Chrome set for Pegasus World Cup
California Chrome and Arrogate contest the inaugural running of Saturday's Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park.
California Chrome and Arrogate go head to head at Gulfstream
Connections of California Chrome are optimistic he can bring the curtain down on a glittering career in style with victory in the inaugural running of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.
After having been denied a first Breeders' Cup Classic success by Arrogate in November, the Art Sherman-trained six-year-old will bid to turn the tables on his Santa Anita conqueror as the pair go head-to-head in the US$12million contest.
The Dubai World Cup hero warmed up for the eagerly-anticipated showdown, in which owners of each of the 12 runners have paid US$1m to enter, with a facile 12-length success in an extended mile conditions contest at Los Alamitos in December.
Kelly Martin, daughter and racing manager to part-owner Perry Martin, said: "Watching his last piece of work he looked magnificent.
"He acclimatised to the track very well. He looks beautiful and knows that it is time to go.
"Come race day, he will do what he does. He will run his race and we will see what happens. Hopefully it will turn out well for us.
"The draw in 12 is not really a concern. He is used to running on the outside as Victor (Espinoza) tends to take him to the outside.
"He doesn't like having other horses in his way, so I feel it may give him an advantage in that sort of race. He just needs to get to the front and do what Chrome does.
"He is so smart and has such a great personality. That's what makes him who he is and the great horse he is.
"I am just so thankful of him and being able to be connected to a horse of his calibre.
"It is a horse race so you never know what is going to happen. Arrogate is an amazing horse and he still has a lot of racing ahead of him, but I think he can do it."
While many bookmakers have Arrogate, who was crowned Longines World's Best Racehorse on Tuesday, as favourite, trainer Bob Baffert believes his new stable star will have to be at his best to confirm his superiority over California Chrome.
The son of Unbridled's Song announced his arrival on the big stage as late as August, when demolishing his rivals by 13 and a half lengths in the Grade One Travers Stakes at Saratoga in a new course-record time.
Baffert said: "This is like a match-up. It's a different vibe.
"There is a lot of money on the line and it is the first time they have run this race. It's going to be exciting.
"He doesn't get tired. He just gets stronger as the race goes along. When he won the race in Saratoga, Mike Smith said he was tough to pull up. He showed a lot of speed that day and kept going.
"In the Breeders' Cup he was off the pace and came running. I don't know what he will do on Saturday. Being as he is on the inside, Mike will probably have to use him up a little bit early.
"He has been training well. He is a superior horse, but it is going to take a superior horse to beat California Chrome. If he is ready he will win, if he is not ready then he won't – that's the way it works.
"California Chrome always breaks well. He likes to be in the clear as when he has been behind horses he has been in trouble.
"We are going to have break well and not get shuffled back. The horse is doing well, so it will be a great match-up again."
Baffert, who was responsible for last year's Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, added: "I can see he is just getting better.
"American Pharoah was getting better at the end and he had a lot of races earlier.
"He has got a chance to catch him up and he is starting to show me things that American Pharoah was showing me."
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