Arrogate bests California Chrome to win the $12 million Pegasus World Cup

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Arrogate powered to victory in the first running of the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Saturday in Hallandale Beach, Florida.

Sent to the lead by Mike Smith coming out of the final turn, the 4-year-old trained by Bob Baffert, made a rousing run to the front and pulled away to victory.

“When he started making that move, I knew right there,” Baffert said. “He’s just a superior, great horse.”

His main foe, California Chrome, was not his usual self in his final career race.

Arrogate and California Chrome were third and fourth through much of the race. When Smith asked Arrogate to move he surged forward.

When Victor Espinoza sought a response from California Chrome, he had nothing, backing up and finishing off the board, winding up ninth in the field of 12.

“I don’t mean any disrespect to the other good horses,” Smith said, “But he got to gear down the last 100 yards.”

Arrogate paid $3.80 to win and took home the $7 million winner’s share of the purse.

Shaman Ghost came in second, earning $1.75 million. Neolithic was third, taking home $1 million after coming into the race with $109,000 in earnings.

It was not California Chrome’s day.

“Down the backside he had no excuse,” Chrome’s trainer Art Sherman said. “He looked like he was listless. This was the first bad race he has run for me.

“We had a great run. I congratulate Bob Baffert. That horse is a super-nice horse.”

 

There were 12 horses in the starting gate but the other 10 were considered long shots.

The Pegasus World Cup was contested over 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream Park in Florida.

Its unique format had horsemen/owners buying into the race. Each of the 12 slots coast $1 million, leading to the total purse.

 

California Chrome, now a six-year-old, heads into retirement and stallion duties after a storied career. He started 27 times, winning 16 with 4 seconds and 1 third. California Chrome leaves the sport with more than $14. 5 million in in earnings.

He won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in 2014 before finishing fourth in the Belmont while attempting to capture the Triple Crown.

But that just proved to be the start of 2014’s Horse of the Year.

Chrome had an unsettled four-year-old season in 2015, disrupted by injury, before returning as a five-year-old.

California Chrome won the $10 million Dubai World Cup, formerly the world’s richest race, and had a stellar season before encountering Arrogate in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The duo hooked up in that race and Arrogate got the best of Chrome through the stretch.

Despite the loss, California Chrome was once again voted Horse of the Year.

 

 

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