Could history be made at the 2022 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes? No horse has ever won this race twice but Knicks Go bids to do that at Gulfstream Park on January 29.
First run in 2017, this is a race run on dirt over a distance of nine furlongs. There will be plenty of bets made on this fascinating race that is open to horse aged four years and over. This is a tough race to pick the winner and reading a horse racing betting guide is a great idea.
Last year saw Knicks Go, trained by Brad H. Fox and ridden by Joel Rosario, make all to justify the bookmakers’ odds to win the race.
Knicks Go was clear two furlongs out and was able to have the luxury of being eased down and still take the first prize. The five-year-old was backed by chalk bettors in his next two races but couldn’t justify favouritism and recorded two disappointing fourths. However, Knicks Go improved as 2021 progressed.
Four further races last year saw Knicks Go win on each occasion. July saw a drop down to Grade 3 produce a comfortable win by just over 10 lengths, again making all. A much tougher assignment came the following month with a Grade 1 win in the Whitney Stakes at Saratoga.
Knicks Go went off like a rocket and led by five lengths after just two furlongs. That lead was gradually pegged back but like a true champion, Knicks Go piled on the pressure again and drew away from the field.
After another easy Grade 3 win, Knicks Go upset the odds to win the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic. The Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes will again see gamblers hoping that Knicks Go will attempt to make all and win the race for an unprecedented second time. More history would be made as a six-year-old has never won this race.
As you might expect though, the 2021 winner will face tough opposition at the end of this month. The main challenge is expected to come from the four-year-old Life is Good. The Todd Pletcher runner is only just behind Knicks Go in the betting. It’s not inconceivable that by the time the race begins, this challenger could be the horse bookmakers believe will be the winner.
Initially trained in 2021 by Bob Baffert (the only person to have trained two winners of this race), Life is Good won in Grade 3 and then Grade 2, beating Medina Spirit into second on both occasions. The second of those wins was by eight lengths, so an impressive performance indeed.
Moved to the Todd Pletcher stables, the unbeaten run of Life is Good ended in August. Jackie’s Warrior won the Grade 1 H Allen Jerkins Memorial Stakes by a neck, with the rest of the field well behind. Life is Good had been off the track for 175 days though and had to concede 2lbs to the winner.
A Grade 2 win followed a month later, then came victory in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. This is another runner that loves to make all. It’ll be a battle to do that with Knicks Go in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes. That intrigue makes this a great race to bet on. Life is Good has never raced further than a mile and half a furlong, so can he last out the distance?
Sometimes with two front-runners, they can make life difficult for themselves and give their rivals a chance of success. However, in this race there are three runners who love to get to the front and stay there. Flightline has won three out of three and is trained by John W Sandler. Could he beat the odds and win a second Grade 1 race in a row?
Flightline hasn’t just won all three of his races. All have seen this runner finish at least 11 lengths ahead of the nearest rival. There was a big step up in class when winning the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes on December 26 last year. That was despite receiving a bump from another runner earlier in the race.
In three races, Flightline has run over six and seven furlongs. There has been no sign of Flightline running out of steam in those races. His sire was Tapit and more improvement could be on the way over this longer distance
Those betting each-way could consider Express Train. This John Sheriffs runner won three Grade 2 races last year. Improvement will be needed but if the front runners begin to come back to the field, this runner could live up to its name and finish strongly. This promises to be a great race and kick off another exciting year of US racing.