California Chrome has One Last Obstacle for Final Race in $12 Million Pegasus
California Chrome will run his final race Saturday in the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park. And if the two-time Horse of the Year and 2014 Kentucky Derby winner is to win his last race, he’ll have to overcome the worst post position in the world’s richest race.
California Chrome was installed as the morning-line favorite at 6-5 Monday despite drawing the outside post in the 12-horse field. The rematch between California Chrome and the Bob-Baffert-trained Arrogate has amped up interest in an event that already had plenty of luster due to the uniqueness of the 12 entrants putting up $1 million apiece to buy a spot in the field.
The winner will collect $7 million.
“They’re going to be heads up coming away from there and hopefully get a clean break and we’ll see what happens” said 79-year old Chrome trainer Art Sherman.
“The only good thing I thought about this is he won’t have to be in the starting gate for long. You can’t make any excuses. Chrome is Chrome. He’s got tactical speed. I was hoping that we might get closer inside. But he’s going to overcome all of this.”
Chrome will need to use his speed for a quick break in the short dash to the first turn to avoid getting parked. Odds are stacked against horses starting from the outside in a large field, especially at Gulfstream with its very short run to the first turn.
Gulfstream Park’s dirt track features a 1 1/8-mile circumference; the Pegasus World Cup is scheduled for 1 1/8 miles. That means that the starting gate will be placed slightly before the finish line, so horses will have to fight for early position or else risk being forced out very wide on the first turn.
“If the horse is good enough, he’s going to perform,” Sherman said, adding about California Chrome, “He’s good enough, believe me when I tell you, he’s a once-of-a-lifetime horse. He’s the real McCoy.”
The Pegasus Cup is the brainchild of Gulfstream owner Frank Stronach, who also spent $30 million to erect the 110-foot bronze statue of the mythical horse Pegasus slaying a dragon in the parking lot outside the race track.
The Pegasus will be the final race on a 12-race program and will be televised on NBC, which begins its coverage at 4:30 p.m. Saturday’s 1st race will have an early post time of 11:30 a.m. Post positions and morning line odds are here.
This will be the final race for the acclaimed California Chrome, who is North America’s leading money winner with over $14.5 million. Should he win the Pegasus and an additional $7 million, he’ll have his own statue outside of race tracks.