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Friday 19th January 2024

Pegasus Cup Upsets: Revisiting the Most Shocking Race Results

The Pegasus World Cup is a premier event that showcases some of the world's finest thoroughbreds. But this isn't just any horse race. It's a spectacle of speed, skill, and pure unpredictability, where the outcomes can take a wild turn.

Let's recall all those shocking moments when a long shot defies the odds and snatches victory from the favorites.  The races we are going to review here have stunned spectators, proving that anything can happen in horse racing.

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The Nature of Horse Racing Upsets

As we inch closer to the anticipated 2024 Pegasus World Cup, set to happen on January 27, it's important that you check out the TVG Pegasus 2024 picks and predictions. Each contender should be on your watchlist, from the favorites to the underdogs. After all, horse racing is full of surprises, and who knows? We might witness another shocking upset this year.

An upset in horse racing refers to an unexpected outcome where a less-favored horse triumphs over those with higher odds. These underdogs defy predictions, adding an element of surprise and thrill to the sport.

Upsets occur due to various factors, including the unpredictable nature of horses, changing weather conditions, or a particularly skilled jockey performance. These unforeseen victories impact the sport significantly.

They not only shake up betting odds but also bring attention to lesser-known horses and jockeys, fostering a dynamic, ever-evolving landscape in horse racing. Moreover, upsets create memorable moments that captivate audiences, enhancing their engagement and love for the sport.

Memorable Upsets in Pegasus Cup's History

The Pegasus World Cup, a relatively new addition to North American horse racing events, was inaugurated about seven years ago on January 28, 2017, at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida.

Despite its age, this race has already carved out a niche by hosting some of the most memorable upsets in thoroughbred racing history. We've identified three iconic moments and will delve into each in this retrospective.

Art Collector's 2023 Win

In 2023, the Pegasus World Cup was marked by an astonishing triumph from Art Collector, a horse that entered the race with relatively long odds of 15-1. This victory was unforeseen by many, yet it was a testament to the combined skills of the horse and his team.

Art Collector was trained by Bill Mott, a distinguished member of the Hall of Fame, and was ridden by talented jockey Junior Alvarado. Their collective expertise played a significant role in this landmark win. Art Collector displayed remarkable stamina and ability throughout the race, securing a decisive four-and-a-half-length victory that left spectators and fellow competitors in awe.

This victory not only propelled Art Collector's career earnings beyond the impressive $4 million mark but also earned him the esteemed position at the top of the first 2023 NTRA poll.

Arrogate's Victory Over California Chrome in 2017

The 2017 Pegasus World Cup, the inaugural edition of this prestigious race, was marked by a stunning upset that left an indelible mark on the sport's history. Arrogate, trained by the acclaimed Bob Baffert, defied expectations by outpacing favorite California Chrome by a formidable four and three-quarters lengths.

This victory was unexpected, given California Chrome's status as the favorite and previous achievements. Yet, Arrogate, guided by his trainer's expertise and his inherent racing prowess, turned the tables in spectacular fashion. This victory did more than just surprise spectators; it signaled a paradigm shift in the race's history, demonstrating that even underdogs can triumph against the odds.

The 2017 race, underscored by Arrogate's victory, set the tone for future Pegasus World Cup races, where upsets became a part of its DNA.

Zulu Alpha's Unexpected Victory in the 2020 Pegasus World Cup Turf

Zulu Alpha's victory in the 2020 Pegasus World Cup Turf was a remarkable upset. The horse, trained by Mike Maker and ridden by jockey Tyler Gaffalione, was a 12-1 longshot going into the race. Yet, against all odds, Zulu Alpha managed to navigate a crowded field and win by two lengths, defeating the favored Magic Wand in an exciting turn of events.
This victory was significant not just for its surprise factor but also because it solidified Zulu Alpha's status as one of the top turf horses in North America.

Should You Bet on Underdogs?

Betting on underdogs in horse racing can be an adventurous strategy, filled with potential rewards and risks. The high odds associated with underdogs can result in substantial payouts if they manage to pull off a surprise win. Moreover, there's a sense of satisfaction in identifying and backing an underdog that others have overlooked.

However, it's not all about going against the crowd. It's crucial to study the horse's recent performances and truly understand the odds before placing your bet. While the potential for a big win is attractive, remember that underdogs are underdogs for a reason.


Horse racing, with its inherent thrill and unpredictability, is a spectacle like no other. The Pegasus World Cup exemplifies this perfectly with its history of unexpected champions and thrilling races. It's a testament to the fact that in this sport, anything can happen. The 2024 Pegasus World Cup is just around the corner. We encourage you to experience the suspense, cheer on your favorite, and perhaps witness another surprising upset!