2017 Pegasus World Cup arrogate

Arrogate Dominant At 2017 Pegasus

The 2017 Pegasus World Cup cemented one living legend, while signalling the end of another.

Initially the oddsmakers had given the popular California Chrome the benefit of the doubt and made him the slight favorite. But by the time the race began, Arrogate had moved in as the 4/5 favorite with California Chrome holding 6/5 odds as the eventual second choice. The two would exchange early blows right from the onset.

Noble Bird took the field out as the pace setter with 30/1 odds of his own, and was trailed by Neolithic who had settled in at 23/1. Arrogate and California Chrome were next in position, trailed solely by War Story. Shaman Ghost was a few lengths back as the next in line ahead of the remainder who never stood a chance. One of the biggest shocks early on in the 2017 Pegasus was that Keen Ice had slipped all the way to the back and was very much a non-factor.

Clocking at :23.46 and :46.14 for the first two fractions, the pace itself was blistering but Arrogate was set up perfectly for a crash course down the final stretch. When pressed by jockey Mike Smith, Arrogate tore off and took the lead only to open up a cavernous gap between him and the rest of the field. California Chrome was urged on by Victor Espinoza, but simply didn’t have it in him today. It was a runaway victory for champion Arrogate, who solidified himself as the newest big ticket on the block.

California Chrome would slip all the way to 9th in the 2017 Pegasus World Cup during what is now known as the final race of his career. It wasn’t the storybook ending that his connections and fans had hoped for. “It looks like he scrambled away from there and couldn’t get his footing,” trainer Art Sherman noted. “It looked like he wasn’t getting a hold of the racetrack, like maybe his feet were getting out from under him. I don’t know why. He worked good over it.”

Smith was interviewed by NBC following the victory and was quick to point out that, “Once I got out going into the far turn, I knew we were going to be very tough to beat. He had a lot of run today and I was very happy. As far as winning the world’s richest race, I’m absolutely numb.”

It’s hard not to be happy with the lion’s share of the $12 million purse that came along with the 2017 Pegasus World Cup. This was exactly the start that Bob Baffert and the horse’s owners were hoping for, with the Dubai World Cup expected to be his next stop. Imagine winning two races totally $22 million to start the season? It’s unbelievable.

But that’s exactly what Arrogate has become. The reigning Breeders’ Cup Champion and 2017 Pegasus World Cup Champion drew a television rating of approximately 1.25 million with an all-sources handle of just over $40 million. Eyes and interests will be keenly fixated on Arrogate as he continues to storm the season.

As for California Chrome, it’s a quiet end to an otherwise boisterous career. Though the 2017 Pegasus World Cup didn’t unfold the way Sherman had planned, at the very least California Chrome escaped uninjured. He has settled in at Taylor Made Farms where he will begin a lengthy and prosperous second career at stud.

 

Celebrating California Chrome’s Career

California Chrome’s Racing Career comes to a Close

The sensational racing career of California Chrome came to a close Saturday. The world’s richest race did not go as planned for the two time Horse of the Year and 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner. But the interest in racing and specifically the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational received great exposure and coverage thanks to the credentials and career of California Chrome.

The credentials of California Chrome are most credible. In 27 starts, he won 16 times. He added 4 second place showing and one third place finish. He won seven Grade I races and was victorious on ten different race tracks including one in Dubai. His accumulated earnings of $14,752,650 makes him the all-time leading money earner in North America.

Race fans embraced California Chrome, as he developed a legion of followers during his career. In today’s age with more race horses retiring and sent to the breeding shed to earn more money for their connections, we were given a gift with California Chrome continuing to race as a 6-year-old.

Following six straight wins to start the 2016 season, California Chrome came up just short in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. But his connections rewarding racing fans and specifically the ‘Chromies’ with a final race in 2016 at his home track, Los Alamitos. And California Chrome gave his most devoted fans one final victory, by 12 lengths in the Winter Challenge Stakes.

The buildup to the Pegasus World Cup nearly 6 weeks later was great for racing. But the end of an era is one that should be celebrated for California Chrome.

California Chrome is completed booked for the 2017 breeding season, and he was shipped to Kentucky this week and will start test breeding immediately. California Chrome is commanding a fee of $40,000, and perhaps we’ll be lucky enough to see this son of Lucky Pulpit produce another great champion. Regardless, California Chrome, purchased for $10,500, is a symbol of dreams realized and a journey that should be celebrated.

California Chrome Healthy and Ready for Stud Life

X-rays following California Chrome’s final race were all clear and he has now settled into post-racing retirement life at Taylor Made Farm upon arrival on January 29.

Pegged as a favorite to win the $12 million Pegasus Word Cup Invitational Stakes (gr. I), California Chrome finished a disappointing ninth and trainer Art Sherman said he suffered slight swelling in his right knee. To be safe, they ordered x-rays, but no injury was found.

“They thought that when he jogged he may have been a little off in the right front, and they thought there might have been a little heat in his right knee,” said Duncan Taylor. “We’ve been X-raying him after every race, so we went ahead and did a full set of X-rays and everything looks good. There’s not any problem there.”

California Chrome is on schedule for his breeding season, said Taylor.

“He’s settling in good, he’s been out in his paddock and everything is going good so far,” said Taylor. “You know it feels great, the idea that he’s coming here has already sunk in.”

The two-time Horse of the Year is expected to begin his stud life in the middle of February. He retired as the leading North American earning horse, having won $14,752,650 during his career. A majority of his earnings came from ten graded takes wins, which included seven group/grade I wins.

“We’ve had a really good response to the stud fee ($40,000). I haven’t heard anybody saying ‘You stood him too high,'” said Taylor. “We’re able to pick through the mares. We’ve had a really good response from the breeders.”

Taylor also wanted to thank the fans for supporting California Chrome throughout the years:

“We really appreciate all the fans, and the people who have got to enjoy Chrome and seeing that has been a lot of our enjoyment. You really get to see first-hand how much a lot of people really love horses. You see these fans, when they fall in love with a horse, how much they actually care about them; it’s really moving and rewarding to see. And you realize how blessed you are to be around these animals every day.”

Hurricane Bertie Handicapping Preview

Favorites Curlin’s Approval and Genre Head Hurricane Bertie Stakes at Gulfstream

The Hurricane Bertie (G3) has a field of 8 lined up for this Saturday as its part of The Pegasus undercard. This race goes a distance of 7 furlongs and has a $100,000 purse. It’s part of the sequence of the pick 4 and pick 5, and the morning line favorite Curlin’s Approval is the deserving favorite and the single of the day.

Curlin’s Approval

This filly has a real affinity for the Gulfstream Park main track as you can see in her career running line. Curlin’s Approval has started 5 times over this surface and she has 3 wins and 1 place from those starts. In her last outing in the Grade III Rampart as the odds on favorite, she engaged in a suicide duel with Genre for 6 furlongs. As they turned for home in the 1-mile race, Curlin’s Approval battled neck and neck down the stretch with Eskenformoney and came up just short at the wire. She was coming into that race off a two month layoff and was facing a very sharp filly from the Todd Pletcher barn. Curlins’ Approval has been working very well since that race. In two recent morning sessions, she was given the bullet work of the day for those works out of 11.

Trainer Todd Pletcher will try Genre again and she breaks from the rail and is the second betting choice on the morning line. However this Bernardini filly is carrying top weight and is also cutting back to a sprint as her past 12 races have all been at a route of ground. She’s a very consistent filly as her running line shows 13 starts with 5 wins, 4 places, and 2 shows. But note this is her first start at 7 furlongs. While Genre faded a bit to finish 3rd last time out, she may well be the favorite come post time as her connections are always backed at the window and also off her past competition.

The remaining contenders are You Bought Her (9/2) and Bodacious Babe (6/1). Value may be found with Sugar Cone (30/1) from the George Arnold barn, as she will out run her morning line in a big way and provide a nice exotic score is she hits the board.

The Hurricance Bertie is race 3 at Gulfstream Park on Saturday with a post time of 12:30 ET.

Kenny Schmitt contributed to this article. Follow him on Twitter @FBWinners. 

Gulfstream Catalog Now Online

The Gulfstream Sale of selected two-year-olds in training will take place at Hallandale Beach, Florida, at 4 PM on March 1 this year. Fasig-Tipton has cataloged a total of 162 juveniles for the sale, which will be held at the waking ring in Gulfstream Park. There will also be an under track show set to start at 10 AM on February 27.

“This sale has a lot of momentum coming off two highly successful renewals since moving to Gulfstream Park in 2015,” said Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning. “This catalog reflects that momentum, with increased numbers and outstanding quality.”

2016 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Nyquist, a 2015 sales graduate, graces the cover of this year’s catalog.

“There is no better advertisement for a sale than selling the Kentucky Derby winner,” said Browning. “It’s a great testament to the quality of horses our consignors offer at Gulfstream, and to the success that buyers are finding from purchasing these horses off a proven dirt track.  Prior to winning the Kentucky Derby, Nyquist won the (Xpressbet.com) Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream 13 months after he had performed over the very same racetrack in our under tack show.”

The sales topper last year was a Tapit son, who was sold for $1.8 million. Copies of this year’s catalog can be picked up on January 30. You can also download the catalog via the Equineline sales catalog app or download it online from the Fasig-Tipton website.

2016 Longines World's Best Racehorse

Arrogate Is 2016 Longines World’s Best Racehorse

It only took two races for Arrogate to prove exactly what he’s worth to this incredible sport. The now four-year-old champion has been awarded the 2017 Longines World’s Best Racehorse title, beating out California Chrome. He did the very same on the track when the two met at the Breeders’ Cup Classic in last season’s grand finale. That victory helped Arrogate earn enough points in the Longines rating system to win the award.

Arrogate totalled 134 points after the Breeders’ Cup Classic to beat out California Chrome, who had 133 points by season’s end. The body of work between the two is starkly different and may be a point of contention in how the 2016 Longines World’s Best Racehorse rankings were determined.

To be fair, California Chrome competed in six races last year, going 5-1-0 throughout those challenges. That volume of work should, in itself, give him an edge in the 2016 Longines World’s Best Racehorse rankings. The now six-year-old competitor won a Dubai Handicap, the Dubai World Cup, the San Diego Handicap, Pacific Classic and Awesome Again Stakes before placing second to Arrogate at the Breeders’ Cup Classic in a hotly anticipated showdown. California Chrome’s wins at the San Diego Handicap and Pacific were monumental at the time as well.

By comparison, Arrogate ran in only the Travers Stakes and the aforementioned Breeders’ Cup Classic. But his performances in those races were earth shattering. He broke a 37-year old track record in winning the Travers by 13 1/2 lenghts, and his speed rating at the Classic was one of the fastest recorded all year.

Finishing third in the standings for the 2016 Longines World’s Best Racehorse rankings was Winx out of Australia, followed by Almanzor from France and Japan’s A Shin Hikari.

“It is a great honor and a thrill that the Breeders’ Cup Classic has been selected the world’s highest rated race of 2016,” said Craig Fravel, president of the Breeders’ Cup. “Arrogate and California Chrome put on a tremendous display for all of racing that day at Santa Anita Park, and to showcase such an exciting event on an international stage means so much to us. Bob Baffert said it best: ‘We are just so proud to have horses like these. It’s all about the horses.’ Our sincere thanks to the IFHA, and to Longines for their remarkable commitment to Thoroughbred racing.”

Arrogate and California Chrome will compete yet again in the 2017 Pegasus World Cup which offers a purse of $12 million. The race unfolds this Saturday, January 28th at Gulfstream.

Tepin Puts in Promising Work

Trainer Mark Casse has gotten to know Tepin very well over the years and whenever he wants her to put in a serious work on the track he has to give her a target to meet.

That’s exactly what happened the morning after the six-year-old daughter of Bernstein won the turf female award for a second straight year, as she ran four furlongs in a time of :47 4/5. The bullet run took place in the company of Tamit at the Palm Meadows Training Center turf.

After missing two days of training because she kicked a wall in her stall, the work was essential in ensuring she will make her 2017 debut in the Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes (gr. IIIT) on February 11 at Tampa Bay Downs.

“It’s amazing. When she’s by herself, you have to watch out. She’ll trip and not pay attention,” said Casse. “When she focuses, she puts it in a different mode. She was moving very well, and she got something out of it.

“One thing I will say is…I saw that in Saratoga she got a little on the heavy side because of so many visitors and so many mints and sweet potatoes. She doesn’t get as many visitors here (at Palm Meadows) and she’s stayed a little more lean.

So I don’t think it’s going to take quite as much to get her back. I’d say we’re 60-40 (to go in the Endeavour).”
The Endeavour is a possible stepping stone towards running in the Dubai Turf (gr. I). The timing is crucial, as there is talk of possibly retiring Tepin.

“We wanted to know that if we felt like it was rushing to make Dubai, if they still wanted to run her another year. In other words, was Dubai the only reason in running her again because if it was, we were starting to feel a little bit of a pinch to make the Endeavour,” said Casse. “After a good discussion, we decided as long as she’s happy and healthy, they want to run her another year and if we don’t make Dubai, it’s OK. We may even entertain Royal Ascot again.”

Veteran Trackman Moore Adds Del Mar Duties to Resume

Dennis Moore, the veteran trackman who is currently the track superintendent will be adding one more job title to his resume: director of track maintenance at Del Mar. The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club made the announcement on January 19.

The 67-year-old Moore has been involved in the horse racing industry for over 44 years, working at racetracks worldwide. Moore plans to work at both Del Mar and Santa Anita Park.

“Having consistency is a key element in safety and that can mean surface and personnel,” said Del Mar President/General Manager Joe Harper. “With Dennis Moore on board at Southern California’s two major tracks—both featuring the same racing surfaces—we’ve moved solidly in that direction. We owe Keith Brackpool and his people at Santa Anita a big thank you for their willingness to share Dennis with us, which will go a long way toward enhancing Southern California’s racing and training environment.

“We’re doing everything in our power to ensure the finest, safest, and most horse-friendly racing surface we possibly can offer at Del Mar. Dennis knows his business, and our horsemen know Dennis and respect the work he does.”

During his career, Moore has accumulated a large number skills, maintaining and building racetracks not only in the United States, but also in Canada, the Middle East, and Europe. One of his latest projects was directing the expansion of the Los Alamitos Race Course to one mile from its previous five furlongs distance. He also over saw a dirt track installation at Santa Anita in 2014 using “El Segundo sand”. Something Del Mar did last year on its main track.

“Dennis is not only one of the most savvy trackmen in the country, he’s got an almost instinctive feel for how the ‘El Segundo sand’ sets up and plays, which will be a natural plus for his work here at Del Mar,” said Del Mar Executive Vice-President of Racing Tom Robbins. “He’s a pro’s pro and a very bright man who is always learning and open to new ideas. He takes input from all sources and uses it to good advantage.”

Moore will replace Steven Wood Jr., who will now be the senior crew member under Moore.

2017 sunshine millions classic awesome slew

Awesome Slew In 2017 Sunshine Millions Classic

The horse to watch in the 2017 Sunshine Millions Classic remains Awesome Slew, a slow burning four-year-old colt who had been flirting with the winner’s circle through the fall of last year. The Edward Plesa Jr. trainee finished 3rd at the Harlan’s Holiday to cap his 2016 campaign, but also proved worth at the thrilling Pennsylvania Derby where he finished 5th after winning the Smarty Jones (G3) in early September.

There was some thought of running the up-and-coming colt on the Pegasus World Cup undercard out of Gulfstream, but Plesa ultimately decided that the 2017 Sunshine Millions Classic was a better fit. “I think it’s a good spot for him, because it is restricted to Florida-breds,” Plesa said. “Live Oak does breed horses that are Florida-breds and it’s an opportunity for us to run in a race that certainly isn’t going to be anywhere near a Pegasus-type race.”

Running from the outside post should give Awesome Slew an advantage against a decently competitive field, but it’s his experience that makes him the horse to back overall. There’s a lot of filler in this race. Piloting will attempt to get his first win for Mark Casse in his 27th attempt. Tiger of Wales will be making his stakes debut despite being a five-year-old.

“He’s just stepping up to the plate,” Plesa continued about the expected 2017 Sunshine Millions Classic favorite. “He’s been compromised by odd things that happen to horses—sickness being his main thing—and we were trying to play catch-up all last year. We finally caught up in the Smarty Jones and then I ran him back a little quicker than he probably would have liked in the Pennsylvania Derby. He’s been training great and he’s doing great. I think he’ll hit his full stride this year.”

Awesome Slew comes from a strong lineage so he could certainly be a surprise as a four-year-old. The journey to prove his overall worth to Plesa and horse players around the country begins this weekend.

2017 Sunshine Millions Classic – Saturday, January 21st at Gulfstream (8:35pm EST)
1 1/8th Miles — 4+ Year Olds — $200,000 

PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 Tiger of Wales (FL) Tyler Gaffalione 119 Michael J. Maker
2 Nauset Beach (FL) Paco Lopez 117 Teresa M. Pompay
3 Hy Riverside (FL) Jose L. Ortiz 119 Antonio Sano
4 We’re All Set (FL) Luis Saez 117 Fernando Abreu
5 Joshua’s Comprise (FL) Martin Ramos Ramirez 117 Barry R. Rose
6 Piloting (FL) Luca Panici 117 Mark E. Casse
7 Uncle Vinny (FL) John R. Velazquez 117 Todd A. Pletcher
8 Awesome Slew (FL) Javier Castellano 123 Edward Plesa, Jr.

Favorites Featured in the Duncan F. Kenner at Fair Grounds

Holy Boss and Yockey’s Warrior Lead Duncan F. Kenner Stakes

A big day of racing at the Fair Grounds Saturday features six stakes races. It starts in race 5 with the 64th running of the Duncan F. Kenner and the two favorites are featured in the 6 furlong sprint with a $75,000 purse. Just six runners will be in the gate and the ‘Boss’ will be the most bet come post time.

Yockeys’s Warrior (9/5) has won his last two races including the Thanksgiving Handicap here when he made early work of the field. He let the front runner blast out and set all the pace as he just tracked them in 3rd and when the real running started down the lane he roasted them closing the final 1/8th in .12 seconds flat. What makes this effort more impressive, the son of Warriors Reward was making his stakes debut in that Nov. 24 race. His trainer Al Stall Jr. had high hopes for him as a 3-year-old as he broke his maiden at the Fairgrounds like a good thing, but couldn’t

Holy Boss winning the Chick Lang Stakes

repeat that effort and went on a 4 race losing streak. But as a 4-year-old his 2016 racing season was much more impressive as he won 3-of-5 races and is also training well off that win leading into his 2017 debut. His last two races have been his best efforts to date as he’s no longer a run off type as he’s matured to listen to his jock and take back and settle in a very nice breathing pattern. He’s running with his ears pricked, instead of pinning them down and exerting all his energy during the early stages of the race.  This is the saltiest field he’s faced in his career and he will have to repeat his last two efforts or better to get the win this afternoon. But Yockey’s Warrior likes the Fair Grounds surface having won twice along with a show in three starts, and he’s also won 3 of 4 starts at this distance.

Holy Boss (7/5) is the deserving favorite off his resume alone. This son of Street Boss has faced the cream of the crop over the past two years. He ran off four straight wins in early 2015 including a win at Pimlico in the Chick Lang Stakes. But he’s failed to win in nine starts since with a pair of places and shows in six starts in 2016. But a big effort is expected right from the gate in his first run at the Fair Grounds. One thing to note is jockey Ricardo Santana was the last jockey to win aboard Holy Boss and trainer Steve Asmussen will instruct him to break quickly and we expect a solid run to the half mile marker before a strong stretch finish in front.

Kenny Schmitt contributed to this article. Follow him on Twitter @FBWinners