Arrogate won the Pegasus World Cup Invitational
The inaugural Pegasus World Cup was expected to be a rematch between two champions: multiple Eclipse Award winner California Chrome and the colt who defeated him in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Arrogate. Instead, viewers saw Arrogate gallop to victory while California Chrome faded to ninth out of twelve.
“That matchup never came about,” Bob Baffert, trainer of Arrogate, said in a post-race interview, speaking of the much-awaited race between California Chrome and Arrogate. Evenly matched for much of their last meeting, the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic, Arrogate edged out California Chrome, leaving fans in a hot debate as to who is the better horse.
Breaking well from the inside post position, Arrogate had the jump on Chrome, who was stuck six wide going into the first turn after breaking from the very outside post position. Through the backstretch, they were evenly matched, sitting two lengths off the leader, Noble Bird. Coming out of the far turn and heading into the homestretch, Arrogate took the lead while California Chrome faltered, leaving the way clear for Arrogate to cruise easily to the wire in a 3 ½ length win over Shaman Ghost and Neolithic, who picked up second and third.
“Getting out was the anxious part,” Mike Smith, jockey of Arrogate, said when interviewed immediately after the finish. “Chrome just didn’t fire his race today at all. Believe me, that’s not the Chrome I know.”
This was echoed by one of California Chrome’s owners, Art Sherman. “He looked like he was listless,” he commented after the race, “This is the first bad race he’s ever run for me.” California Chrome’s racing record confirms this, it being his worst finish in a twenty-seven race career. The six-year-old California Chrome begins his new career in the breeding shed on February 14th. As Art Sherman stated, “It’s been a hell of a journey.”
As for the four-year-old winner, Arrogate, he has had a remarkable journey. Ten months ago, Arrogate had yet to even start in a race. After breaking his maiden June 5th, Arrogate did not lose another race, becoming one of the most talked-about racehorses of the year after annihilating his competition in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes on August 27th at Santa Anita Park. His next race, the Breeders’ Cup Classic, catapulted him into superstardom. With his victory in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational, he cements his place as the current number one in the World’s Best Racehorse Rankings. It remains to be seen how the rest of his 2017 season will play out, but it has certainly begun with a bang.