California Chrome Draws Post 12 and Arrogate Post 1 in Pegasus World Cup
The inaugural running of the world’s richest race, Saturday’s $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park held its post draw Monday. And race favorite California Chrome drew an unfavorable position in the starting gate with the outside post No. 12. Breaking from the rail in post No. 1 is Arrogate, who beat California Chrome in a sensational stretch run in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
“Once you’ve drawn your post position for this, we don’t worry about it anymore,” said Arrogate trainer Bob Baffert. “It’s up to Mike Smith and he knows what to do. The horse is doing well and that’s more important than the post draw. Once we ship there and keep him happy and healthy that’s all that matters.”
Arrogate arrived at Gulfstream Park Tuesday afternoon following a four hour flight from Santa Anita in Arcadia, CA with assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes.
Baffert was in London this week for the ceremony in which Arrogate was honored Tuesday as Longines World Best Racehorse. Arrogate was also honored as the champion 3-year-old male of 2016 at the Eclipse Awards Jan. 21 at Gulfstream Park. Baffert is scheduled to arrive in South Florida on Wednesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, California Chrome trainer Art Sherman is saying the right things about his 2016 Horse of the Year. But nobody could be happy about drawing the outside post No. 12 and especially at Gulfstream with its short run to the first turn.
“Well, you know we’ve had some outside, inside posts. You know, you can’t make any excuses. The only good thing I thought about this, we won’t have to be in the starting gate long. Chrome is Chrome. He’s got tactical speed. I was hoping we might get closer inside. We can overcome all this, believe me. I’m sure Victor will ride a great race on him. I’m looking forward to it,” said Sherman.
“He looks super right now. I couldn’t be more satisfied. I watched his work the other day . . . he amazes me every time I watch him. He’s a once-in-a-lifetime horse. I just hope everybody has good luck in the race, and we have a fair shake . . . all contestants in the race.”
California Chrome will retire following Saturday’s Pegasus, and his trainer and racing fans worldwide will be saddened but glad to see him race one final time Jan. 28.
“I probably won’t realize [he is retired] until I’m on the airplane going home. Then I will have to reminisce about all the good times,” said Sherman.
The problem with California Chrome’s post draw is he could get caught wide into the first turn. The break is very important when you have a large field. Post position can be really important at Gulfstream because if you’re in 11 or 12 it can be a disadvantage as they break right near the turn. It’s a very short run to the first turn.
Gulfstream Park’s dirt track features a 1 1/8-mile circumference; the Pegasus World Cup is scheduled for 1 1/8 miles. That means that the starting gate will be placed slightly before the finish line, so horses will have to fight for early position or else risk being forced out very wide on the first turn.
California Chrome is a special and remarkable horse. A win in the Pegasus will prove he truly is the best as he tries to overcome another obstacle as the world’s richest and most accomplished race horse.
Pegasus World Cup post positions, including morning-line odds (and jockeys in parentheses):
- Arrogate (Mike Smith), 7-5
- Prayer for Relief (Florent Geroux), 50-1
- Neolithic (John Velazquez), 30-1
- Noble Bird (Julien Leparoux), 25-1
- War Story (Antonio Gallardo), 50-1
- War Envoy (Luis Saez), 50-1
- Shaman Ghost (Jose Oritz), 20-1
- Semper Fortis (Tyler Gaffalione), 50-1
- Keen Ice (Javier Castellano), 12-1
- Breaking Lucky (Luis Contreras), 25-1
- Eragon (Edgar Prado), 50-1
- California Chrome (Victor Espinoza), 6-5