The field is now set for the inaugural running of the $12-million Pegasus World Cup (G1) at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, with a dozen going to the post in what will be the world’s richest race in history.
Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Arrogate is the slight favorite in early wagering at Bovada, currently at odds of even money.
The three-year-old was the winner of the Eclipse Award for top three-year-old of 2016 and has won his last five races for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. The colt will break from the rail with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith in the irons.
California Chrome had a six-race winning streak snapped by Arrogate in the Classic, having to settle for the runner-up spot while beaten a half-length for the top spot.
He won the Eclipse Award for top older male and Horse of the Year despite his loss in the Classic.
He came back to win the Winter Challenge Stakes at Los Alamitos in his last tune-up for the Pegasus, which will be his final career start before heading to the breeding shed.
The Art Sherman trainee is the second choice in early wagering for the Pegasus at Bovada at 5-4.
The six-year-old took the worst of it in the post position draw as he will break from the 12 post. There is a short run to the first turn at Gulfstream Park in 1 1/8-mile races. Horses breaking from the 12 post have gone just 1-for-18.
A dozen stakeholders each put up $1 million for a slot in the starting gate for the Pegasus World Cup, and there is a $7-million payday awaiting the winner of the race.
At least in the early betting it appears to be a two-horse race. Next in line in the betting are Neolithic and Keen Ice, each at 25-1.
Neolithic was second in the Discovery Handicap (G1) at Aqueduct and in his most recent start beat first-level allowance runners.
Keen Ice has the distinction of beating Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the 2015 Travers (G1) at Saratoga, but has not won in his last eight starts. He was second in the Harlan’s Holiday (G3) over the Gulfstream Park main track in his last outing.
The Pegasus World Cup will be televised live on NBC on Saturday.
Field for the $12-million Pegasus World Cup (odds via Bovada):
#1 Arrogate 1-1
#2 Prayer for Relief 100-1
#3 Neolithic 25-1
#4 Noble Bird 20-1
#5 War Story 66-1
#6 War Envoy 200-1
#7 Shaman Ghost 33-1
#8 Semper Fortis 150-1
#9 Keen Ice 25-1
#10 Breaking Lucky 33-1
#11 Eragon 66-1
#12 California Chrome 5-4
Handicapper Michael Dempsey will be covering the Road to the Kentucky Derby for OddsShark and his full card reports with selections, analysis, fair odds line and wagering recommendations for major tracks can be found daily at turfnsport.com.