Saturday, January 28, 2017

Pegasus World Cup Invitational Race

Frank Stronach probably envisioned his dream race, today's Pegasus World Cup Invitational, as a hard-fought, nose-to-nose, eyeball-to-eyeball, stride-for-stride fight down the stretch - this year, between California Chrome and Arrogate.  This year, the inaugural running, was to be "something really special" - and it was, but I don't think it happened the way Stronach played it out in his vision.
  The race was 1 1/8 miles on the main dirt track; the half-mile was run in :46 flat, according to the announcer.  The final time was 1:47.61.
   Twelve horses started the race, and twelve horses finished.  It turned out that the race was a showcase for Arrogate, the roan son of Unbridled's Song - he won by 4 3/4 lengths, under jockey Mike Smith.  Shaman Ghost ran second, 3 1/2 lengths in front of Neolithic, who was 2 3/4 lengths in front of fourth-placed Keen Ice.  Arrogate's hare of the $12 million purse was $7 million.  Ghostzapper's son, Shaman Ghost picked up $1.75 million for placing, and Neolithic, the son of Harlan's Holiday, increased his bankroll by $1 million.  Every other horse who ran received a payment of $250,000.
   California Chrome looked good before the race, and he broke well from his outside post position,  He was wide on the first turn, some six lanes out from the rail.  He seemed to gallop steadily and smoothly down the backstretch, but when Victor Espinoza asked him to run, as Mike Smith made his move with Arrogate, it didn't seem he responded...  In fact, he started losing ground coming into the stretch, and finished ninth of twelve.  It looked, to me, that he was gazing at the stands, even with his blinkers on...  After the race, it was determined that he had a build-up of fluid in his right knee.  He will be carefully watched and checked, and if the inflammation abates quickly, he will be shipped to his new home to began his duties as a stallion at Taylor Made.
   As usual, I was rooting for the South American-bred horse, Eragon, a four-year-old, who was running for the first time in the United States, and the only horse running without lasix.  He was given a 5 pound allowance for not being medicated.  He wasn't the last horse out of the gate, but he was last at the first turn, and he stayed last...    Silly me.

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