Pegasus World Cup – Accelerate aims to finish on a high

America loves a glitzy show and that will be the case on Saturday as Gulfstream Park stages the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series.

The meeting features a staggering $16 million in prize money and the highlight is the $9,000,000 Pegasus World Cup Invitational, the wealthiest stakes contest on dirt North America.

The Pegasus World Cup features a dozen of the world’s top thoroughbred horses, including two who will race for the final time in their remarkable careers.

Accelerate looks up to speed

Big race favourite at 2.50 to win is Accelerate for trainer John Sadler and rider Joel Rosario. He was last spotted winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs in November, his sixth win in seven starts during 2018.

The only horse to best Accelerate during the calendar year just gone by was City Of Light, who got first run and gamely held out to land the Grade 2 Oaklawn Park handicap over 1m1f in April, with the front two coming home 10-lengths clear of the remainder.

Plenty to like about Light

City Of Light ended his 2018 run by taking the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in decisive fashion and, with the trip and track in his favour, Mike McCarthy’s five-year-old will be fancied by plenty to shake up the favourite at odds of 3.50 in the Pegasus World Cup.

On the betting, the top pair are the ones punters want on their side. On the ratings, Accelerate shades the verdict by 4lbs however, and it is worth considering that when City Of Light got the best of the argument last spring, the race conditions meant he was getting a 3lb weight concession from the runner-up.

Accelerate readily turned the form around next time in the Santa Anita Gold Cup over his favoured 1m2f trip and, even allowing for the 1m1f that the Pegasus World Cup is set to be run over, he is fancied to go best of the market-leading duo.

Home advantage could help Gunnevera

Sure to popular in the betting is home-town favourite Gunnevera at odds of 8.50.

He has four wins at Gulfstream and has banked more than $4m in prize money during an impressive career. He finished a close second to Accelerate in the Breeders’ Cup in November and was also runner-up in the prestigious Woodward Stakes.

Gunnevera also finished third at last year’s Pegasus World Cup but can he bridge that gap to Accelerate and bag the biggest win of his career on his ‘home patch’?

At 12.00 in the betting comes Patternrecognition for trainer Chad Brown. He comes into this race on the back of three straight wins, notably taking out the likes of True Timber and Sunny Ridge to win a $472,500 stakes contest at Aqueduct in December. His star is on the rise, but he has more to find in this company.

The Todd Pletcher-trained Audible is a lively outsider at 11.00 judged on his Kentucky Derby third from last season, though that run came on a sloppy wet track. He also has a question mark against him having been surprisingly turned over at Gulfstream over the C&D last month as a long odds-on favourite. At just four-years-old, he does still have time on his side.

Fellow four-year-old Bravazo as well as Seeking The Soul – the mount of experienced rider John Velazquez – are amongst the others holding place claims while the remainder of the field are priced at 41.00 and bigger and surely playing for minor places.