Arrogate is set to retire after the Breeders Cup
Although the sport of horse racing often falls under the radar here in the United States, special once-in-a-generation horses have time and time again captured the hearts of America. From the legendary SEABISCUIT of the 30s to the greatest horse of all time SECRETARIAT, and most recently the triple crown winner AMERICAN PHAROAH, certain special horses have been able to turn the eyes of America back toward the “Sport of Kings.” Many fans of horse racing can trace their passion for the sport back to a special horse; for me, that horse was ARROGATE.
ARROGATE was foaled in 2013, which would have made him eligible for the 2016 Triple Crown, yet he didn’t run his first race until April of that year in a maiden special weight race in which he finished 3rd. In his next start at Santa Anita Park just a few weeks later he picked up his first of 7 straight wins. His first major win, however, came in August of that year in the G1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga in which ARROGATE caught the attention of the thoroughbred horse racing world with a convincing victory – beating the field by an impressive 13.5 lengths and breaking the 37-year-old track record time. He followed up his Travers performance with a victory in the Breeders Cup Classic by defeating CALIFORNIA CHROME, giving him the title of the “World’s Best Racehorse.” But ARROGATE wasn’t done yet. Following his Breeders Cup performance, he won both the Pegasus and Dubai World Cups, bringing his winning totals to over $17 million, making him the richest horse in North American history. It seemed that ARROGATE couldn’t be beaten.
But since that race, ARROGATE just hasn’t been the same horse. He returned to the racetrack at Del Mar for the July San Diego Handicap when, despite being the clear favorite, ARROGATE finished a disappointing 4th place, his worst finish of his career. His next start a month later in the Del Mar Pacific Classic was equally disappointing as ARROGATE lost to Breeder’s Cup Classic hopeful COLLECTED. Following two straight losses, Trainer Bob Baffert decided to hold ARROGATE out of any races to let him train up to the Breeder’s Cup Classic where he will defend his title.
But many are concerned not only with the way ARROGATE has been racing but also by the way he has been training. Posted workout times show that he is still fast, but videos of his workouts indicate to some that he is not the same horse he used to be. While nobody can put their finger on exactly what looks off, many think he looks bored or distracted as he works out on the track. Others worry that the long trip to Dubai and back just took something out of him. Some think he looks like his same old self again, but worry that he just doesn’t like the track at Del Mar, a concerning proposition given that this year’s race will be taking place at the San Diego venue. But almost everyone is holding their breath in anticipation of his next start and wondering which horse will show up; the ARROGATE before Dubai, or the ARROGATE after Dubai.
And ARROGATE might have more than just his own self to worry about as the Breeder’s Cup Classic race is shaping out to be an especially difficult one and many horses appear to be in prime shape. For one, the east coast favorite GUN RUNNER looks to take over the title of the “World’s Best Racehorse”, and many are confident he will do so. Since GUN RUNNER’s second-place finish to ARROGATE in Dubai, he has 3 straight victories including his most recent win in the G1 Woodward. ARROGATE will also face competition from his own barn as Bob Baffert plans to send out as many as 3 other horses to compete in this year’s BC Classic including MUBTAAHIJ, COLLECTED, and WEST COAST, the winner of this year’s Traver’s stakes.
Despite how ARROGATE does in this year’s BC Classic, one thing is for certain, this will be the last race of ARROGATE’s career. It was recently announced that following his Breeder’s Cup start, ARROGATE will retire from racing and will start a new career as a stud at Juddmonte Farms. His impending retirement has many asking important questions about his short but stunning career. Will a win in the Breeder’s Cup Classic cement his place as one of this generation’s best horses? Will a loss tarnish his reputation as the richest racehorse of all time? And finally, perhaps the most important question of them all as horse fans look to the future, once ARROGATE retires, will the title of the “World’s Best Horse” pass to an up-and-comer in his own barn, or will the east coast favorite GUN RUNNER take over the title?
I personally wouldn’t count ARROGATE out of anything and think his competitive spirit will take over on the biggest racing day of the year. Many, myself included, believe he could be a lucrative bet come Breeder’s Cup Classic day. With GUN RUNNER the likely favorite, ARROGATE looks to be a good price; and anything over 2-1 I would be willing to take. If nothing else, it will be a good day to enjoy the races and say farewell to the horse that made me fall in love with the sport.
Coverage of the Breeder’s Cup will take place November 3-4 on NBC and NBCSN and select races will be broadcast on Facebook LIVE. More info on the Breeders Cup can be found at www.breederscup.com. Stay tuned to Underdog sports as we continue to preview the biggest races of the Breeder’s Cup weekend and highlight our favorite horses in each division.