azteca, Jorge Navarro, Irad Ortiz Jr., 6-1
5. Collected, Bob Baffert, Mike Smith, 8-1
6. Gunnevera, Antonio Sano, Luis Saez, 15-1
7. Fear the Cowboy, Efren Loza, Tyler Gaffalione, 30-1
8. War Story, Jorge Navarro, Jose Ortiz, 25-1
9. Toast of New York, Jamie Osborne, Frankie Dettori, 20-1
10. Gun Runner, Steve Asmussen, Florent Geroux, 4-5
11. Seeking the Soul, Dallas Stewart, John Velazquez, 25-1
12. Giant Expectations, Peter Eurton, Gary Stevens, 30-1
AE – Giuseppe the Great
AE- Game Over
PEGASUS WORLD CUP INVITATIONAL (G1) FLASH DRAW QUOTES
Trainer Steve Asmussen (Gun Runner, PP#10, 4-5): “We’re good. You know, he drew better than he did in last year’s Pegasus, so we’ll see what we can get done this year. I’ve always said, you don’t know to complain about the post position until after a race is run. It might work out perfectly for him. The horse is doing extremely well and in the capable hands of Florent Geroux. Hopefully we’ll have a big day Saturday and send the 2017 Horse of the Year out on top.”
“I actually was surprised he was on the lead in the [Breeders’ Cup] Classic. It’s just how sharp he was and Florent getting along with him so well. I know those were taxing fractions on a racetrack where speed wasn’t holding, so it worked out well. We’ll let him run his race and see where he ends up.”
“With what the odds are and what they pay, I love the position that Gun Runner is in as far as how everyone has spoken about him since the Breeder’s Cup Classic, and we just want that to continue in any way. He’s a horse that has garnered a lot of respect and is wanting to show his true self. We all know this is his last race and nothing would be better than for him to go out on top.”
Owner Ron Paolucci (Sharp Azteca, PP#4, 6-1; War Story, PP#8, 25-1): “If you drew it up on paper and tried to make the race as fair as you possibly could, I think you’ve got speed on the inside, speed in the middle and speed on the outside. It’s going to be a real rider’s race going into that first turn. That’s going to be the whole thing. Obviously, everybody is going to have their eyes on Gun Runner and Gun Runner is going to have his eye on everybody else.”
“It’s going to be an exciting betting race. West Coast has very good speed. Obviously with Collected drawn on the outside of Sharp Azteca he’s got to make a decision, and with Gary all the way on the outside what’s he going to do? It’s going to be interesting.”
“Being that it’s so close going into that first turn, I think the first three steps are going to be paramount. It’s going to decide who breaks and who takes up. You saw last year with California Chrome, who broke half a step slow, if any of these break a half a step slow they’re going to be really compromised and have to change their strategy.”
“Sharp Azteca is a rocket, so anybody that really wants to try to run with him if he’s intent is really going to cook themselves. Him being on the inside of the other three key speeds, it’s going to either be a very past pace or there’s going to be a lot of grabbing. He does love Gulfstream, and he’s more tactical than people give him credit for. I don’t think you need to run him off his feet early to get his best race. I can see a scenario where Giant Expectations and Gun Runner really send out of there and he sits third and when Gun Runner makes his move he moves with him. It’s going to be very interesting.”
Owner Raffaele Centofanti (Fear the Cowboy, PP#7, 30-1): “We were hoping for the seven. We won with seven last time out and it’s a lucky number we have. For the distance, we really like it. We didn’t want 10 through 12 so we’re really happy, actually. It’s a good start to the weekend.”
“It’s really nice. We come from pretty much the bottom up with this horse, buying him at the sale for $1,500. Seeing him grow from our farm to now has been really nice. To compete in the highest level of racing, it’s a dream come true for us. We’re a small stable land he comes from humble beginnings as well. We shopped around picking the right spots for him, because he wasn’t ready as a 3-year-old, and he’s matured. I think he’s in his best form right now, he’s really happy, and I think we’ve got a good shot. We’re very excited.”
“He loves this track. That’s one of the major things we looked at for choosing to put him in this race. Why not give it a chance? He loves the track, he runs well and I think he deserves it. I think the whole team deserves it and we’re really happy.”
Trainer Dale Romans (Singing Bullet, PP#1, 30-1): “The one hole is fine for us. It’s a very tough race but we have a horse that’s doing good, he’s a big strong colt that’s going in the right direction. You have to throw out his last race when he stumbled so bad out of the gate. When you have a horse that’s doing good, going the right way, anything can happen.”
“I want to study the race a little bit and I’ll sit down with Robby when he gets to town and we’ll talk about it and try to figure out how to pull an upset. We’ve done it a couple of times in this game, maybe we can do one more.”
“You want to be a part of this. I want to keep my streak alive. I like to tell everybody I’ve run in every Pegasus World Cup they’ve had. That’s why we’re here – big events, big races. To be one of the best you’ve got to play with the best.”
Trainer Jamie Osborne (Toast of New York, PP #9; 20-1) – “We’re happy. I had a long chat with Frankie (Dettori) last night – he’s the one who has to do the steering – and he felt that being out there between 6-10 he would be happy enough, so 9 is fine.”
Trainer Jorge Navarro (Sharp Azteca, PP #4; 6-1; War Story, PP #2; 25-1) – “I love them. I couldn’t ask for more. I can’t believe the numbers I got.”
(On Sharp Azteca) “There’s a lot of speed in there. We’ll let them go out, see what they do, and try to go outside and make one move. We don’t need the lead.”
Trainer Antonio Sano (Gunnevera, PP #6; 15-1) – “I like the inside, so 6 is very good. The speed is good for us. Gun Runner outside; Sharp Azteca inside; West Coast inside; Collected inside. It all depends on the jockeys.”
Trainer Efren Loza Jr. (Fear the Cowboy, PP 7, 30-1) “We have a really good position. With the style of the horse, I think that is one of the best positions for that race. Our horse is in really good form.
“We are going to make our own. It all depends on the pace. Tyler (Gaffalione) will have a decision. He can go close to the pace or he can go a little bit easier in the first part of the race and we will try to be running the last half-mile.”
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