Gulfstream Park Best Bets

The last weekend in January means it’s time for the Pegasus World Cup! Gulfstream Park has a monster 13-race card with multiple graded stakes culminating in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup with $3,000,000 on the line. The card features three separate Pick 5s and multiple Pick 4 for multi-race players and one of the true superstars in horse racing, Warm Heart, who is running in the Pegasus World Cup Turf.

Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup, Gulfstream, Race #13


Unlike many Grade 1 races in America, we have a full field of 12 horses who will head to the gate which makes this a great race to bet! The favorite is #7 National Treasure who ships in from California for Bob Baffert. He gave Horse of the Year Cody’s Wish everything he could handle, running a very close second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. The key to National Treasure’s race is getting to the front. In his two best races of his career, he made the lead. That will be tough for him today with pace to his inside, specifically #4 Hoist the Gold who will be sent hard early.

#8 First Mission is a horse on the rise. He’s only raced five times, winning three of them, but is very highly thought of by his trainer Brad Cox. He’s tagged First Mission as a possible Horse of the Year candidate heading into his four-year-old campaign. First Mission has speed but doesn’t need the lead and should sit a good trip behind horses who need the front.

Last time out, #5 Trademark beat First Mission by a nose in the Grade 2 Clark. The Clark was off a lackluster effort in the Fayette and because of that, the price is right today at 15-1. Trademark is another horse with pace that does not need the lead and should get a nice trip. He has never beat a field like this and will need to take another step forward to win today.

#2 O’Connor will head to the track for Saffie Joseph fresh off a victory in the local prep, the Grade 3 Harlen’s Holiday. He loves the track and distance and drew a great post. He should be rolling from mid-pack after saving ground on both turns.

#9 Grand Aspen is very similar to First Mission. He turned to the dirt three races ago and turned his career around. Those three starts include a nice allowance win and a close second to O’Connor last time out. Todd Pletcher will have Jose Ortiz aboard for a horse that is on the improve. He has won at the distance, but it was in an off-the-turf race, so he still has something to prove at the distance.

Picks: 8-5-2-9

Gulfstream Bets:

$15 Exacta – 8 / 2,5,9

$5 Tri – 8 / 2,5,9 / 2,5,9

Grade 3 W. L. McKnight, Gulfstream Park, Race #8

One of the many stakes races on the undercard, the W. L. McKnight stood out to me as one of the most betable races. You’ve got a full field of 12 headed to post with a lukewarm favorite on the inside, #1 Francesco Clemente. Chad Brown has pegged him as one of his best older horses going long on the grass, which generally bodes well for bettors. He’s come from the back in all three starts in the US and will look to do so again today. This turf course has not been playing toward closers, so he will have his work cut out today.

#7 Verstappen consistently improved throughout his four-year-old season and gets a nice jockey upgrade today. Without much speed signed on, he should sit an excellent ground-saving trip on each turn and get first run on the leaders.

#10 Rockemperor is one of three Brown’s in here, and he’s danced all the dances. He’s beaten better fields than this, but it was back in 2022. Brown clearly feels he fits into this spot, and the added distance should help him today. The price is right as well at 10-1.

#9 Grand Sonata will get some added distance as well for Todd Pletcher. He’s a likely early leader in this spot if Ortiz wants to hustle him out. Whoever ends up out front in this race automatically becomes dangerous since there should not be very much pressure.

Picks: 7-1-10-9

Gulfstream Bets:

$5 Tri – 7 / 1,9,10 / 1,9,10

Spot plays:

Gulfstream Race #12 – $20 DD 9 / 2,5,8

Gulfstream Race #11 – $50 Win #11