City of Light should top Accelerate again in Pegasus World Cup

The highly-anticipated Grade I, $9 million Pegasus World Cup will finally take place this Saturday at Gulfstream Park. A star-studded field of 12 will contest the 1 1/8-mile event that’s already become a red-letter day on the horse racing calendar. Post time for the Pegasus World Cup, the finale on a 12-race program loaded with stakes, is 5:36 p.m. EST. In addition to watching and wagering, be sure to get involved in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!

#3 CITY OF LIGHT (5-2) is the top selection in the lucrative Pegasus World Cup. In his most recent start, he set a strong pace in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile but won easily. That race seemed to take little out of him based on his recent bullet work over this course.

The speedy son of Quality Road was the last to beat ACCELERATE when those two tussled the length of the stretch in the Oaklawn Handicap last April. CITY OF LIGHT is versatile enough to make his own racing luck. He should be able to sit just behind #12 PATTERNRECOGNITION and pick that one off before ACCELERATE comes to tackle him. It’s important that Javier Castellano wins that chess match with Joel Rosario. There is perhaps no better rider for CITY OF LIGHT in the Pegasus World Cup than Castellano.

#5 ACCELERATE (9-5, morning-line favorite) was 6-for-7 in 2018, with his only loss coming to CITY OF LIGHT. Highlights of his year included a 12-length decimation of the Pacific Classic and gusty victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic over GUNNEVERA. ACCELERATE consistently delivers strong speed figures and has trained well going into this. He and Rosario are a logical alternative to the top choice.

#8 GUNNEVERA (8-1) didn’t win a stakes race last year but his closing kick must be respected. He was third in this race last year, albeit he was well-beaten, and is 9-4-2-2 all-time over this circuit. Irad Ortiz Jr. will be aboard.

#1 BRAVAZO (12-1) has gone nearly a year without a victory, dating back to February’s Risen Star Stakes. However, he fires a good shot nearly every time. BRAVAZO placed in five Grade Is in 2018, and was close to upsetting both the Preakness and, when last seen, the Clark. Luis Saez, Gulfstream’s leading jockey, has the assignment.

The play: $5 trifecta 3,5/3,5/1,8 ($20)

DFJ analysis: Both Javier Castellano and Joel Rosario look like solid additions to the stable this Saturday. Castellano rides CITY OF LIGHT in the Pegasus World Cup and Channel Maker in the Pegasus Turf. He has seven additional mounts, four of which are 4-1 or below on the morning-line. The best of that bunch appears to be Dream Pauline (3-1) in the Hurricane Bertie.

Rosario will be aboard ACCELERATE in the Pegasus and Catapult in the Pegasus Turf, so he could easily hit the board in both events. He has seven other mounts as well, though most are longshots. The notable exception is Stormy Liberal (8-5) in the Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint.

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