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Mucho Gusto Runs Away With The 2020 Pegasus World Cup
By STEVE PHILLIPS
 

Mineola, NY: The purse for the initial Pegasus World Cup four years ago was $15-million, but the conditions set for establishing that purse ultimately proved to be unsustainable. Therefore, the 2020 version of Pegasus was run for a more realistic three million dollars.

The problem is, the massive purses in the early editions of Pegasus provided incentive for the sport's top stars to stay in training for the January event. With horses like Arogate and American Pharoah in the gate, there was plenty of public attention. Conversely, the sky-high entry fee was very discouraging when one or two runaway superstars were in the entry box.

This caused the purse-structure change which, in turn, did not attract the big horses this year. Maximum Security, the hottest horse at the end of the 2019 stakes season, is heading for Dubai and the (original) monster-purse World Cup.

The horses that were entered into the 2020 Pegasus represented a collection of runners that almost won a big race here, or won a lower-grade stakes there.

Consistent stakes performer Mucho Gusto emerged as the lukewarm favorite, but he ran red-hot. Flying away from the gate, he was quickly challenged by Bodexpress, who broke well from the outside. Longshot Mr. Freeze made a sustained bid and cleared the lead from Mucho Gusto. From there, the field sat patiently until just before the final turn. Mr. Freeze faced no pressure as he maintained a leisurely pace.

With horse making their bids, Mucho Gusto straightened out, then burst forward. In the blink of an eye he opened a four length lead, which he held to the wire while looking completely comfortable. An all-out Mr. Freeze held second. Caught far behind the restive flow, War Story managed to close for third. The final time for the 10-furlong race was 1:48.85. Mucho Gusto paid $8.80 as the mild chalk.

Tentatively scheduled next for Mucho Gusto is the Dubai World Cup at Meydan, where Maximum Security and a stellar field will await. The Pegasus champion can expect a much more arduous task in March.



 
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