Hall of Fame trainer, Bob Baffert and Hall of Fame jockey, Mike Smith, who teamed for victory this past Saturday in the 81st running of the Grade I, $1-million Santa Anita Derby with Justify, took home some additional hardware on Thursday, as they were each presented with Championship Rings commemorating their epic win at Gulfstream Park in the inaugural running of the world's richest race, the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational on Jan. 28, 2017.
This year the Pegasus World Cup Invitational began a new tradition, whereby the winning owner, jockey and trainer each received a Pegasus World Cup Invitational Championship Ring. The first of its kind in the sport of Thoroughbred racing, the ring was commissioned by The Stronach Group (TSG) and created by Miami based celebrity jeweler Christopher Petrillo (also known as “Boodaddy” of Boodaddy Diamonds).
The 18K yellow gold Championship Ring is inspired by the iconic Pegasus statue at Gulfstream Park and boasts over 3.5 carats of VVS round brilliant cut diamonds, valued at $50,000. Each ring was made by hand from start to finish, taking over150 hours to complete.
Presented Thursday at Santa Anita by The Stronach Group's chairman and president, Belinda Stronach, the delivery of the rings put an exclamation point on Juddmonte Farms' Arrogate's stirring 4 3/4-length victory over 11 rivals that included four-time Eclipse Award winner California Chrome and 2017 Santa Anita Handicap winner, Shaman Ghost.
“I am honored to present the 2017 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Championship Rings to Bob and Mike,” said Belinda Stronach. “Our intention is to continue this tradition, not unlike what is done at other great sporting events, and we would be remiss if we did not recognize the 2017 inaugural winners. Arrogate's status as one of the best horses ever to run is now firmly cemented and it seems fitting that part of his history is as the first champion of the world's richest race!”
With the $7 million that he collected in winning the 2017 Pegasus, Arrogate (America's Eclipse Award winning 3-year-old for 2016) was well on his way to becoming Thoroughbred racing's all-time leading money earner, as he retired in November, 2017 with career earnings of $17,422,600 from an overall mark of 11-7-1-1.
“Arrogate was a tremendously gifted horse who did things that were just unbelievable,” said Baffert. “I want to sincerely thank Belinda and The Stronach Group for creating the Pegasus World Cup Invitational and for helping to showcase the best horses in the world. These rings are incredible and they'll sure help me to remember just how special that first Pegasus was and how great Arrogate truly was. It's something I'll never forget.”
Smith, who guided Arrogate to four consecutive Grade I victories, beginning with a record shattering 13 ½ length victory in Saratoga's Travers Stakes on Aug. 27, 2016 and including his 4 ¾ length triumph in the 2017 Pegasus World Cup Invitational, was also most appreciative to receive his commemorative Pegasus ring on Thursday.
“It was a tremendous honor to win the first Pegasus and it's quite an honor to receive this ring now,” said Smith. “I really want to thank Belinda and The Stronach Group for their kindness and class. Arrogate ran an incredible race that day and this ring is something I'm going to treasure every day.”
With Winchell Thoroughbreds, LLC and Three Chimney's Farm's Gun Runner winning the $16-million, 2018 Pegasus World Cup Invitational this past Jan. 27, the third running of the $16 million Pegasus is scheduled for Jan. 26, 2019, at Gulfstream Park.
Follow all of the excitement of the Pegasus World Cup on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @PegasusWorldCup, #pegasusworldcup.
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