Pegasus Day Turf Races Odds, Picks & Field

The stakes-loaded card at Gulfstream Park on Saturday features three fascinating contests on the lawn, with the clash between G1 winners Dalika and Shantisara in the G3 Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf one of the highlights of the day. Route runners get their chance too, with old-timers Channel Maker and Red Knight going for the G3 William L. McKnight and some promising staying fillies and mares vying for the G3 La Prevoyante. Here is our Pegasus Day Turf Races Betting Preview.

Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf Invitational

G3, $500,000, 1m 1/16 turf, 4yo+ females, 4.06pm ET

A number of scratches have altered the complexion of the Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf, the main event on the Gulfstream Park lawn on Saturday, although there are still two big names, on very different trajectories, fighting it out for this valuable prize.

This is the last dance for Dalika (5-2), who will be retired to broodmare duties following the race. The pace-setting grey broke through at the highest level when winning the mile-eighth G1 Beverly D at Churchill Downs in August, fighting back gamely after being headed in mid-stretch.

That was the start of a fine run of form that also brought victory in the G3 Ladies Turf at Kentucky Downs over a mile and the G3 Cardinal back at Churchill Downs over a mile-eighth, when she again proved impossible to pass. She’ll go out there one last time and leave it all on the field.

Her main rival is Shantisara (9-5), who comes from the Chad Brown barn that is so dominant in distaff races on turf. She drew a blank from just two starts last year, but her form from 2021, topped by a barnstorming five-length score in the G1 QEII Challenge Cup at Keeneland over a mile-eighth, gives her a major chance.

She and Dalika were disappointing when running five-six in a mile stakes at Keeneland in November, but that was Shantisara’s first start for almost seven months and she was entitled to be a little rusty. Expect much better now.

The winner of that Keeneland stakes was Wakanaka (5-1), who had four and a quarter lengths to spare over Shantisara and five over Dalika. Wakanaka is better at a mile than she is at a mile-eighth and was only sixth in this race 12 months ago on her Stateside debut, but she’s stronger now and should make more of an impact. She does her running late, so she’ll have Dalika as a moving target.

California girl Queen Goddess (9-2) ships in off a dominant wire-to-wire win in the G3 Robert J Frankel over a mile-eighth at Santa Anita, her first start in more than seven months. That will have tuned her up nicely but she faces a battle with Dalika for the lead and that will be fundamental to her chances.

She’s preferred to Lady Rockstar (6-1), runner-up in the G3 Suwannee River here over a mile on New Year’s Eve, and yet to make her breakthrough at stakes level, although that shouldn’t be too long in coming.

The remainder of the field look out of their depth. Artie’s Princess (20-1) has been winning stakes at Woodbine and Presque Isle Downs and will need a lot more than that; the British import Sweet Enough (20-1) won an allowance optional claimer here over a mile-sixteenth but has been well beaten on all her starts at stakes level; the ex-Brazilian Justify My Love (30-1) won a Churchill Downs AOC but faces a very stiff test even on the best of her South American form.

2023 Pegasus Filly & Mare Turf Odds and Prediction 

It could boil down to a two-horse war, with Dalika out in front and SHANTISARA, who will be sharper on her second start following a layoff, coming to get her.

HorseJockeyOdds by Jazzsports
Artie’s PrincessJose L. Ortiz+1800
Dalika (GER)Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.+250
Wakanaka (IRE)Joel Rosario+400
Sweet Enough (GB)Junior Alvarado+2500
Queen GoddessLuis Saez+350
Lady Rockstar (GB)Tyler Gaffalione+750
Justify My Love (BRZ)Javier Castellano+3300
Shantisara (IRE)Irad Ortiz, Jr.+180

William L. McKnight Stakes

G3, $200,000, 1m 4f turf, 4yo+, 3.01pm ET

There are plenty in the William L. McKnight who is out to prove that age is just a number, a platoon of greybeards who are not ready to stand quietly in line and collect their pensions just yet. Ok boomers, now’s your chance.

Take the evergreen nine-year-old Channel Maker (3-1), winner of four G1s in a long and distinguished career and only slowing down a little last season. He won the G2 Elkhorn over this marathon distance at Keeneland in April and was later a game seventh in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf at the same track, and although it’s hard to envisage him being competitive at the G1 level again, this type of race looks ideal. He’ll be on the pace or near it.

Fellow nine-year-old Red Knight (9-2) was four places and four lengths behind Channel Maker in the BC Turf and also had his name in lights last year, outrunning the high-class Gufo to grab the G2 Kentucky Turf Cup by a nose. He has stamina in abundance, will be arriving late on the scene and maybe the pick of trainer Mike Maker’s quartet.

His barnmate Temple (9-2) was runner-up in this last year (also in 2021), doing his best work late, and then won the G2 Mac Diarmida here over a mile and three-eighths. His form tailed off slightly after that, although he had Channel Maker and Red Knight behind when runner-up in a blanket finish to the G3 Sycamore at Keeneland in October.

He’s a cut above barnmates Value Engineering (8-1) and Wicked Fast (20-1), who nailed the exacta in a stakes here over a mile and five-eighths on the all-weather last month, with Irish import Agitare (20-1) beaten a long way into seventh.

Twelve months ago Abaan (5-1) was an impressive winner of this race, beating Temple by a comfortable two lengths, but is zero-for-five since then and was well beaten in a mile-sixteenth allowance optional claimer here last month on his return from a six-month layoff. Stretching back out should bring about a revival, and if the fire still burns he has the quality to figure.

This is a return to long-distance racing for Pao Alto (8-1), who was once second-favorite for the G1 French Derby at Chantilly, finishing sixth. He hasn’t gone beyond a mile-eighth for more than a year but has more basic speed than any of his rivals, and if he copes with the extra yardage then that could be a crucial factor, as might the influence of Frankie Dettori, who has won more mile-and-a-half races than all his jockey rivals put together have even ridden in.

William L. McKnight Stakes Prediction 

The pacy Pao Alto is a very interesting contender, but last year’s winner ABAAN will move up a mile from his comeback over an inadequate distance and can repeat.

Pegasus Day Turf Races: William L. McKnight Stakes Odds

HorseJockeyOdds by Jazzsports
Time for TroubleEmisael Jaramillo+2000
ShawdyshawdyshawdyPaco Lopez+1500
Pao Alto (FR)Lanfranco Dettori+800
AbaanLuis Saez+500
Agitare (IRE)Julien R. Leparoux+2000
TempleFlorent Geroux+450
Channel MakerTyler Gaffalione+300
Harlan EstateJoel Rosario+2000
Value EngineeringJose L. Ortiz+800
Reigning SpiritJavier Castellano+2000
Red KnightIrad Ortiz, Jr.+450
Wicked FastMiguel Angel Vasquez+2000
BarberiniJorge Ruiz+1500

La Prevoyante Stakes

G3, $150,000, 1m 4f turf, 4yo+ females, 1.19pm ET

The distaff version of the William L. McKnight plays host to a much younger cast list, with just one of the eight contenders for the La Prevoyante being older than five.

Not many horses want to go this far but one who can certainly handle it is Beside Herself (5-1), who rolled coast-to-coast over a mile and a half in an allowance optional claimer at Saratoga, having plenty in hand at the wire. 

She has disappointed in all three starts at stakes level since then, though, with her trailblazing tactics cutting little ice in higher grade. Last time out she was fourth in a stakes over course and distance (all-weather), three and a quarter lengths behind runner-up Lisheen (8-1), who was making her stakes debut.

Lisheen has a fairly dismal two-for-18 resume, but that was a career-best and if it was the distance that livened her up she can be expected to go well again.

The quality comes from Adventuring (7-5), who went wire to wire to win the G3 Ladies Marathon at Kentucky Downs over a mile and five-sixteenths. She wasn’t stopping at the line and later showed that she has an extra class edge on these rivals when third behind Dalika, who has a strong chance in the Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf later in the afternoon, in the G3 Cardinal Stakes at Churchill Downs over a mile-eighth.

She couldn’t get to the front there but should have no problems on that front here, and could easily get things her own way.

Another stout stayer is Personal Best (7-2), who went a mile and three-eighths in style when romping in an allowance at Aqueduct in November. She wasn’t disgraced on her stakes debut, when third over a mile-sixteenth here on the all-weather surface, and should appreciate stretching back out, but she has a class deficit to overcome.

Transient (4-1) has an almost identical profile, also coming up trumps in a mile and three-eighths allowance at the Big A before grabbing the ‘show’ spot in the G3 Maple Leaf at Woodbine over ten furlongs, when she set out to make all but got reeled in. She may be part of a slightly slow-motion speed duel with Adventuring and – like Personal Best – is entitled to improve.

Stakes debutante My Candy Girl (12-1) has raced almost exclusively at a mile-sixteenth and along with Bow Draw (30-1), who has lost six straight since winning on debut, and Soul Of An Angel (30-1), who has never done better than sixth in three starts at stakes level, looks up against it today.

La Prevoyante Stakes Prediction 

Likely front-runner ADVENTURING has a distinct class edge over her rivals and should cope with the extra yardage as long as she isn’t pressured on the lead.

Pegasus Day Turf Races: La Prevoyante Stakes Odds

HorseJockeyOdds by Jazzsports
LisheenJorge Ruiz+800
Personal BestIrad Ortiz, Jr.+350
Bow DrawJose E. Morelos+3000
Beside HerselfLuis Saez+500
AdventuringJoel Rosario+140
Transient (GB)Tyler Gaffalione+400
Soul of an AngelShaun Bridgmohan+3000
My Candy GirlPaco Lopez+1200

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