Juddmonte Farms’ Arrogate assumed the title of division leader on Saturday at Gulfstream Park by sailing home the easiest of winners in the $12 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) under jockey Mike Smith.
What was billed as match race between Arrogate and California Chrome, who ran one-two in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) last year, turned into a rout as the latter runner never fired. Instead, as Victor Espinoza allowed California Chrome to finish the race under his own power, Smith was doing the same with Arrogate, who pulled away to be 4 3/4 lengths clear on the wire.
Trained by Bob Baffert of American Pharoah fame, Arrogate tracked pacesetter Noble Bird along the rail while California Chrome ranged up on the outside down the backstretch. While his rival never fired, Arrogate was more than willling to angle outside of Noble Bird and take command entering the turn.
The Unbridled’s Song four-year-old pulled away to finish the world’s richest race in 1:47.61 over the fast track. He was sent off the 4-5 favorite and returned $3.80 for the win.
While Arrogate and California Chrome didn’t hook up for an epic duel, Imperative and Stanford delivered in the inaugural Poseidon Stakes on the Pegasus World Cup undercard.
The duo battled it out down the lane of the $400,000 contest, with Imperative just getting the head-bobbing victory in a final time of 1:48.97 with jockey Antonio Gallardo aboard. The seven-year-old gelding was making his first start for new trainer Bob Hess Jr.
Taghleeb also scored a close head win in the $200,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap (G3) one race before the Pegasus. The Mike Maker charge ran 1 1/2 miles on the firm turf in 2:25.90 under jockey Tyler Gaffalione.
Suffused had a bit more distance between her and the runner-up in the $200,000 La Prevoyante Handicap (G3). The Bill Mott pupil, who like Arrogate is campaigned by Juddmonte Farms, just missed by a nose in the E.P. Taylor Stakes (Can-G1) at Woodbine to close out her four-year-old season but got back on the winning track with a one-length victory with Jose Ortiz holding the reins Saturday.
The $100,000 Hurricane Bertie Stakes (G3) kicked off the stakes action on Pegasus World Cup Day, and Curlin’s Approval did not disappoint trainer Marty Wolfson, jockey Luis Saez or the betting public when pulling off for a 2 1/2-length triumph as the 4-5 favorite.
A pair of turf sprint stakes also took place Saturday at Gulfstream, with Power Alert getting the win in the $125,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint and Pretty Perfection prevailing in the $125,000 Ladies’ Turf Sprint.
The Pegasus undercard included notable three-year-old maiden wins by Lookin for Eight on dirt, boosting Battalion Runner, and Snap Decision on turf.
Arrogate photo courtesy of Adam Coglianese Photography