Pegasus World Cup 2018 Sees A More Relaxed Bob Baffert

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Dave Bond | OTB Writer

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - In multiple graded-stakes winners West Coast and Collected, Bob Baffert has two chances to defend his title in the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), the world's richest Thoroughbred race, to be run Jan. 27 at Gulfstream Park.

Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert Has West Coast & Collected for $16 Million Event Saturday, January 27

Unlike last January when he brought Arrogate to South Florida on a five-race win streak that included the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) over older horses, the Hall of Fame trainer enters the second running of the Pegasus under more relaxed circumstances.

A week after being crowned the 3-year-old male champion of 2016, Arrogate rolled to a 4 ¾-length victory in the inaugural Pegasus in track-record time of 1:46.83 for 1 1/18 miles. Two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome, in his final start, was in striking position on the far turn before fading to ninth.

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"I think last year was probably more pressure," Baffert said. "Arrogate was coming off that brilliant performance in the [Breeders' Cup] Classic and it was going to be the big showdown with California Chrome. We had a lot of bad weather last year. It was raining every day and I was sneaking works in and had to work on bad racetracks. This year the weather has been good and hopefully it'll stay dry.

"It's easier when you have those kinds of situations," he added. "I don't feel the pressure like I did last year. It was a new race. We didn't know whether to go down early and when it started raining I starting thinking maybe I should have gone down there. But, my horses run really well off the plane so I feel confident doing it that way."

Gary and Mary West's West Coast is the favorite to follow Arrogate and be voted the 3-year-old male champion of 2017 after winning six of nine starts and more than $2 million in purse earnings, led by the Travers (G1) and Pennsylvania Derby (G1) to cap a five-race win streak. He finished third behind Gun Runner and Collected in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Speedway Stable's 5-year-old Collected won his first four starts of 2017 including the Californian (G2), Precisionist (G3) and Pacific Classic (G1) prior to the Breeders' Cup. He ended the year a well-beaten third as the favorite under jockey Mike Smith in the San Antonio (G2) Dec. 26 behind Giant Expectations, whose connections are also pointing to the Pegasus.

"Mike Smith said he probably should have gotten a little aggressive leaving there. That horse likes to be put in the race," Baffert said. "He came back well and got something out of it. We'll just scratch that race out. He came back and worked really well."

Collected went five furlongs in 59 seconds Wednesday at Santa Anita, the fastest of 57 horses at the distance. The same day West Coast breezed six furlongs in 1:12, best of eight horses.

"He went really well. It was a good solid work for him," Baffert said. "We're starting to step it up. He went an easy three-quarters last week but he came back and galloped out strong, came back to the barn and was pretty happy so he's coming right along."

Baffert said West Coast and Collected will each have three more works at Santa Anita before tentatively shipping to Gulfstream Jan. 18.

"Both of them look like they're right on schedule," he said.

2018 PEGASUS WORLD CUP RACE DAY SCHEDULE

Stakes Conditions Dist/Turf Purse
South Beach 4yo & up, F&M 7.5 Furlongs (Turf) $125,000 USD
Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint 4yo & up 5 Furlongs (Turf) $125,000 USD
Ladies Turf Sprint 4yo & up, F&M 5 Furlongs (Turf) $125,000 USD
Hurricane Bertie 4yo & up, F&M 7 Furlongs $125,000 USD
La Prevoyante Handicap 4yo & up, F&M 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) $200,000 USD
W.L. McKnight Handicap 4yo & up 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) $200,000 USD
Fred Hooper 4yo & up 1 Mile $125,000 USD
Pegasus World Cup 4yo & up 1 1/8 Miles $16,000,000 USD

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OTB Schedule - Friday, Jan 19

Race Tracks Time (EST)
Aqueduct 12:19 PM
Australia A 8:40 PM
Australia B 9:00 PM
Australia C 9:27 PM
Australia D 9:43 PM
Birmingham Eve 7:25 PM
Cal Expo 9:10 PM
Charles Town 7:00 PM
Chepstow (UK) 8:20 AM
Clonmel (IG) 2:49 PM
Curraheen (IG) 2:50 PM
Daytona Beach Eve 7:25 PM
Delta Downs 6:40 PM
Dundalk (IG) 4:00 PM
Dundalk (IRE) 11:59 AM
Fairview| (SAF) 5:45 AM
Fraser Downs 10:00 PM
Freehold Raceway 12:29 PM
Golden Gate Fields 3:45 PM
Gulfstream Tropical 12:34 PM
Hawthorne (H) 8:08 PM
Kilkenny (IG) 3:00 PM
Laurel Park 12:30 PM
Limerick (IG) 2:46 PM
Lingfield (UK) 8:01 AM
Los Alamitos (QH) 10:00 PM
Mardi Gras Eve 7:30 PM
Mardi Gras Mat 5:00 PM
Meadowlands (H) 6:35 PM
Monticello Raceway 12:25 PM
Musselburgh (UK) 7:52 AM
Naples-Ft Myers Eve 7:00 PM
Naples-Ft Myers Mat 12:14 PM
Newbridge (IG) 3:00 PM
Newcastle (UK) 12:45 PM
Palm Beach Eve 7:00 PM
Palm Beach Mat 1:00 PM
Penn National 6:00 PM
Sam Houston 8:00 PM
Sanford Eve 7:35 PM
Sanford Mat 1:30 PM
Santa Anita Park 4:00 PM
Sarasota Eve 7:30 PM
Sarasota Mat 12:30 PM
Seoul Korea 8:45 PM
Shelbourne Park (IG) 2:40 PM
Southland Twilight 6:00 PM
St Johns Eve 7:45 PM
Sunland Park 2:30 PM
Tampa Bay Downs 12:25 PM
Tralee (IG) 2:42 PM
Tri-State Eve 7:00 PM
Turfway Park 5:15 PM
Western Fair 6:55 PM
Wheeling Downs Eve 5:30 PM
Wheeling Downs Mat 1:00 PM
Woodbine (H) 7:10 PM
Yonkers Raceway 6:50 PM
Youghal (IG) 2:48 PM

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