Nine out of 12 places already taken for $16m Pegasus at Gulfstream Park
The field is crystallising for the world's richest race, the Pegasus World Cup, with nine of the 12 available slots for the $16 million event reportedly tied up before last weekend's deadline.
According to the Daily Racing Form, the three remaining slots are to be purchased by the Stronach Group, which organises the January 27 contest, to market to potential latecomers.
Among those set to take part are Gun Runner, Collected and West Coast – 1-2-3 in last month's Breeders' Cup Classic – plus the Jamie Osborne-trained Toast Of New York, who made a winning comeback after a 1,130-day layoff at Lingfield last week. The six-year-old's owners Al Shaqab have cut a deal with US-based owner Dean Reeves to take his spot.
On the other hand, Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Forever Unbridled has been ruled out, her owner Charles Fipke instead fielding Clark Handicap winner Seeking The Soul. Both horses are trained by Dallas Stewart.
Slot buyers were required to put up $350,000 on Friday, with the $650,000 balance due in the new year for a race that, courtesy of the Stronach organisation, has received a $4m prize boost since Arrogate won the inaugural running 11 months ago. "We still think there will be 12 in the race," said Stronach spokesman Tim Ritvo.
Other horses set to make the Gulfstream gate include Cigar Mile winner Sharp Azteca, Breeders' Cup Classic fifth Gunnevera plus Giuseppe The Great and Fear The Cowboy, who have both scored recently at the Pegasus venue. Throw in Cigar Mile winner Sharp Azteca and hard-knocking three-year-old Gunnevera and things are certainly interesting, just as they were 12 months ago.