The Pegasus World Cup Invitational and the World Cup Turf are to be run at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Florida, on January 25, 2020.  Both races will be run medication free, meaning no furosemide (Lasix).  Moreover, the purse for the Pegasus World Cup has been reduced from $9 million in 2019 to $3 million in 2020.  And the purse for the World Cup Turf was cut from $7 million to $1 million.

Besides the purse reductions making the races less attractive to owners, the inaugural Saudi Cup will be held on February 20, 2020, with a total purse of $20 million and $10 million going to the winner.  That makes it the globe’s richest race, surpassing the $12 million Dubai World Cup on March 28, 2020.  The Saudi World Cup will not permit horses to run with race-day medication. 

It will be informative to see how the no-Lasix requirement for The Pegasus World Cup Invitational and the Saudi Cup plays out.  Owners and trainers who send their horses to either race are not deterred by the medication ban, demonstrating that their horses don’t need Lasix.  However, other owners and trainers will be concerned and bypass both races as a result.

What will be informative is how many entries there are for both races and what big-name horses don’t race in either Florida or Saudi Arabia. Short fields for both races, or fields without the best American horses, could be a sign that the races cannibalized one another…or that the no-medication rule scared off some owners and trainers. 

The ideal scenario is full fields for both races, with plenty of American horses entered, demonstrating that Lasix is not really needed for most top-flight racehorses.

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