Pegasus World Cup Day Takes Shape: Mucho Gusto, Charlatan Among Invitees

Watch and wager the Pegasus World Cup action Saturday January 23 — from Gulfstream Park — at any VA-Horseplay Off Track Betting Center in Henrico (Breakers), Chesapeake (Buckets) and Collinsville (The Windmill), at any Rosie’s Gaming Emporium in Richmond, New Kent, Vinton, Hampton and Dumfries, and online via,, and Virginia-bred Largent — winner of the 2020 Edward P. Evans and Bert Allen Stakes — has been invited to compete in the Pegasus World Cup Turf.

Let’s take a detour on the road to the Kentucky Derby, and shift our attention to the $3 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) at Gulfstream Park in less than three weeks.

A dozen horses (plus four also-eligibles) were invited Sunday (Jan. 3) to the fifth running of the 1 1/8-mile race for 4-year-olds and up on Jan. 23. To the surprise of hardly anyone – Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has a pair of the likely favorites.

Mucho Gusto, the defending champion, is set to return as is Charlatan, who has finished first in all four of his races, including the Malibu Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita on Dec. 26.

Mucho Gusto ran fourth in the $20 million Saudi Cup on Feb. 29, and didn’t race again until finishing fourth of six in the San Antonio (G2) at Santa Anita on Dec. 26. Owned by Prince Faisal Bin Khaled of Saudi Arabia, the San Antonio was simply a prep for the Pegasus and the 2021 Saudi Cup on Feb. 20.

Breakers Sports Grille at 9127 West Broad Street in Richmond is one of three VA-Horseplay OTBs that will offer Pegasus wagering.

Charlatan, meanwhile, returned with a victory after a seven-month layoff due to an ankle injury. The now 4-year-old won a division of the Arkansas Derby (G1) on May 2, but a post-race medication positive resulted in a disqualification.

The other 10 horses given first preference into the invitational race are Code of Honor, Harpers First Ride, Jesus’ Team, Kiss Today Goodbye, Knicks Go, Mr Freeze, Sharp Samurai, Sleepy Eyes Todd, Tax, and True Timber.

The also-eligibles are Anothertwistafate, Math Wizard, King Guillermo, and Idol.

Also, the invitees for the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) were announced, led by Grade 1 winners Say the Word and Storm the Court, and three horses trained by Todd Pletcher.

Pegasus World Cup

Baffert has saddled the winners in two of the four Word Cups – Arrogate in 2017, Mucho Gusto in 2020.

Knicks Go has won three in a row since being moved to trainer Brad Cox’s stable, including the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Keeneland on Nov. 7.

Jesus’ Team was second in the BC Mile, and ran third in the Preakness (G1) and the Jim Dandy (G2) in 2020.

Sharp Samurai hasn’t won since 2018, but the 7-year-old gelding was third in the BC Mile, and second in the 2020 Pacific Classic (G1), Eddie Read (G2) and City of Hope (G2). He is also on the invite list for the Turf.

Gulfstream Park will play host to the Pegasus World Cup January 23.

Code of Honor, trained by Shug McGaughey, was placed second in the 2019 Kentucky Derby (G1), won the Travers (G1) and the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) via a DQ of Vino Rosso, and took the Westchester (G3) in 2020, with runner-up finishes in the Clark (G1) and Kelso (G2).

True Timber, winner of the Cigar Mile (G1) qt the Big A on Dec. 5, is back for a third World Cup – the 7-year-old was seventh in 2019 and eighth in 2020.

Pegasus World Cup Turf

This will be the third edition of the 1 3/16th-mile event previously won by Bricks and Mortar in 2019 and Zulu Alpha in 2020.

Pletcher’s trio includes Largent, Colonel Liam, and Social Paranoia.

The others with first preference are Anothertwistafate, Breaking the Rules, Cross Border, Doswell, North Dakota, Pixelate, Say the Word, and Sharp Samurai. The also-eligibles are Next Shares, Field Pass, Analyze It, and Greyes Creek.

Largent, a son of Into Mischief, comes into the race off a win in the Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 21. The gelding has won six of nine career starts, including four of five at Gulfstream.

Largent won the Bert Allen Stakes, for Virginia-breds, at Laurel October 9. Photo by Jim McCue.

Colonel Liam won three of five starts in 2020, including the Tropical Park Derby on Dec. 26.

Social Paranoia, 5-year-old, prepped for the race with an allowance optional claiming win at Gulfstream on Dec. 16 off a five-month layoff. He also won the Appleton (G3) and the Poker Stakes (G3) in 2020. was Social Paranoia won the Appleton (G3) at Gulfstream.

Say the Word comes into the Pegasus Turf off a third in the Hollywood Turf Cup (G2) after winning the Northern Dancer Turf (G1) at Woodbine in October. Storm the Court, the 2019 BC Juvenile (G1) winner, has moved to turf and most recently ran seventh in the Hollywood Derby and second in the Mathis Brothers Mile (G2).