We have a big day at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, as the biggest race of 2021 so far is scheduled for Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach. There are two races with at least $1,000,000 up for grabs on Saturday at Gulfstream Park. The running of the $3,000,000 Pegasus World Cup Invitational (Gr. 1) is the big one, while the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (Gr. 1) $1,000,000 is the main event on the grass at Gulfstream. Along with those two races, there are five other stakes races at Gulfstream on Saturday afternoon.
What’s on the docket after the Pegasus this weekend? The $20,000,000 Saudi Cup, featuring Bob Baffert’s Charlatan, is scheduled for February in Saudi Arabia. This is the richest horse race of them all, despite not getting as much attention as the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup. Speaking of the Triple Crown, that’s just around the corner only a few months after the 2020 season concluded. There hasn’t been a quick turn around like this in the history of the Triple Crown.
There is a total of $4,979,000 in prize money available at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. We have you covered with the two big races, and an additional selection for today. Head below for our free Gulfstream Park selections and Pegasus World Cup pick for January 23, 2021.
Race 4 – Fred W. Hooper Stakes
Post Time: 1:05 p.m. EST
Race 4 is the running of the $125,000 Fred W. Hooper Stakes (Gr. 3) on Saturday afternoon at Gulfstream Park. Eight horses are expected to travel a mile on the main track for a $125,000 prize. I like Eye of a Jedi and Performer on the inside in this race. Eye of a Jedi has been in good form recently, and will likely continue to see success in his career.
However, this is going to be tougher than anything he’s seen recently. Eye of a Jedi is 5 for 29 overall in his career. He is in some nice form recently, having finished 1st, 1st, 2nd in his previous three entries. Eye of a Jedi’s last win was on July 18 in the $60,000 Sea of Tranquility Stakes (Black Type) over Noble Drama by a half length.
Eye of a Jedi has appeared in only one race since then, placing 2nd behind Tax by 4 ½ lengths in the $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday Stakes (Gr. 3). That was a good effort in a graded event, but things are going to get tougher for Eye of a Jedi on Saturday in the Fred W. Hooper. Performer is a tough runner that can stop Eye of a Jedi in this one.
Performer is 5 for 7 in his career and is coming off a tough race in the $250,000 Cigar Mile Handicap. He showed 3rd to end a five straight winning streak for Performer. Performer won the $200,000 Discovery Stakes (Gr. 3) on November 30, 2019 by 1 ¼ lengths, and then followed up for a 1 ¾ length win in a $70,000 event after a lengthy layoff on October 17. The Cigar Mile was too tough, but expect Performer to bounce back on Saturday at this level.
Race 11 – Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational
Post Time: 6:26 p.m. EST
Distance:1 1/16 Miles
The lead up to the main event at Gulfstream Park is a good one on the grass. The Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational is a stacked field vying for a $1,000,000 field. It’s a wide open race that should see an exciting stretch run. Colonel Liam and Anothertwistafate are likely to be close at the wire. Anothertwistafate is coming off an impressive showing in the $200,000 San Gabriel Stakes on January 2.
Anothertwistafate scored the win over Bob and Jackie by 2 ¼ lengths to get the top prize. Overall, he is 5 for 10 in his career, with results of 2nd, 2nd, 10th, 1st, 4th, 1st in his previous six entries. In the other recent win, Anothertwistafate won the $100,000 Longacres Mile Handicap (Gr. 3) by 4 ½ lengths on September 10. However, followed up to finish 4th in the $200,000 Seabiscuit Handicap (Gr. 2) before getting back to the winner’s circle in the San Gabriel.
Colonel Liam is an exciting Todd Pletcher trainee that carries a lot to like in this event. He’s one of three Pletcher horses in the race. Colonel Liam is 3 for 5 with some impressive performances in his career. He is fresh off a win in the $75,000 Tropical Park Derby.
He hit the jets going into the stretch and drove up to win going away by 3 ¼ lengths. Colonel Liam enters unexposed as a $1,200,000 machine and will make his graded debut on Saturday. His pedigree suggests a bright future on the turf for Colonel Liam. It’s not going to be as easy as the Tropical Park Derby, but Colonel Liam should be close and likely good odds at post time.
Race 12 – Pegasus World Cup Invitational
Post Time: 5:44 p.m. EST
Distance:1 ⅛ Miles
The $3,000,000 Pegasus World Cup Invitational is the feature race of the month. This event on the main track will cover 1 ⅛ miles and comes with a monster purse of $3,000,000. Bob Baffert skipped on the Pegasus and will point Charlatan to the $20,000,000 Saudi Cup next month. With Charlatan absent, the door is open for another runner to step up.
I’m looking at Jesus’ Team and Knicks Go to come through. Jesus’ Team certainly comes with some interesting value. Jesus’ Team is running well recently, and in the top-3 in five straight events. That includes appearances in the $1,000,000 Preakness Stakes (Gr. 1) on October 3 and $1,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on November 7.
Jesus’ Team gave a good account in both as an underdog. He showed 3rd in the Preakness, and then placed 2nd behind Knicks Go by 3 ½ lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. The good news is that Jesus’ Team was relatively close to Knicks Go, the bad news is that his foe could have won by more if Knicks Go didn’t gear down in the stretch.
Jesus’ Team is fresh off a win in the $150,000 Claiming Crown Jewel Stakes on December 5 over Storm Runner by ¾ lengths as the favorite. That was a predictable win for Jesus’ Team against that competition. He will look for some revenge on Knicks Go on Saturday in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational.
Knicks Go is in terrific form and off a hat-trick following a win in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. He won the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile easily over Jesus’ Team. Prior to that outing, Knicks Go won a $88,000 event by 7 ½ lengths and $75,000 event by the same length by 7 ½ before the win in the Breeders’ Cup event. I see a strong performance for Knicks Go. He is in the form of his career right now, and won’t have to concern himself with Charlatan on Saturday.