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Preview of the 2022 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes

| January 25, 2022 12:17 pm PDT

The first run was in 2017, and since then, the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (Grade I) has become one of the richest and most anticipated horseraces in the world. And what’s not to like?

Some of the best horses, jockeys, trainers participate—some for the competition, some for the excitement—but all for the biggest share of that $3,000,000 purse.

In fact, the Pegasus World Cup is already beginning to rival the slightly longer (ten furlongs)  Kentucky Derby in terms of the celebrity fans and the fabulous amount of purse money to chase.

In 2017, the first Pegasus World Cup featured a $12 million purse, and $16 million in 2018. For the past three years, however, the purse has been set at $3 million. But even at $3 million—which was also the purse at the 2021 Kentucky Derby), winning the Pegasus World Cup is something devoutly to be wished.

The Grade I race is run on the dirt track a distance of nine furlongs (1-1/8 miles). The field is limited to twelve horses aged four years and upward, and invitations to race in the 2022 edition were still being accepted (or declined) at this writing.

Odds for the 2022 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes

The horses listed below have been confirmed for Saturday’s race, or their connections have indicated at least a strong possibility that they will accept the invitation.

As the week progresses, of course, the list will solidify, but for right now, here are the most likely competitors and their initial odds.

Horse Trainer Estimated Odds
Knicks Go Brad Cox 5/4
Life Is Good Todd Pletcher 8/5
Happy Saver Todd Pletcher 8/1
Law Professor Michael McCarthy 16/1
Stilleto Boy Ed Moger Jr. 16/1
Sir Winston Mark Casse 33/1
Chess Chief Dallas Stewart 40/1

Once you have a chance to view the odds and place your wagers, be sure to tune into the race on Saturday, January 29th since it will be televised and live-streamed by NBC.

Why Is Knicks Go the Favorite?

Knicks Go is the favorite to win this race for one very good reason: He won the last year’s Pegasus World Cup, so everybody knows he can do it. And he knows it, too.

Oh, and he also won the Breeders’ Cup Classic in Del Mar a couple of months ago. Rumor has it that Knicks Go will be Eclipse Awards’ 2021 Horse of the Year.

Trainer Brad Cox has put top jockey Joel Rosario in the irons for his last nine races, seven of them wins, including last year’s Pegasus Cup.

 It doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to say that Cox will have Rosario saddle the six-year-old Knicks Go for this one, as well.

Other Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes Contenders

Knicks Go, of course, won’t be the only horse in this race. Of the horses unaware of Knicks Go’s mortal lock on this race, the one most likely to serve up a rude awakening at the finish line is Life Is Good.

Two years younger than Knicks Go, Life Is Good has only a quarter of the starts of Knicks Go—six, but he’s won all but one of those.

His one second-place finish, by the way, was in the seven-furlong H. Allen Jerkens Memorial Stakes (Grade I) at Saratoga last August, where he led early on but was eventually edged into second, losing to Jackie’s Warrior by a neck.

Under training to Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, Life Is Good notably bested then-future Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit in last year’s Sham Stakes—and then did it again in the San Felipe Stakes. And throughout his fledgling career, Life Is Good has yet to post less than a triple-digit speed figure.

Sleeper Picks to Consider

I know what you’re thinking. A sure thing like a 5/4 favorite is all fine and good, pal, but those kinds of odds don’t make the car payment. How about something a little more, um, uncertain? With just a bit of real possibility? You got it.

Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse’s six-year-old Sir Winston is presently at 33/1 odds, and he’s got the history to prove he knows how the lawn gets mowed.

For instance, he won the 2019 Belmont Stakes, paying $22.40 on a two-dollar bet. And he’s continued to show success in the graded stakes, winning the Valedictory Stakes (Grade III) last month at Woodbine.

Another long-odds prospect is Chess Chief, trained by longtime racing veteran Dallas Stewart.

The six-year-old Chess Chief most recently won the Tenacious Stakes (Listed) at Fair Grounds last month, and he won the New Orleans Classic Stakes (Grade II) at Fair Grounds last March. Chess King has shown he can win a stakes race, but the question is: Can he win this one?

Advice for the 2022 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes

The Pegasus World Cup is one of the world’s richest races, featuring some of the best thoroughbreds alive. At this point, I’d recommend a win ticket on Life Is Good, with at least a safety bet on Sir Winston.

I recommend the win bet on Life Is Good because it returns better money than what Knicks Go is likely to pay—and at some point, with diminishing odds, you have to decide between betting for miniscule payouts or just keeping your bankroll in your pocket.

Me, I go for the second-favored Life Is Good.

And I’m touting Sir Winston as a show bet because he is, according to the statistics, in the top three of this list. A win bet might be stretching it a bit, but a show bet feels far more likely to pay.

I’d also recommend you keep an eye on the top horse betting sites and what they have to say about this race.

J.W. Paine

J.W. Paine is one of the most experienced writers at GamblingSites.com. He's written for television and the printed media, and is a published novelist (as Tom Elliott).

Paine loves writing about Las Vegas nearly as much he loves living here. An experienced gambler, he's especially familiar with thoroughbred horseracing, poker, blackjack, and slots.

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