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Pegasus World Cup Preview: The Rematch

Leslie Martin/Coglianese Photo

There are twelve entries in this historic event, but only two really matter.  It’s California Chrome vs. Arrogate in an epic rematch after Arrogate stole the show nearly three months ago in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita.  The build up for this race has been unlike anything we’ve ever seen, and of course the set up for this race is also something very unique.  This is an event that could be a tremendous success or a complete disaster.  The unknown that surrounds the inaugural Pegasus World Cup in intense, however we all know one thing: The rematch between these two stud horses shouldn’t let us down!

Top Choice

#1 Arrogate –  After his Breeders’ Cup Classic triumph there is no doubt in my mind that he’s the fastest horse in North America. However, he has missed some workouts due to unusual poor weather at Santa Anita, and he also missed his prep race for this one because of a sloppy track.  However, is he so good that none of this will matter?  He did win off of a two and a half month layoff so running big off the bench is not something that will be new to him.  With this rail draw he could very well get a similar trip that he got in the Travers Stakes, and if that is the case he’ll be impossible to catch on the front end at a track like Gulfstream Park.

Horses to Use in Multi Race Wagers

#12 California Chrome – The richest race horse in North American history will have his final race in this spot.  Since his loss to Arrogate in the Breeders’ Cup Classic he hasn’t missed a beat.  His workouts have been flawless, and he got in a prep race for the Pegasus at Los Alamitos.  All systems are go, and at this mile and one eighth distance he should be ultra tough to beat.  However, the outside draw is very difficult going this distance at Gulfstream Park.  He certainly has a great chance, but in a race where it’s tough to decide between the top 2, the outside draw was the deciding factor in putting him second.  Still a MUST USE in all multi race wagers.  This will undoubtably be a classic race!

Exotic Plays

#7 Shaman Ghost –  Won the Grade 1 Woodward Handicap over the summer at Saratoga, and looked to be a player in the Breeders’ Cup Classic division before having to scratch.  However, he came back from that late BC scratch to finish third in the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs last time out.  He’s probably rounding back into form, and is a very logical play to use underneath in this spot.

#9 Keen Ice – Two races back he shocked the world by closing up well to finish third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.  However, he hasn’t won a race since his 2015 Travers Stakes upset so it’s not all good news for him.  Also might be better at a mile and quarter so this could be a little short for him.  He’s strictly an underneath play, but nothing more as his best hope is to clunk up for third like he always seems to do in these kinds of spots.

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Party Crashers

NONE – No upsetters for me in this race.  It’s all about the top 2 of California Chrome and Arrogate.  Any other winner would be an upset that this handicapper could have never seen coming in a million years.

Throw Outs

#3 Neolithic – Up and comer is doing very well heading into this race, and last time out he dominated an allowance field over this track.  His connections are as strong as they come for Gulfstream Park, but he just looks to be a cut below in my opinion.  Might be a pace factor.   

#10 Breaking Lucky – Has some up and down form, but overall he might be a horse to look out for this year.  However, he also might be in a little over his head against this tough group.  He did finish second in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap last time out so at least there is a glimmer of hope.  

#4 Noble Bird – Could become a pace factor in this race.  When left on the lead by himself he can be ultra tough to beat, but he’s not likely to get that kind of a trip in a race like this one.  He has a fighting chance compared to some others in here, but I wouldn’t expect much.

#5 War Story – His owner certainly has confidence in him and is taking match race bets on Twitter for anyone that is interested.  The horse did win last time out, but his match ups with the top horses in this group have left a lot to be desired.  Him winning would be a complete shock.

#2 Prayer for Relief – No wins since 2013, and this horse isn’t getting in younger.  They all say he is working out great, but he seems to always be working out great.  Will be hard pressed to run with this bunch.

#8 Semper Fortis – Basically just a fill in for this race as this spot originally belonged to Nyquist who of course is retired.  Hard to see any scenario where Semper Fortis can make an impact.

#6 War Envoy – Seems like he has no chance in this spot based on his terrible 2016 form.  Will have to jump up and really surprise almost everyone.

#11 Eragon – This could be a disaster.  The horse is nowhere near this level, and has said to been training very poorly heading into this race.  Hoping for the best.

Find out how we’re betting the race by downloading our Pegasus World Cup Wagering Guide! FREE with purchase of month package ($45) of PREMIUM PICKS between now and January 27th. Access now!

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