Arrogate rules the world as disappointing California Chrome bows out

Sat 28 Jan 2017

Arrogate ran out an easy winner in the inaugural running of the $12million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park as California Chrome proved a bitter disappointment on the final start of his glittering career.

The richest race in world, overtaking the Dubai World Cup won by California Chrome last year, Noble Bird took the field along through the early stages, with Arrogate perfectly positioned on the rail in third.

Victor Espinoza got California Chrome over from his wide draw, but was racing wide in fourth and the writing was on the wall some way from home, as Mike Smith eased the Bob Baffert-trained Arrogate out to make his move.

With California Chrome back-pedalling, the Breeders' Cup Classic winner - who shot to prominence in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga in August - strode majestically down the stretch for an emphatic success from Shaman Ghost and Neolithic.

Espinoza was not hard on California Chrome, as he let the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner come home in his own time.

Baffert said: "I'm so relieved, down the back side he was trapped in there, (but) when he started making that move I knew right there, what a superior horse he is. I feel bad about California Chrome, he just didn't bring his race today so that match-up never came about.

"It's great to be here, I never thought I'd be here in a $12m race. I'm a little emotional."

Smith said: "Another incredible performance, I used the first turn to our advantage staying on the rail. When I looked and saw Victor having a nudge I thought maybe he isn't there today. I could catch him out of the corner of my eye. That's not the California Chrome I know, he didn't fire today.

"With all respect to the other horses we got to gear down, he's got some turn of foot, some stride."

Art Sherman, trainer of California Chrome, told NBC: "He didn't look real comfortable and didn't break as sharp as he usually does, then he got hung out a little wide but down the back side he had no excuse, he settled in but he didn't have that oomph today that he usually kicks in.

"It looked like he was listless, I don't know why. This is as bad a race as he's ever run for me.

"I congratulate Bob Baffert, that horse is a super nice horse. I can't say enough about him.

"We had a great run, it's been a hell of a journey."

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