Despite the God-awful promotions featuring Conor McGregor and John Lovitz, which I still can’t seem to fully comprehend, and the fact that Maria Menounos, who wouldn’t know a racehorse if it trampled her, was chosen to host the event, the Pegasus World Cup did not disappoint. Frank Stronach’s dream of constructing the largest horse race ever, was a successful one. Not only did it draw new people to the sport which we so love, it drew the two biggest names in Horse Racing— Arrogate and California Chrome. If you are reading this, then it’s very likely you know who prevailed victorious. So, instead of a recap of the race which you have probably watched at least 13 times by now, here are 5 things to take away from the Inaugural running of the Pegasus World Cup.
ARROGATE IS THE BEST HORSE ON THE PLANET
You can all stop arguing about who the best horse in the world is. Arrogate is far and away the fastest Thoroughbred on Earth. Though the slug fest with California Chrome we were so anxiously awaiting never materialized, it was absolutely clear throughout the 9 furlong race that Arrogate was calm, cool, collected, and all together a patient professional awaiting a hole to open up, through which he could escape being pinned on the rail. After a toiling California Chrome could not keep up, the massive gray son of Unbridled’s Song found his way in the clear, and the race was over. Literally, after a couple shakes of the reins, Mike Smith found his missile of a steed far enough in front, that he never even fathomed going to the stick. This my friends, is what we call a monster— a horse who can literally turn back a handful of G1 winners, without ever being asked to run.
CALIFORNIA CHROME DESERVED A BETTER ENDING
Though the race played out exactly as I wanted it to with a win by Arrogate, I didn’t want to win that way. I wanted California Chrome to bring all that he was— a tough, tenacious warrior— to the battleground. I wanted Victor Espinoza to ride the best race of his life, and I wanted Chrome to stare Arrogate in the eye, and THEN I wanted Arrogate to blow past him. Instead, the chestnut horse from modest beginnings, found himself helpless, unable to go with the colt who had defeated him on racing’s grandest stage, back in November. California Chrome deserved to go out with dignity, after all he has done. While a terrible performance can in no way diminish the heights he reached in his historical time on the racetrack, and will in no way be what is remembered most about him, there is no doubt that finishing ninth in the grand finale of his storied career, had to sting. Luckily for him, he has 120 ladies lined up in the next few months, ready and willing to ease his pain.
- You Might Also Like: Why I Will Never Again Doubt California Chrome
SHAMAN GHOST IS A SERIOUS RACEHORSE
Though already a well respected individual, as well as a G1 winner in this game, Shaman Ghost was a sleeping talent in this spot— one that many overlooked. Owned by the pioneer of the Pegasus World Cup himself, Frank Stronach, the son of Ghostzapper was far and away the best looking horse in the paddock, prior to the race. Needless to say, I am more than happy I hit the 1/7 exacta. No immediate plans have been made as far as where his next start will be, but there is no doubt in my mind that 2017 will find an even tougher Shaman Ghost than we saw in 2016. Hey, he faced the fastest Thoroughbred in the world, and he rose to the occasion more so than any horse in the field of 12.
PRAYER FOR RELIEF IS PRAYING FOR RELIEF
Come on, Zayats. Really? What is it going to take for you to retire this 9yo horse, who has not won a race since December of 2013? You seem like nice people, but I am seriously beginning to question your judgement as owners. Have we learned nothing from cases like that of Homeboykris, the 10yo who dropped dead on Preakness day 2016? This boy has done enough. At least you got one thing right— his name. He is literally praying for relief.
WAR STORY BELONGED IN THE PEGASUS
It seems this guy was one of the most talked about horses going into the Pegasus, behind only the big two, and no… It wasn’t positive. Loooch Racing. What were they thinking running poor War Story, a horse who has gone through 9 trainers in his short career, in the world’s richest race? He clearly didn’t belong… EXCEPT… he did. He belonged so much, that the gutsy gelding by Northern Afleet finished fifth, ahead of several G1 winners. Though it became a trend to poke fun at the little red horse with the lime green silks, he was training relatively well up to the race, and whoever saw a big run coming, props to you. I think War Story is a better horse than we have given him credit for. I won’t be surprised if he picks up a couple of nice stakes throughout the year.
While the rest of the racing world goes into somewhat hibernation this time of year, we were nothing short of privileged to witness this feast of a competition, to kick off what is sure to be an ArroGREAT year. Sorry, I had to.
What did you take away from the Pegasus World Cup?