11/06/2016 12:16PM

Arrogate-California Chrome rematch in Pegasus possible

Barbara D. Livingston
Arrogate, left, and California Chrome, right, could face each other again in the Pegasus at Gulfstream Park in January.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Arrogate and California Chrome, both of whom put on a show in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday at Santa Anita, emerged from the race in good order and could meet again in January in the inaugural Pegasus at Gulfstream Park, their connections said Sunday morning.

Trainer Bob Baffert got his third straight Classic victory with Arrogate's win. As with last year’s winner, Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, Arrogate was trained into the Classic after running in the Travers.

”I saw him this morning, gave him a carrot, and thanked him. I told him American Pharoah is proud you’re sleeping in his bed,” said Baffert, who put Arrogate in the stall at his barn that had been occupied by American Pharaoh.

“How lucky am I to have a horse like Pharoah, and come back with a horse like this?" Baffert asked. "That race was so exciting. I lost my voice. I thought he could do it. We don’t know how good he is.”

Mike Smith, who rode Arrogate, won his record 25th Breeders’ Cup race. He was impressed with how Arrogate behaved immediately after the race.

“He was prancing. He hadn’t run in two months, and he was dancing. He has air for life,” Smith said.

Baffert said the Pegasus, a $12 million race, is being considered for Arrogate. Juddmonte Farms, which owns Arrogate, does not have one of the 12 slots in the race, so it would have to lease one, though it’s likely more than one would be offered.

The Pegasus is scheduled to be the final career start for California Chrome, whose owners do have a slot in the Pegasus. His trainer, Art Sherman, on Sunday morning said California Chrome “pulled up good,” but said he’d likely freshen California Chrome and go straight to the Pegasus without a prep.

“We’ll let him recoup. He’s had a pretty good campaign,” Sherman said.

California Chrome remained overnight, as planned, at Santa Anita, and was to return to Los Alamitos by van late Sunday morning.

Sherman thought California Chrome “ran his (butt) off.”

“They were 10 in front of the rest of the field, which tells you something,” Sherman said.

“It was quite a race. If I had to do it again, I’d like to see Victor open up turning for home,” Sherman said, referring to jockey Victor Espinoza. “He rides him with so much confidence every time. Everybody’s upset that he was looking around. He wanted to see where the other horse was. That doesn’t bother me. I’d just like to have seen him open up three or four. Maybe he’d have still beaten us.”

Espinoza himself admitted as much after the race.

“Maybe I just should have let him run,” he said. “After the race, you analyze everything.”