October 20, 2021

Pegasus World Cup invitations updated; Saudi Cup the plan for Charlatan

Charlatan romps in the Malibu at Santa Anita © BENOIT PHOTO

Following last week’s announcement that Mucho Gusto was retired with a soft tissue injury, and the defection of Sharp Samurai, Gulfstream Park has extended fresh invitations for the Jan. 23 Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) and its companion race on turf.

Charlatan is still officially on the list for the $3 million Pegasus World Cup, but Bob Baffert said that he’s likely to pass in favor of the $20 million Saudi Cup Feb. 20.

“That’s the plan right now,” Baffert told Santa Anita publicity Sunday. “I’ve got another week to make up my mind, but he’d be coming back a little quick for the other race off a long layoff, and he ran so hard (in his comeback victory in the Dec. 26 Malibu [G1]). I worry about that.

“The thing I like about the Saudi race is it’s a one-turn mile-and-an-eighth and Charlatan is so fast. It’s a challenge, but it’s $20 million.

“That’s a lot of money.”

Math Wizard and King Guillermo, initially also-eligibles, are now in the 12-horse field. Pending the Charlatan decision, the others in the Pegasus dozen are original invitees Code of Honor, Harpers First Ride, Jesus’ Team, Kiss Today Goodbye, Knicks Go, Mr Freeze, Sleepy Eyes Todd, Tax, and True Timber.

Replacing Math Wizard and King Guillermo on the reserve list are Coastal Defense, fourth in both the Fayette (G2) and Clark (G1) for Dale Romans, and the Michael McCarthy-trained Independence Hall, fifth behind Charlatan in the Malibu.

Note that Coastal Defense and Independence Hall are the last two also-eligibles. Still listed above them in order of preference are Anothertwistafate, who is expected in the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), and Idol.

The Pegasus Turf has also had two withdrawals, cross-invitee Sharp Samurai along with Doswell. Thus Next Shares and Field Pass have advanced into the main dozen, comprising Anothertwistafate, Breaking the Rules, Colonel Liam, Cross Border, Largent, North Dakota, Pixelate, Say the Word, Social Paranoia, and Storm the Court.

The Turf reserve list has been overhauled as well. Multiple Grade 2 winner Ride a Comet, hero of Saturday’s Tropical Turf (G3), earned an invitation as the first also-eligible, but trainer Mark Casse told Daily Racing Form that he’s inclined to await the Mar. 6 Kilroe Mile (G1). Admission Office, seventh in his Tropical Turf comeback, was likewise added. Analyze It was removed after missing the Tropical Turf, leaving Chad Brown with original also-eligible Greyes Creek as his only chance. Channel Cat, fifth to Largent in the Ft. Lauderdale (G2), was given the new invite to make a total of four reserves.

The confirmation deadline for connections is Friday at 9 a.m. (ET). Gulfstream plans to issue the final lists of invitations for both Pegasus versions on Sunday.