Less than a month into 2017, the Race of the Year is here. It unfolds Saturday at Gulfstream Park where Horse of the World Arrogate
meets Horse of the Year California Chrome
in the inaugural $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at 1 1/8 miles.
Opinions on which of the two Southern California-based champions--Arrogate, 2016 Male Three-Year-Old Eclipse Award winner--and California Chrome, 2016 Horse of the Year and Older Dirt Male, varied in a random sampling of Santa Anita-based trainers, as noted:
Richard Baltas: Chrome. He’s been training at Gulfstream; Arrogate has not.
Alexis Barba: I’ve got to go with Chrome. I loved Arrogate as a three-year-old, but I’ve got to go with ‘the man.’
Rafael Beccera: California Chrome 100 percent.
David Bernstein: Arrogate might be the best horse but Chrome might have a tactical advantage because he’s been training there and it’s a mile and an eighth.
Simon Callaghan: It’s a coin flip, I think.
Jack Carava: I like Arrogate based on the post positions, but on training, both are prepared to give it their best shots.
James Cassidy: Arrogate. The 12 hole is a big problem (for Chrome). It’s a short run to the first turn, and it’s not like there’s a bum in the one hole.
Ben Cecil: I’d like to see Chrome win but I’m probably leaning towards Arrogate.
Vladimir Cerin: I just hope it’s a good race.
Phil D’Amato: I give Chrome the edge. At Los Al (Winter Challenge) he was eight wide (actually six), so I don’t think the post matters.
Neil Drysdale: I like ‘em both. I’ll take either one of them.
Ron Ellis: Chrome, because Arrogate hasn’t been able to maintain a normal training schedule.
Peter Eurton: Chrome with the outside draw.
Neil French: I’m leaning slightly towards Arrogate.
Paddy Gallagher: I just want to see a great race.
Mark Glatt: Arrogate.
Jorge Gutierrez: I think Arrogate is the best horse in the country but California Chrome is the best horse of a lifetime.
Bruce Headley: Chrome. Years ago Art Sherman galloped the best horse (Swaps) and now he trains the best horse.
Dan Hendricks: Chrome, just off the pace with a stalking trip and then blow by them.
Eric Kruljac: If I had to bet my life it would be Arrogate, but I’m 100 percent behind Chrome emotionally.
Ian Kruljac: At a mile and an eighth, Chrome.
Jerry Hollendorfer: Both are California guys; I’d like to see one of those win it, so whichever one wins is fine with me. I think they have to beat Chrome, even though Arrogate beat him before (by a half length in the Breeders’ Cup Classic). I think people are trying to say Arrogate’s not ready, but Bob (Baffert) wouldn’t take him back there if he wasn’t.
Marty Jones: Chrome. Going with the Cal-bred.
Steve Knapp: Arrogate. He’s got a better post.
Brian Koriner: Chrome is too tough.
Craig Lewis: It’s a coin flip.
Mike Machowsky: I’d like to have either one.
Ron McAnally: Arrogate. If I said Chrome, Baffert would choke me.
Mike McCarthy: It looks like a great race. I just don’t know who, though.
Sean McCarthy: Arrogate, but I’d like Chrome to win it.
Gary Mandella: The post positions aren’t good for either horse, but I’d say Chrome.
Richard Mandella: They’re both very good. I couldn’t pick between ‘em.
Alfredo Marquez: I love Chrome. He’s been at Gulfstream and had works on the track.
Steve Miyadi: I just hope it’s a great race.
Hector Palma: California Chrome. The distance is shorter and it’s better for him.
George Papaprodromou: Arrogate. I think he’s the better horse.
Jorge Periban: Chrome.
Dean Pederson: I give Chrome a slight edge. He didn’t have to train through adverse conditions. Face it: this is Chrome’s all-in race. Arrogate has the whole year ahead of him, but never underestimate Baffert.
Marcelo Polanco: Chrome is the better horse. He’s been there and he’s acclimated.
John Sadler: It’s pretty close. Maybe Chrome goes out on top.
Gary Sherlock: I think the distance favors Chrome. I don’t think he’d beat Arrogate going a mile and a quarter.
John Shirreffs: I’m a Chrome fan.
Cliff Sise Jr.: It’s 50-50. It should be a good race right down to the wire.
Gary Stute: A mile and an eighth suits Chrome better. Arrogate’s better at a mile and a quarter.
Eddie Truman: Chrome at a mile and an eighth. If it was a mile and a quarter, I’d go with Arrogate. Chrome will be rolling this time, not sitting there waiting, but Arrogate’s just been spectacular, the way he’s looking.
Kathy Walsh: I’m pulling for Chrome. It should be a fabulous race. Arthur did a helluva job giving the horse to the world.
Howard Zucker: I love Chrome. I think the distance favors him.
The field for the Pegasus, the 12th and last race, with a scheduled post time of 2:44 p.m. Pacific Time: Arrogate, Mike Smith, 7-5; Prayer for Relief, Florent Geroux, 50-1; Neolithic, John Velazquez, 30-1; Noble Bird, Julien Leparoux, 25-1; War Story, Antonio Gallardo, 50-1; War Envoy, Luis Saez, 50-1; Shaman Ghost, Jose Ortiz, 20-1; Semper Fortis, Tyler Gaffalione, 50-1; Keen Ice, Javier Castellano, 12-1; Breaking Lucky, Luis Contreras, 25-1; Eragon, Edgar Prado, 50-1; and California Chrome, Victor Espinoza, 6-5.
Whether Chrome or Arrogate is the post time favorite remains to be seen, although an argument could be made that whichever horse is the chalk, the price could be closer to 4-5.
NBC will air the Pegasus live from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. PST.
MIYADI HAS TWO FOR THE MONEY ON SATURDAY
Trainer Steve Miyadi has two horses entered on Saturday’s Sunshine Millions Day card at Santa Anita featuring five stakes offering $1 million for California-bred or sired horses. They are three-year-olds Mr. Hinx in the $250,000 California Cup Derby at a mile and one-sixteenth, and Ms Wayaka in the $200,000 California Cup Oaks at a mile on turf.
Both are longshots, but Miyadi recognizes that “you can’t win if you’re not in.”
Mr. Hinx, owned by longtime Miyadi client Gary Barber, is coming off a handy six furlong maiden win, while Ms Wakaya, also owned by a longtime client, owner/breeder Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, had issues breaking from the rail when she was a well-beaten fourth in the one mile Soviet Problem at Los Alamitos Dec. 17.
“Mr. Hinx has speed and is stretching out,” Miyadi said, “and there’s other speed in the race, but the horse is doing well.
“Ms Wakaya was sort of looking around after breaking from the one hole in the Soviet Problem, and while she wasn’t going to beat the winner (Sircat Sally, who scored by 12 lengths), she did improve her position and might have been closer.’
The Oaks, race five: Cash Prize, Chantal Sutherland, 20-1; Cioppino Pasadino, Joe Talamo, 30-1; How About Zero, Mario Gutierrez, 15-1; Bella Luma, Rafael Bejarano, 10-1; Adios Call, Norberto Arroyo Jr., 12-1; Ms Wayaka, Kent Desormeaux, 20-1; Miss Sunset, Martin Garcia, 12-1; My Pi Romancer, Flavien Prat, 3-1; Sircat Sally, no rider, 9-5; and Princess Roi, Corey Nakatani, 5-2.
The field for the Derby, race nine: Tribal Storm, Rafael Bejarano, 8-1; Ann Arbor Eddie, Mario Gutierrez, 5-2; Mr. Hinx, Norberto Arroyo Jr., 10-1; Hot Smoke, Joe Talamo, 8-1; California Diamond, Kent Desormeaux, 5-2; Six Point Rack, Stewart Elliott, 12-1; and Colis Gold, Martin Garcia, 2-1.
SPECIAL FIRST POST TIME SATURDAY IS 11:45 A.M.
In an effort to better accommodate both the inaugural running of the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational from Gulfstream and a 10-race Sunshine Millions/California Cup card locally, Santa Anita has moved first post time Saturday to 11:45 a.m.
VAN DYKE SUFFERS BROKEN ARM IN RIDING SPILL
Drayden Van Dyke was at Huntington Memorial Hospital Friday morning after suffering a compound fracture to his right arm following a two-horse spill in Thursday’s fourth race, according to his agent, Brad Pegram.
The 22-year-old jockey underwent surgery shortly after arriving at the hospital in nearby Pasadena, and was thankfully cleared of any injuries to his head, neck and spine.
Van Dyke, champion apprentice jockey of 2014, had five wins, nine seconds and two thirds from 51 mounts at Santa Anita through Thursday. He was aboard the pace-setting Tawny when the filly went wrong turning into the homestretch.
Rally Back, trailing Tawny, could not avoid the fallen horse, unseating jockey Chantal Sutherland, who escaped injury and was working horses Friday morning.
Rally Back was not injured.
FINISH LINES: With Southern California weather back to normal (no rain), there were 265 recorded workouts this morning, including 39 on the training track. Both surfaces were labeled “fast.” . . . Tamarack Bay is the dam of three California Cup runners Saturday, notes Jon White, Santa Anita’s morning-line odds maker. “Tamarando and Ward ’n Jerry in the California Cup Turf Classic and Six Point Rack in the California Cup Derby are all offspring of Tamarack Bay,” White said. “As a broodmare, Tamarack Bay has a terrific record. Tamarando is a Grade I winner. In addition, he has produced Luckarack, a multiple stakes winner, and U’narack, a stakes winner. Ward ’n Jerry, Six Point Rack and Luckarack are by Lucky Pulpit, the sire of California Chrome, twice voted Horse of the Year (2014 and 2016). Tamarack Bay’s sire is Dehere, an Eclipse Award winner in 1993 as champion 2-year-old male . . . Santa Anita hosts a trackside wine festival Saturday featuring delicious food and wine tasting throughout the day. To purchase tickets, visit santaanata.com/events . . . Congratulations to Chad Lindsay on winning his first race of the meet Thursday with his 16th mount aboard Good N Naughty for trainer Hector Palma. The three-year-old California-bred filly captured the first race by 8 ¼ lengths at a $9.40 win payoff. “That was an easy ride, a nice ride,” said the 23-year-old Texas native, who is represented by agent Brandon O’Bryan. “There’s a lot of competition out here, a lot of new faces, and a lot of big faces that have been here a while, but I finally got the monkey off my back.” . . . Evin Roman, an 18-year-old apprentice from Puerto Rico, is scheduled to make his United States and Santa Anita debut early next month. A graduate of Escuela Vocacional Hipica, Puerto Rico’s state-run jockey academy that produced world class riders Jose Ortiz and Irad Ortiz, Roman rides in Puerto Rico on Feb. 5, arrives in California the next day, and will be on horses at Santa Anita Feb. 7, according to his agent, Tony Matos, who also represents Santiago Gonzalez.
Source: Santa Anita Park