The Pegasus World Cup Invitational is in the books, as Knicks Go proved to be the best runner in the $3,000,000 event. Knicks Go didn’t face much pressure in that one and was the deserving winner. He geared down heading to the wire for a 2 ½ length win. Jesus Team’ was the second horse on my shortlist, and was the next best runner in the Pegasus.
That horse just keeps plugging away as an underdog. He didn’t catch much money from the public either, and was a very good bet to show and place at that price. Along with Knicks Go, Colonel Liam came through for us by a neck in the $1,000,000 Pegasus turf race. Solid day at TheSportsGeek with both horses coming through, and a bonus winner on Performer in the Fred W. Hooper Stakes.
We have a couple of tracks covered on Sunday. First, you can check out Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas. If you just want Santa Anita Park, then you’re at the right place. Santa Anita has eight races on the card worth a total of $283,000 in prize money. Head below for our free Santa Anita Park picks for January 24, 2021.
Post Time: 1:03 p.m. PST
Race 2 is a mile long on the dirt for a $39,000 purse. Keep an eye on Once On Whiskey and Two Thirty Five in the stretch run. Once On Whiskey is going into Sunday with a couple of wins in six entries. In his most recent win, Once On Whiskey beat Draft Pick by a head in the $150,000 Los Alamitos Derby (Gr. 3).
He has had little experience since that outing on July 14, 2018. Once On Whiskey finished 5th in the $500,000 West Virginia Derby (Gr. 3) on August 4, and most recently, showed 3rd in a $69,000 event on May 11, 2019. That’s it for Once On Whiskey, but you could argue he’s going to be fresh following the layoff. If you think that Once On Whiskey is going to bounce back to form, then he’s a good bet on these terms for a $39,000 purse.
Two Thirty Five drops way down in class after finishing 9th, 7th, 8th, 2nd, 7th in his previous five entries. He last won on April 19 in a $63,000 event by a half length. This was after finishing 7th in the $600,000 Santa Anita Handicap (Gr. 1). The last outing Two Thirty Five looked really good in was October 21 at Keeneland. Two Thirty Five placed 2nd behind Lone Rock by ¾ lengths.
He’s been off since November 11 after finishing 7th in a $89,000 assignment. He completed a workout recently in good form, with a time of 1:00.00 at 5 furlongs on January 17. Two Thirty Five is back in a more manageable class on Sunday afternoon. That should make all the difference in Race 2 for the No. 1 horse.
Post Time: 1:33 p.m. PST
Race 3 is on the turf for a $35,000 prize. Six horses are slated to get the start on Sunday afternoon, which will cover a mile on the grass. Basil Flavor and Avisse should be watched in this one. Basil Flavor isn’t off to the best start in her career, finishing 5th and 6th in her best two trips. She finished 5th in a $34,000 maiden claiming event on November 22, and then came back to finish 6th on January 10 in a $61,000 event.
This is a step down in class for Basil Flavor, but more is going to be needed. That said, Basil Flavor has looked decent in the morning and should do better against this field. Besides Avisse, there isn’t a whole lot to get excited about in Race 3. Avisse has been a consistent runner, though hasn’t struck down her competition yet. Nevertheless, Avisse has finished in the top-3 in four out of five performances in her career.
She placed 2nd behind Carpe Fortuna by 2 ¼ lengths in a $57,000 event. That was much tougher on November 27, but Avisse handled it well and nearly got to the winner’s circle. In her next showing, Avisse showed 3rd most recently on January 2 for a $61,000 purse. This race represents a big drop in class. That much should be evident on Sunday afternoon.
Post Time: 3:09 p.m. PST
Race 6 is the feature event at Santa Anita Park on Sunday, with a purse up for grabs of $70,000. Eight horses are expected to travel 6 furlongs on the turf in this one. Mr Vargas and Ghoul will likely point you in the right direction. The Brazilian Ghoul is 7 for 23 in his career and should do well in this event. He’s finished 3rd, 2nd, 5th, 6th, 1st in his previous five trips.
Ghoul is coming off a win on January 2 in a $65,000 assignment over Ultimate Bango. It was a nice win by 1 ¼ lengths for the underdog. It was a step in the right direction after struggling for a couple of races. Prior to that outing, Ghoul finished 6th in a $89,000 event. That was much too tough for Ghoul to handle. This is easier, though, and Ghoul just proved to be a winner in the $65,000 class.
Mr Vargas has stakes experience, with appearances in a couple of Grade 2 and a Grade 3 entry. He won the $100,000 Green Flash Handicap (Gr. 3) on August 17, 2019 by 2 ¼ lengths over Eddie Haskell. Since then, Mr Vargas has finished 8th, 7th, 5th, 1st. He is fresh off a win on December 12 in a $55,000 assignment over Manhattan by 4 lengths in an impressive performance. If he can hold that form on Sunday, then Mr Vargas should have the edge.