As the racing world eagerly awaits the rematch between Arrogate and California Chrome in next Saturday’s Pegasus World Cup (G1), the principals are upping the ante with their final works for the $12 million showdown.
Hours after California Chrome threw down the gauntlet with his Saturday morning work at Gulfstream Park, Arrogate issued a rejoinder with yet another powerful move at his home base of Santa Anita.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert sent out his Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) star at 11:45 a.m. (PST), on a track labeled wet-fast. Warming up beneath Martin Garcia, Arrogate settled into an easy rhythm behind his workmate, the four-year-old maiden Uninvited. Garcia gave him a nudge at the top of the stretch, and his partner lengthened stride on cue. Arrogate headed Uninvited passing the wire and opened up on the gallop-out in a taking display of momentum (see video of Arrogate’s work here).
Arrogate officially worked six furlongs in 1:12.13, while Uninvited took 1:13.20. Santa Anita clocker Dane Nelson caught Arrogate in splits of :24.82, :48.87 and 1:01.02. The presumptive champion three-year-old colt galloped out seven furlongs in 1:24.37 and made it a mile in 1:38.32.
Juddmonte’s once-beaten gray thus completed a stiff series of Pegasus works despite having to dodge the raindrops. Arrogate, who enjoyed a brief holiday after defeating California Chrome in the November 5 Classic, has ratcheted up his preparations over the past month. After drilling five furlongs in a bullet :58.40 (best of 76) on December 13, he covered seven furlongs in 1:24.80 on December 21, six panels in 1:12.20 and 1:11.80 on December 27 and January 8 respectively, and fired the six-furlong bullet in 1:12.20 (fastest of 36) on January 15.
“What a relief that was,” Baffert told Santa Anita publicity after Saturday’s work. “I’ve been on pins and needles watching this severe weather pattern. If I’d known we were going to get this much rain, I might’ve gone to Florida for his last work. I love the way he’s training…Last time (January 15), he went a little too quick (early). Today, Martin went off slow with him and he just kept him underneath him.
“He’s fit but we have to wait another week and we’ll need some racing luck. Dennis Moore’s done a great job with this track and I couldn’t be happier. He’ll leave early Tuesday (for Gulfstream).”
Arrogate will bring a five-race winning spree into the Pegasus, where he will face California Chrome over a shorter 1 1/8-mile trip. The son of Unbridled’s Song has scored his signature wins at 1 1/4 miles, in his record-smashing Travers (G1) and in the Breeders’ Cup. “Chromies” will point to that factoid as his key to turning the tables at Gulfstream, while Arrogate fans will insist that he’s equally effective at the Pegasus trip.