By Jay Privman
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.–The inaugural $12 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park looks on paper like a match race between Arrogate and California Chrome, and the possibility of the two hooking up early in the race increased Monday when they drew posts that likely will force them to be used immediately from the gate to maintain or hold position.
Arrogate landed the rail and California Chrome got the outside post in a field of 12 when the posts were drawn early Monday evening. The Pegasus is a 1 1/8-mile race on a 1 1/8-mile racetrack, so California Chrome will have to go from his slot; Arrogate likely will, too, to avoid having inferior horses drop over on him into the first turn. Arrogate also had the rail in the Travers, and was sent hard that day en route to a record-setting victory.
Arrogate and California Chrome finished one-two in their only prior meeting, in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in November at Santa Anita going 1 1/4 miles.
Art Sherman, California Chrome’s trainer, rolled his eyes when California Chrome got the far outside post.
“Well, at least we won’t have to be in the gate too long,” he said. “Oh gosh, here we go again.”
This will be California Chrome’s final race before he goes to stud. Alan Sherman, Art’s son and assistant, said there’s no reason to be timid because California Chrome won’t race again.
“We’ll take it to ’em,” Alan Sherman said. “Ain’t gotta leaving nothing in the tank.”
Post 12 is 1 for 18 in 1 1/8-mile dirt races since Gulfstream Park was expanded from a mile in circumference in 2006. Posts 10 through 12 are a combined 7 for 117.
Noble Bird, who drew post 4, does his best running when he makes the top, so he has to be sent. There’s the distinct possibility the early pace will be faster than par.
Jay Stone, who makes the morning line at Gulfstream Park, has California Chrome as the 6-5 favorite, with Arrogate next at 7-5.
Here’s the field, from the rail out, with riders and morning-line prices:
— Arrogate, Mike Smith the rider, 7-5 odds;
— 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 Ortiz, 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.
There are three alternates in case of late scratches of three specific horses. Alternates could be declared for all 12 runners, but only three owners or lessees exercised the insurance plan for their slots.
— Stanford would replace Arrogate if he’s a late scratch;
— Sea Raven would replace Breaking Lucky if he’s a late scratch;
— Madefromlucky would replace California Chrome if he’s a late scratch.
The race will be televised live by NBC from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time Saturday.