California Chrome, Arrogate post dueling works for Pegasus
Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) one-two Arrogate and California Chrome, who will cross swords again in next Saturday’s Pegasus World Cup (G1), got their duel going a little early. At opposite ends of the country on Saturday, they posted their final serious works for the $12 million rematch, and each gave something for his fans to savor.
California Chrome, already established on the premises at Gulfstream Park, zipped five-eighths in :58.80 under exercise rider Dihigi Gladney.
“I’m feeling great,” trainer Art Sherman said. “I said if he went in a minute, I would be happy, and galloped out in 1:13. He went in 58 4/5 and galloped out in 1:12 1/5. He’s ready.
“That was an awesome work. I thought it was sensational.
“He’s cruise control; that’s what I like. We hardly ever press him to do anything. He was under hand, and I’m very satisfied with the work.”
At Santa Anita, Arrogate rounded off his sequence of strong drills by motoring six furlongs in 1:12.13, blowing by his workmate under minimal encouragement from Martin Garcia. (Video of Arrogate’s work available on the TwinSpires Facebook page).
“What a relief that was,” Baffert said. “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.”
Arrogate is scheduled to fly to Gulfstream on Tuesday.
The Pegasus supporting cast was also busy gearing up in Florida on Saturday.
Multiple Grade 2 veteran Prayer for Relief breezed five furlongs at Gulfstream in 1:00.81 for Dale Romans:
“He worked super,” Romans said, explaining why the $2 million-earner is taking his chance despite being off form for quite a while.
“He’s just been so happy, so fresh about the way he’s training and doing things the right way. We’re just hoping that he runs the way he trains.
“It (the Pegasus) started creeping into my mind about three works ago. It just got to be more and more of a possibility the way he was working. He just kept putting in one good work after another. It got to where he’s just done so well that he deserved a chance.
“If you go back to this old form, he’s been a top-class horse. When he ran here for us in the (2015) Hal’s Hope (G3) (finishing a close third), he ran a super race. He likes this racetrack. Then he goes to Dubai and he never really seemed to settle in there and get in synch with Michael (de Kock). When we brought him back, I ran him too quick at Keeneland, off the plane, and he’s never run well at Churchill.
“You can read between the lines on his form that he hasn’t had a good opportunity in a couple of years to settle in and run big. But he’s coming into this race so well. He’s got two races in under his belt back in this country, he’s working the way he did before he left and he loves this racetrack.”
The Mark Casse-trained Noble Bird toured a half-mile in :49.75 at Palm Meadows.
“He was just out to stretch his legs a little," Casse said of the Grade 1-winning millionaire. "Julien (Leparoux) was aboard. It was perfect. His big work was last week. We always try to slow him down the week before. He tends to want to do a little too much. Julien had him perfect.”
Todd Pletcher’s duo of Keen Ice and Neolithic tuned up at his winter base of Palm Beach Downs.
Keen Ice, famed for shocking American Pharoah in the 2015 Travers (G1), covered four furlongs in :48.60 in company with Madefromlucky. The five-furlong gallop-out time was 1:01.60.
Recent allowance romper Neolithic clocked his half in :50.20, and workmate Snag finished in :50.60. The gallop-out was accomplished in 1:03.20.
Over at Gulfstream Park West, Queen’s County hero War Story negotiated six furlongs in 1:11.65.
California Chrome photo courtesy Leslie Martin/Coglianese Photography