Pegasus World Cup undercard picks, jockey analysis

There are 11 races at Gulfstream Park before the richest race in the world, the Pegasus World Cup, takes place this Saturday. We’ll look at a few of them here and search for some solid betting opportunities. We’ll also try to put this information to use for the purposes of FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game. Good luck!


Gulfstream Race 7 (post time 2:32 p.m. EST)

The Ladies’ Turf Sprint Stakes

There are plenty of wide-open races on this card, and the first of two turf sprint stakes is no exception. I went for a big upset with #2 MOON RIVER (20-1) for trainer Graham Motion and jockey Joel Rosario. She’ll need to improve on her current U.S. form, but off her last race in which she broke slowly and attempted to close into a slow pace, she’s worthy of another chance at a square price.

#10 TRIPLE CHELSEA (6-1) beat several of these in the Lightning City Handicap at Tampa Bay Downs last time out. However, she got a supersonic pace to close into that day and has never raced over this course. Yet there’s a lot to be a said for a horse that manages to find the wire first on a regular basis (5-for-9 lifetime). Wilmer Garcia, who rode at just 11% last year, ships in for the mount.

#11 NITE DELIGHT, who nearly wired the Lightning City with a bold frontrunning gambit, reunites with Paco Lopez here. She has the speed to overcome this post and her solid, consistent speed figures put her right in the hunt.

The play: $2 exacta box 2/10/11, $3 win/place 2, $1 exacta box 10/11 ($20)


Gulfstream Race 9 (post time 3:38 p.m. EST)

The Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint Stakes

#1 RAINBOW HEIR (6-1) ran a big one in the Gin Rummy Champ Stakes at Gulfstream Park West last time, out-gaming the classy Summation Time to the wire. He also ran well in a previous outing going short on grass, taking second in the Troy Stakes at Saratoga. Trevor McCarthy will have to work out a good trip from the rail and not get boxed in.

#8 SUPER SPENDER (10-1) didn’t fire in his latest start at Tampa Bay, but he’s shown an affinity for this course (4-for-6 lifetime). He did win his prior two starts, albeit over slightly lesser, with sharp speed figures. Nik Juarez has been riding well at the meet (up to 19%); look for him to be rolling late aboard this one.

#11 POWER ALERT (4-1) would be the class of the field were it not for MONGOLIAN SATURDAY (whose best days appear to be behind him). He crushed a similar field at Tampa last time out and switches to world-class pilot Julien Leparoux today. His 4-for-4 record at Gulfstream adds to the appeal. He’ll just have to avoid getting mixed up in a speed duel that could open the door for either of the top two to sweep by late.

#2 MANHATTAN DAN (9-2) will probably be an underlay in his first start for Todd Pletcher (Javier Castellano aboard). Though he’s expected to improve under Pletcher’s tutelage, he may be rusty for his first try since April. Move him up if one of the top three scratches.

The play: $2 exacta box 1/8/11 ($12)


Gulfstream Race 11 (post time 4:50 p.m. EST)

The Grade III W. L. McKnight Handicap

#1 TAGHLEEB (6-1) was last seen winning the two-mile Allen Jerkens Stakes thanks to a brilliant ride by Tyler Gaffalione. Gaffalione has the mount once more, and though TAGHLEEB shortens up to 1 1/2-miles here, that should be no problem based on his prior form. He’s likely to get another ground-saving trip from the rail post today, and that could make all the difference.

#6 CHARMING KITTEN (9-2) returns to the states for his first start since August after a disappointing overseas campaign. Under John Velazquez, CHARMING KITTEN managed to win the last rendition of this race (December of 2015) as well as last year’s Allen Jerkens to boost his record at Gulfstream to 8-4-2-0. ‘KITTEN will go from one Hall-of-Famer to another as he picks up Mike Smith today.

#2 MONTCLAIR (10-1) has made a habit of picking up minor checks lately. In fact, his most recent win came over this course last February (seven starts ago). However, he appears to be in peak form as he comes off a game runner-up finish in the Allen Jerkens in his first start for Armando De la cerda. Edgar Prado maintains the mount.

#4 DANISH DYNAFORMER (5-1) rarely wins outside of Woodbine but he does own a maiden victory here. This is a step down in class for him and his speed figures are right where they need to be. Joel Rosario has the call.

The play: $3 exacta 1,6/1,2,4,6 ($18)


DFJ analysis: The Pegasus itself is a two-horse race on paper, and the riders of ARROGATE and CALIFORNIA CHROME (Mike Smith and Victor Espinoza, respectively) have a grand total of three mounts on Saturday. We’ll have to dig deep into the program to look for the best jockeys to fill out our stable.

Julien Leparoux ($9,000) appears to have a leg-up on his competition. He rides in nine races and has five mounts priced at 5-1 or below; an incredible advantage by comparison.

You could also take a leap of faith with Joel Rosario ($9,000). He rides a pair of live horses for Motion (MOON RIVER and Arles) and has DANISH DYNAFORMER in the McKnight to go with four other mounts.

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