Part of the fun of following horse racing is seeing where the best horses in the world will run next. We are sure to see some of them at the Pegasus World Cup on Jan. 23 at Gulfstream Park, but one horse that we thought we might see there will not be running; as Bob Baffert is now looking at a different date for Charlatan.
Baffert was looking to make horse racing news; by training a winner of the Pegasus for the third time in its five-year history; but that will not happen now. Besides Charlatan; Baffert also had last year’s winner Mucho Gusto invited to the big race; but we found out last week that he was retired due to a soft tissue injury; that could have been potentially fatal had he continued to race.
The decision to sit Charlatan out of the Pegasus Cup
Was announced by Baffert earlier in the week, and he certainly had valid reasons for making that decision. After a lengthy layoff, Charlatan returned to the track for the Malibu Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita on Dec. 26. He raced hard there and won that race going away. It was the nature of his run and the fact that he was returning after such a long layoff ;that caused Baffert to believe that the Pegasus was just a little too soon for another race.
Charlatan returned to training on Jan. 9 and looked sharp in a 4-furlong breeze at Santa Anita. At this point; the plan is to enter him into the Saudi Cup, which will be held in Riyadh on Feb. 20, although there is no full commitment to appear in that race just yet. If Charlatan does race in the Saudi Cup, it will see him return to the 1 1/8 mile distance.
The last time that Charlatan stretched out to that distance was at the Arkansas Derby (G2) at Oaklawn Park last May; he won that race by 6 lengths; but went on to make horse racing news after being disqualified for a medication violation. The Saudi Cup will present a whole new challenge for this very talented horse; but with a $20 million purse on offer; it’s a challenge that is well worth taking.
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