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Semper Fortis gallops by the giant Pegasus statue at Gulfstream Park.
The inaugural running of the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) is Saturday at Gulfstream Park and all the horses entered are on the grounds now. Twelve will start plus there are three substitutes in case specific horses scratch. Here are some photos of them from Wednesday afternoon in the barns and on Thursday either on the track in the morning or schooling in the paddock in the afternoon.
|California Chrome in his stall Wednesday afternoon. He goes out before 6am, about an hour before sunrise, so photos from then are nearly impossible. Trainer Art Sherman said, "Well, you know we've had some outside, inside posts. You know, you can't make any excuses. The only good thing I thought about this, we won't have to be in the starting gate long. Chrome is Chrome. He's got tactical speed. I was hoping we might get closer inside. We can overcome all this, believe me. I'm sure Victor will ride a great race on him. I'm looking forward to it. He looks super right now. I couldn't be more satisfied. I watched his work the other day, he amazes me every time I watch him. He's a once-in-a-lifetime horse. I just hope everybody has good luck in the race, and we have a fair shake, all contestants in the race. I probably won't realize he is retired until I'm on the airplane going home. Then I will have to reminisce about all the good times."|
|Arrogate galloped after the break and later posed in his Breeders' Cup Classic blanket at the barn. Trainer Bob Baffert said, "If we don't break, we don't have a edge. (California Chrome) has a lot of speed and all the horses on the outside they're not really quick away from there. He's much quicker, so I would say he has a little bit of an edge. Chrome likes to be on the outside in the clear. If he was on the inside in the one and broke a little slow and got behind horses he's not effective at all. He needs to be in the clear, so that's probably a better draw for him."|
|Left: Trainer Bob Baffert looks on as Arrogate schools in the paddock on Thursday afternoon. Jockey Mike Smith added, "I have the experience and the conditioning behind me and I can't wait for these kinds of days. These kinds of days make you go down in history."
Right: Even California Chrome fans like Arrogate too. This one was posing for a photo with Arrogate and forgot to take off her Chrome hat.
|Eragon galloping on Thursday morning and schooling in the paddock in the afternoon. Recently purchased by owner Jim McIngvale, he will make his first American start in the Pegasus for new trainer Laura Wohlers. He comes here off a win in the Gran Premio Hipodromo de Palermo (G1) in Argentina. New rider Edgar Prado gets the call on Saturday.|
|Keen Ice in his stall on Wednesday afternoon and schooling in the paddock on Thursday afternoon. Trainer Todd Pletcher said, "Like everyone else I thought it was interesting that Arrogate drew inside and California Chrome drew outside. I wouldn't have minded Keen Ice being a little more inside. It's fun for us to have a big race at home and not have to ship cross-country for. Whether that's enough to overcome the talent of the two favorites we'll see, but we're excited about the opportunity and excited about the way the horses are training."|
|Shaman Ghost rears up on Thursday morning after spooking during his gallop. Maybe he thinks he can fly like Pegasus? He had calmed down by the time he schooled in the paddock in the afternoon. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens said, "He's a little bit of an enigma. Sometimes you can't get a line on him. He's a character. Sometimes he's quiet in his stall. The next day he's looking to jump over the screen. He's kind of hard to gauge. Basically, I like what I see. His works have all been good and he looks perfectly good in the flesh and is fit. I can't fault him coming in here."|
|War Envoy gallops on Thursday morning. He has not won since June 2015 at Royal Ascot and comes here off a 6th lace finish in allowance company at Del Mar after finishing 8th in the Eddie D (G3) at Santa Anita. Owner-trainer Mick Ruis originally sold his starting slot to the connections of Clark Handicap (G1) winner and Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1) runner-up Gun Runner, but since Gun Runner is stabled at Fair Grounds which is under quarantine and could not ship out, Ruis retained the slot.|
|War Story gallops on Thursday morning. Owner Ron Paolucci said, "[The Pegasus] is crazy in one sense and it's unbelievably great in another sense. It keeps California Chrome racing. Without that, he would be retired. It also gives the people food for thought to come back for next year. You never know. You're never going to make that much in the breeding shed, $7 million, with the Dubai World Cup and the Breeders' Cup. It's just great because it just keeps the stars coming back and running. Isn't it a great way to start the with the two horses that put on such a show at the BC? And You got the 1 and 12 holes, which makes it equal for everybody else. It's perfect."|
|Breaking Lucky (left) went around once the wrong way with a pony on Thursday morning and schooled in the paddock in the afternoon. Co-owner Dean Reeves said, "We do have a lot of speed inside of us so I think they are going to go. Hopefully, we'll get to the turn and I think we will be okay. I saw in him that he's growing. He's mentally getting things figured out. He's getting better and better, even with each work and each race. We're excited about the future for him the rest of the year. His last work I was very impressed. I thought his gallop-out was really strong. I think we're going to be in the mix, so we're excited."|
|Noble Bird schooling in the paddock on Thursday afternoon. Norm Casse, assistant to trainer and father Mark said, "We were hoping for an inner post position. I kind of like the horses that are on either side of us, as well. If (Noble Bird) breaks a step slow I don't think he'll be compromised as much. He's a horse that's coming in doing really well right now and we just need to get lucky. Today we were lucky with the post position. I don't think Arrogate's post position is that bad. I think Bob would be very happy with the post position. Chrome's in a little bit of a situation. I think it opens up the opportunity for a horse like Noble Bird to maybe surprise some people."|
|Neolithic gallops on Thursday morning and schools in the paddock in the afternoon. Owner Jack Wolf said, "The way the horse ran his last race and he's two for two at Gulfstream, he seems to want to be forwardly placed. The three-hole I'm very happy with. He will probably be up there (on the pace) until he eyeballs one of those good horses. Hopefully, you can compete with them when they get to that point. Class is hard to overcome. We hope everybody gets a good trip and we'll see how it works out."|
|Semper Fortis gallops on Thursday morning. Trainer Doug O'Neill made a last minute decision to send him to the Pegasus rather than Ralis, who will instead go in the California Cup Turf Classic. O'Neill said, "They worked in company yesterday and Semper, on dirt, just seemed like he's doing a little better. The fact that we have a spot for Ralis here in the Cal Cup helped with the decision, but both are doing great. We know we're up against it against those two favorites but (owner) Paul (Reddam) is a true sportsman."|
|Madefromlucky, who will only start if California Chrome scratches, in his stall on Wednesday afternoon and schooling in the paddock on Thursday. He is cross-entered in the $400,000 Poseidon Handicap on the Pegasus undercard. Trainer Todd Pletcher said, "He's a seasoned veteran, a warrior. He can be a little tricky in terms of the trip he gets. He didn't get a great trip in the Harlan's Holiday, he was kind of stuck inside, but he has come back and trained well. I expect that the mile and an eighth will be in his favor."|
|Stanford, who will only start if Arrogate scratches, in his stall on Wednesday afternoon and schooling in the paddock on Thursday afternoon. He is cross-entered in the $400,000 Poseidon Handicap on the Pegasus undercard. Trainer Todd Pletcher said, "Stanford ran terrific in the Harlan's Holiday and has trained really well. He seems to be in great form. He had a sharp work. As he's shown in the Charles Town Classic, the Harlan's Holiday and a few other races, when he's on his game, he's a tough customer. We're looking forward to that."|
A view of the Gulfstream Park grandstand from the backstretch on Thursday morning.
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