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Racing expert Sweet Lou Monaco's picks for the Pegasus World Cup Dirt Invitational Stakes at Gulfstream Park

The first biggest day on the 2020 horse racing calendar takes place today at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida, highlighted by the $3 million dollar Pegasus World Cup Dirt Invitational Stakes for 4-year-olds and up over 1 1/8 miles.

The field of 10 will go to gate for race 12 on the huge 12-race card with an approximate post time of 5:34 p.m. ET.

#6, Higher Power, Flavien Prat, 6-1

 When you finish in-the-money 12 out of 14 career starts, including five straight, you must be doing something right. With the defections of morning-line favorite Omaha Beach and second choice Spun To Run, I think Higher Power has an excellent shot here to grab his first win since the Grade 1 TVG Pacific Classic Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 17. He has posted back-to-back third-place finishes in the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes (9/28) and the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (11/2), both at Santa Anita. This will be his first start at Gulfstream Park. Flavien Prat brings his talents from the West Coast to ride for trainer John Sadler. The pick.

#10, Mucho Gusto, Irad Ortiz, Jr., 9-2

Mucho Gusto is looking to get back to his old form after winning two straight, three of four, and four of six races capped off by a win in the Grade 3 Affirmed Stakes at Santa Anita on June 16. Since then, he has finished second in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational (Monmouth Park), third in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes (Saratoga) and a fourth-place finish in his last at the Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby (Remington Park) on 9/29. Irad Ortiz, Jr. has the mount for trainer Bob Baffert, who won the inaugural PWC with Arrogate in 2017. This will be his 10th straight graded stakes races. He has had some pretty solid workouts leading up to this, so we shall see if an improve is in order. Runner-up.

#2, Tax, Jose Ortiz, 12-1

The last three starts for Tax has been a whirlwind. His last win was in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga (7/27). He followed that up with a disappointing seventh-place finish at the Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga (8/24) and in his last start, finished runner-up in the Grade 3 Discovery Stakes at Aqueduct (11/30), losing to Performer by 1 ¼ lengths. I think he might have found something in that race and Jose Ortiz, who is aboard for trainer Danny Gargan, will have to take advantage of that. Contender.

#4, Seeking the Soul, John Velazquez, 30-1

Seeking the Soul will be making his 32nd career start (7-6-7), but in his last four starts has finished out of the money with back-to-back sixth-place finishes, a fourth and a seventh. He is looking for his first win since the Grade 2 Stephen Foster Stakes at Churchill Downs on June 15. Last year, he finished runner-up in this race at 34-1 odds. John Velazquez is seeking to change the fortune of Seeking the Soul’s previous starts for trainer Dallas Stewart. Let’s see if the seven-year-old has one more in him. In the mix.

PICKS: 6-10-2-4

By Lou Monaco


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