California Chrome Gallops, Schools in Paddock Before Sunrise
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Less than 15 hours after arriving in South Florida for his 4-year-old debut in Saturday’s $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), Juddmonte Farms’ Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Arrogate got his first look at Gulfstream Park’s main track Wednesday morning.
The newly crowned champion 3-year-old male of 2016 stepped on the track at 7:53 a.m. with exercise rider Dana Barnes aboard, and looked strong throughout his 1 ½-mile gallop. Out at the same time were fellow Pegasus contenders Shaman Ghost and Eragon.
Video link to Arrogate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrYv5iMl5Oc&feature=youtu.be
Drone Video of Arrogate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XnEyiqQ9Bc&feature=youtu.be
“First day out there, we went a little bit earlier. I was planning on going a little bit later but he was anxious and I wanted to get him out and get him on the track,” said Jimmy Barnes, assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. “We couldn’t be happier with the way he went over the track. It’s a bigger track, a sandy track, mile and an eighth track, but he handled it well.”
Barnes drew a comparison between Arrogate and his former stablemate, 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharaoah, who was retired to stud following his history making campaign.
“I think what makes him so good is that he’s such an efficient mover. American Pharoah was almost the same way. He just moved so fluently. He carries himself so well over a surface, I think that’s what makes him so great,” Barnes said. “His weight’s good and I think he’s grown maybe an inch since [last summer]. We couldn’t be happier.”
Arrogate is the 7-5 second choice on the Pegasus morning line behind California Chrome, the two-time Horse of the Year whom he defeated by a half-length in the Breeders’ Cup Classic Nov. 5 at Santa Anita in his last start.
Baffert was expected to arrive later Wednesday from London, where Arrogate was named the Longines World’s Best Racehorse of 2016. Arrogate has won five consecutive races including a record-setting performance in the Travers (G1) last August at Saratoga in his stakes debut.
“We’ll let him relax today and we’ll probably school tomorrow, get him over to the paddock,” Barnes said. “He’s usually just a one-time schooler, let him get a look at everything, just kind of a formality and we should be in good shape.”
California Chrome went out for his gallop shortly before 6 Wednesday morning under regular exercise rider Dihigi Gladney and followed up with his first look at Gulfstream’s paddock and walking ring before heading back to the barn.
Video link to California Chrome: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jX2XrC3VLk&feature=youtu.be
“I thought he went great. He looked like he was moving very easily and Dihigi said he felt great, so that’s always super after he comes back and cools out,” trainer Art Sherman said. “It was a great morning. He schooled very well in the paddock.
“It’s kind of a little more narrow paddock. Regular paddocks have a little bit more room, but it was very nice,” he added. “We had a good time walking around the walking ring and the horse, nothing bothers him. You don’t have to worry about that. He’s pretty professional in anything he does.”
In addition to training, Sherman said California Chrome will stand in the starting gate Thursday morning as part of his regular race preparations.
“He knows that’s going to be his cue,” Sherman said. “That’s the pattern we have with him, go to the paddock, go to the gate. Then he knows that he’s getting ready to run. He’s a pretty smart horse.”
Sherman wore a broad smile as he stood off to the side, alone, while his two-time Horse of the Year got his bath, clearly enjoying the moment. The Pegasus will be the final race for California Chrome, the 6-5 program favorite who is slated to leave Sunday to begin his stud career at Taylor Made Farm.
“We’ve only got a few more mornings to do what we’re doing, so we’re going to take advantage of it,” Sherman said. “Look at him, he’s loving it. He’s really something. Most horses don’t like all these cameras but he’s a ham. If you’ve got a camera next to him he’s going to show off.
“After the race we’re going to say, hey, listen, it’s no more, we’re done,” he added. “We’ve had him for three years and it’s been great. We really appreciate everything, all the people and what he’s done. It’s been one hell of a ride.”
Stronach Stables’ Shaman Ghost galloped for the first time at Gulfstream with regular exercise rider Kelvin Pahal up. The 2016 Woodward (G1) winner and Canada’s champion 3-year-old colt of 2015 arrived Tuesday afternoon from trainer Jimmy Jerkens’ winter base at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County.