Saturday is Pegasus World Cup Invitational day and I just downloaded the preliminary form from TVG. Nine horses are bred in Kentucky and one in Florida. Two are bred in my Maryland, my Maryland. World Cup? Not so much.
We do have a competitive field. Let’s start from the beginning.
Sleepy Eyes Todd (Paddy O’Prado) is a regular stakes performer bidding for a hat-trick. Winning the Lafayette was impressive, but I really liked his win in the Mr Prospector where he soundly beat Firenze Fire. He has performed with excellence over today’s distance but I can’t help feeling that two wins over 7 furlongs is not the best prep for this. Jose Ortiz can win with anything, I will give him the benefit of a doubt.
Coastal Defence (Curlin) took the leap from Allowance grade into G2 and G1 late 2020. He can’t win this.
Independece Hall (Constitution) is a horse I like, but might have overestimated. Best looked over.
Knicks Go (Paynter) is in the best form of his life and was so impressive in Breeders’ Dirt Mile. Stretching out to a mile and an eight is an unknown but Rosario will be on the the horse to catch come the stretch.
Jesus’ Team (Tapiture) wasn’t far off Knicks Go at Keeneland. Irad Ortiz Jr will take over in the irons and this one might be a value bet. We know he can cope with the distance and if they can just keep him close to the pace he should be ready to make a move in the stretch.
Kiss Today Goodbye (Cairo Prince) is another four year old worth a look. The form is not that impressive, but he seems to be progressive and might finish in the money.
Tax (Arch) didn’t show much in this last year. He has got some tactical speed and his speed ratings will bring him into the mix. For me it is hard to see him succeed at this level.
Harpers First Ride (Paynter) is in good form and I have seen him on my home track quite a few times. He is overmatched here.
Last Judgment (Congrats) was impressive last time out. Late bloomer?
Code of Honor (Noble Mission) is one of the principals here. Second in the Clark and second in the Kelso he has been knocking on the door for quite a while. In the absence of some of the best horses Code of Honor should have an excellent chance of winning.
Mr Freeze (To Honor and Serve) won’t be far away at the finish. This horse will be flattered by the distance and does not need the lead. Booking of John R Velazquez means a lot.
Math Wizard (Algorithms) is held by most horses in this fiel and won’t win. Saffie Joseph is a very talented trainer but this upset should be hard to pull off.