The $3 Million Pegasus World Cup: Why It Looks Like Cyberknife’s Race To Lose

With its $3 million purse for 2023, it’s axiomatic that the Pegasus World Cup Invitational will draw the legions of runners whose previous lives may perhaps have not quite worked out the way their connections had hoped. Cyberknife leads this field of twelve as the top favorite in the morning line for Saturday’s race, with a strong but less-well-known Proxy as second-favorite, and perennial runner-up Skippylongstocking standing currently third-likeliest to win.

But before we get into what Cyberknife truly faces on the track in this field of twelve (with two alternates, should there be race-day scratches) herewith, a refresher on the post positions and morning line.

(Post Position, Horse, Morning Line)

1) Proxy, 9-2

2) Simplification, 15-1

3) Ridin with Biden, 20-1

4) White Abarrio, 10-1

5) Defunded, 6-1

6) Art Collector, 10-1

7) Skippylongstocking, 5-1

8) Get Her Number, 15-1

9) Last Samurai, 20-1

10) Cyberknife, 5-2

11) Stilletto Boy, 30-1

12) O’Connor, 10-1

(Date: January 27, 2023, Source: CBS Sports)

Of note to players of exotics will be Art Collector, at post position 6, and White Abarrio, breaking from post position 4, and surprise newcomer O’Connor, on the outside in post position 12, all at a decent price of 10-1 and all with shots at any of the top three favorites. To do that, those 10-1 runners will have to step up their game against Proxy and Skippylongstocking, and especially, as reflected with some specificity in the morning line, against Cyberknife.

Two points to remember about Cyberknife. His trainer Brad Cox has stuck by him through thick and thin and is obviously a believer, if also with a horsemanly reserve of cool analysis about his charge. The trainer has won the Pegasus in 2021 with Knicks Go, and has made a bold attempt at winning it twice with Knicks Go last year, but the horse came in second to Life Is Good. Of Cyberknife, who ran second in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile last November, an ebullient Cox said: “I wouldn’t change anything we’ve done with him over the last few months since the Breeders’ Cup. The horse is phenomenal physically, mentally and his works have been really good. If we have a good week, we’re going to be in great shape.”

It’s true that Cyberknife likes to be up front, if not the front runner, and that style will likely help him at Gulfstream, which, for the Kentucky-bred son of Gun Runner, is a new track. That’s thought to be just a slight disadvantage for him. The outside post position will help ameliorate that, but Cyberknife will have to get a clean break and will have a keen tussle to get up front from there. He’s got the moxie and the stamina, and he looks like he’s worth every penny of the victor’s cut — which is to say, he’s taken to Florida and his coat has that sheen of a racehorse at his peak. He will retire to stud back home, in Kentucky, at Spendthrift after this race.

Jockey Florent Geroux is in the irons for Cox, and he knows the horse, so the probabilities for a clean break are good. That noted, if Cyberknife gets snagged in early traffic and doesn’t get toward the front as fast as he would like, Geroux will have his hands full getting it done, as was the case in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

 

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