HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Horse of the Year finalist Maximum Security was one of 17 horses formally invited on Sunday to compete in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational later this month at Gulfstream Park.
Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up and McKinzie also earned an invite, as did Eclipse Award finalist Omaha Beach. Maximum Security is an Eclipse finalist in two categories and was first across the line at last year’s Kentucky Derby before being disqualified for interference.
Past Pegasus runners Seeking The Soul, War Story and True Timber were also invited, as was 2018 Preakness runner-up Bravazo.
The other invitees for the $3 million race on Jan. 25 include Gift Box, Higher Power, Magic Wand, Math Wizard, Mr. Freeze, Roadster, Spun To Run, Tax, Mucho Gusto and Diamond Oops.
The field is expected to be cut to 12 by the end of the week.
Magic Wand is also invited to run in the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, also to be held Jan. 25. Eclipse Award finalist Mo Forza is on that list of 17 as well, along with Arklow, Channel Cat, Henley’s Joy, Instilled Regard, Next Shares, Sadler’s Joy, Starship Jubilee, United, Without Parole, Zulu Alpha, Sacred Life, Admission Office, A Thread Of Blue, Mr. Misunderstood and Lucullan.
Magic Wand was second in the Pegasus turf race last year, behind only Bricks and Mortar — the likely Horse of the Year when the Eclipse Awards are announced at Gulfstream on Jan. 23.
The Pegasus World Cup races will require horses to be medication-free on race day for the first time and will have substantially reduced purses from the previous three editions of the event.
The Stronach Group, which operates Gulfstream, announced the significant changes to the purse structure and race rules last month. Entry fees, which had been as much as $1 million for past runnings of the Pegasus, will be waived.
The inaugural Pegasus in 2017 was then the world’s richest race, offering a $12 million purse to owners who put up $1 million for a spot in the field. The purse went to $16 million in 2018. And last year, the turf race was added, so purses went to $9 million for the dirt race and $7 million on the grass.