With the rather late scratches of the first two choices in the Pegasus, Omaha Beach and Spun to Run, we are left with somewhat of a handicapping puzzle. This is further complicated by the horses running without medications they are used to racing with. Lasix is the obvious drug that stands out, but there are others. Just look at Spun to Run. Had it not been for the ban on medications, he probably would have been treated for his skin breakout and been in the gate Saturday afternoon.
We are going to keep this short and sweet today. I thought Omaha Beach would be a tough short-priced favorite to beat in the Pegasus. I did not like Spin to Run, especially with the late choice of Castellano to ride. I did not think he fit the horse all that well. I think Spun to Run needs to be hustled to the pace, and that really is not Javier’s style, of late anyway. Keep in mind I am talking about Spun to Run and his chances in the Pegasus only, not any future races he may wind up in. I handicap as they come along, not in advance.
That said we now have a nice betting race. Mucho Gusto will likely be the favorite. If he wins, he will sure make Irad Ortiz and his agent Jimmy Riccio look like the smartest two guys in Hallandale Beach on Saturday. I will be taking a shot against him.
There are two horses in the Pegasus who look to me like they are sitting on a peak race or at the least a nice forward move. Both are in a spot they can win if I am right.
Higher Power has improved since moving to the John Sadler barn. Though it is noted Sadler is not as successful outside of California as he is in it, he did win the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs with Accelerate and he knows what to do with a nice horse. He has one here. Higher Power can sit off the speed and can move early enough to get a jump on any deeper closers. Prat is winning big races and showing up with heady rides on the big days. That never hurts. I think he is a must use in here. His Pacific Classic was beautiful, and I give him two passes in his next two starts. He was wired by ill-fated Mongolian Groom, (RIP)and then ran “OK” without winning in the Breeders’ Cup Classic over a funny Santa Anita track. He is sitting on a race.
Mr. Freeze should get overlooked and be long odds. I think he has a real shot. If Luis Saez can get him to sit just off the speed and pounce, he could make a lot of noise in here for Dale Romans. Dale knows how to surprise in big races, and I can see it here. This horse always had potential. His two bad races are forgivable, and since his return, he has progressed steadily and slowly. Signs of a forward move. Saez doesn’t give up without a fight, and if he gets that mentality into Mr. Freeze, he can upset the applecart.
Like I said, short and sweet. Which way I lean will depend on how the track is playing and the day unfolds. My plan will be to try and be alive into both of those runners.