Fri 27/01/2017 - 18:57 EST

Pegasus World Cup Contenders

Pegasus World Cup Entries

By Brent Sedo

Even though he fell short in his bid for the 2014 Triple Crown, California Chrome has gone on to have a legendary horse racing career, winning major stakes races all over the world, and accumulating record earnings of over $14 million. The Pegasus will be his 27th and final race, and his connections desperately want him to go out a winner.

Taking him on is Arrogate, who took the racing world by storm when he won the Grade 1 Travers Stakes in August in track record time. He then came back in his next race to beat California Chrome by a half-length in the 2016 Breeders' Cup Classic. 

Those two are head-and-shoulders above the field of 12, which, although it includes another Travers Stakes winner in Keen Ice, a Queen's Plate winner in Shaman Ghost and and a handful of others with stakes wins on their resume, also includes some that haven't been in the winner's circle in years, and others that have never even raced at this level, let alone won.

But even the top two have some obstacles to overcome. In a quirk of the draw, they will be at opposite ends of the gate, with Arrogate down in #1, and California Chrome at the end in #12.

For the 1 1/8 mile race, the run into the first turn from the gate is fairly short, and both horses will have to come out running hard to try and get a good position into the turn. That effort might prove costly later in the race.

For Arrogate, there's also the fact he hasn't had a race since winning the BC in early November. There is some conventional wisdom in that many horses essentially need a tune-up race after a three-month layoff before they're at their best. That being said, all indications are that both horses have been training very well.

With such low odds available on the top two, the handicapping task is to sort through the rest to find the horses that could get on the ticket, even if they don't win.

Both Keen Ice and Shaman Ghost are possibilities, although in both cases they would probably be better served if the race was run at 1 1/4 miles. If California Chrome and Arrogate get pushed into a fast pace early - likely joined by Noble Bird and maybe one other - one or the other may be slowing enough late to be caught from behind. Based the most recent past races, Breaking Lucky probably ran the best in finishing second in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap, behind Gun Runner (who would have been the clear third choice for the Pegasus if he hadn't fallen victim to a quarentine of horses from his home track in Louisiana), and rates some consideration as well.

Making his first start in the US, Argentina-based Eregon has won 10 of 20 races on his home soil, and benefits here from a 5 lb. weight advantage over the rest of the field, carrying 119 pounds rather than 124, but he's a complete wildcard in this race.

The Pegasus World Cup goes Saturday, Jan. 28 from Gulfstream Park. Post time is 5:40 PM Eastern. 

Entries w/ Morning Line Odds

1) Arrogate (7-5)

2) Prayer For Relief (50-1)

3) Neolithic (30-1)

4) Noble Bird (25-1)

5) War Story (50-1)

6) War Envoy (50-1)

7) Shaman Ghost (20-1)

8) Semper Fortis (50-1)

9) Keen Ice (12-1)

10) Breaking Lucky (25-1)

11) Eregon (50-1)

12) California Chrome (6-5)

OSB PICKS

#1 - California Chrome

#2 - Shaman Ghost

#3 - Arrogate

#4 - Breaking Lucky