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Post Time: California Chrome, Arrogate headline Pegasus field

The draw for the 12 horses of the inaugural running of the Pegasus World Cup was held this evening in Hallandale Beach, Fla. at Frankey’s Sports Bar. The top two ranked horses in the world, California Chrome and Arrogate will headline the $12 million race.

The two stalwarts are set for a rematch of their dramatic duel in last November’s Breeders’ Cup Classic , where Arrogate motored past a front-running California Chrome in deep stretch.  The loss was the only one of the 2016 season for the newly crowned Horse of the Year. Arrogate received top 3-year-old male honors at the 46th annual Eclipse Awards.

On Saturday night, Chrome defeated Arrogate in the voting despite losing to him in their only matchup on the race track. This Saturday will be Chrome’s final start and could potentially add to his record $14.5 million of career earnings.

The event itself had storylines going into the post draw, the drama intensified with Arrogate drawing the rail and California Chrome drawing the outside post.  It’s been known to be very difficult winning from the far outside with the short run to the first turn.  Big Brown, won from the No. 12 post in the 2008 Florida Derby on his way to a Kentucky Derby win.

Arrogate will be able to save ground, likely drafting in behind the leaders to positioned to make his move.

Trainer Art Sherman was hoping for a post more on the inside, but didn’t discount the outside gate. “You can’t make any excuses,” said Sherman. “The only good thing is, that we won’t be in the starting gate long,” he said.

Arrogate will load first and Chrome last for the world’s richest horse race.

On the local front, two horses that won races in the 2015 Canadian Triple Crown are entered in one of the slots that cost stakeholders $1 million to join.  Shaman Ghost, the 2015 Queen’s Plate winner and Breaking Lucky, the Prince of Wales winner at Fort Erie in the same year both have legitimate chances to score on Saturday night.

Some tidbits from the post position draw:

  • The purse for the Pegasus will be disbursed as follows: $7 million to the winner, $1.75 million to the second-place finisher and $1 million for third place. The remaining nine participants will receive $250,000.  The stakeholders of each of the 12 spots will also have a one-twelfth share in several revenue sources from the race, sharing in the “net revenue” from the handle on the Pegasus and any net revenue received from television or media rights.
  • For horseplayers, a Late Pick-4 (Races 9-12) will be available with a guaranteed pool of $1 million, and the Late Pick-5 will have a guarantee of $500,000.
  • The track record for 9-furlongs at Gulfstream was set in the Donn Handicap in February 2014, with the speedy Arrogate and Chrome on board, the 1:46.86 time could be in jeopardy.
  • There were three also-eligible (AE) entrants: Madefromlucky (potential substitute for California Chrome), Sea Raven (Breaking Lucky) and Stanford (Arrogate) in case one of those three drops out of the race.
  • The race will be televised live by NBC Sports (Ch. 2) at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.
  • Gun Runner, the winner of the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs in November, and a contender on last year’s Triple Crown trail was denied entry earlier today. Gulfstream officials rejected the entry because the horse had not been tested for equine herpesvirus through a nasal swab. Stabled at the Fair Grounds, which until last Saturday had been under a quarantine, the son of Candy Ride was third in last year’s Kentucky Derby.

The field for Inaugural running of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational (Race 12, 1 1/8-miles):

PP Horse Trainer Jockey ML odds
1 Arrogate Baffert Smith 7-5
2 Prayer for Relief Romans Geroux 50-1
3 Neolithic Pletcher Velazquez 30-1
4 Noble Bird Casse Leparoux 25-1
5 War Story Navarro Gallardo 50-1
6 War Envoy Dollase Saez 50-1
7 Shaman Ghost Jerkens Ortiz 20-1
8 Semper Fortis O'Neill Gaffalione 50-1
9 Keen Ice Pletcher Castellano 12-1
10 Breaking Lucky Baker Contreras 25-1
11 Eragon Wohlers Prado 50-1
12 California Chrome Sherman Espinoza 6-5
13 - AE Stanford
14 - AE Sea Raven
15 - AE Madefromlucky

 

The News will have coverage of the Pegasus in Saturday and Sunday’s print editions and the usual online coverage of the undercard races online.

Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, tweets @EquiSpace.

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