Last season at this time, Arrogate (2-1) was the most difficult horse to handicap in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He only had five career races under his saddle, one of which resulted in the fastest Travers Stakes time ever. Arrogate went on to defeat the great California Chrome in a tremendous duel at the 2016 Breeders’ Cup.
Now, Arrogate is back as a four-year old, and he’ll be looking for an encore performance in what will be the final race of his career before he is put out to stud.
|Arrogate Horse Racing Bio
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Mike Smith
Owner: Juddmonte Farms
Career Record: 7-1-1 (10 Races)
Arrogate 2017 Record
|Aug 19||Pacific Classic||Del Mar||0.70||2nd|
|Jul 22||San Diego Handicap||Del Mar||0.05||4th|
|Mar 25||Dubai Classic||Meydan||0.90||1st|
|Jan 28||Pegasus World Classic||Gulfstream Park||0.90||1st|
Arrogate has only raced four times this year, and all signs have pointed toward him defending his Breeders’ Cup Classic crown. It was obvious that he was going to run in the expensive Pegasus World Classic and Dubai World Cup since winning the Classic last year. And after winning those prestigious races, trainer Bob Baffert took him back to California with an immediate eye on the Breeders’.
The most obvious issue is that Arrogate just doesn’t run well at Del Mar, the site of the 2017 Breeders’ Cup. He finished fourth in the San Diego Handicap and was only second-best to Collected at the Pacific Classic. Both races resulted in huge upsets, and in both cases, there were moments where you just wondered if there was anything left in the tank for Arrogate.
Arrogate is a wee on the young side to be retiring, but Baffert could legitimately realize that his legs are shot.
The counterargument would suggest that Arrogate ran a 109 Beyer Speed Rating in the Pacific Classic, and that he was barely beaten by a really good horse in Collected. Normally speaking, throwing a 109 on the board is going to be enough to win any race, even at the Grade 1 level.
Will Arrogate Win the Breeders’ Cup Classic
There’s more than a possibility of repeat. We’ve only seen one horse win the Breeders’ Cup Classic twice, Tiznow in 2000 and 2001. This field looks a lot like last year’s from the standpoint that there’s a huge horse in the field that loves to get out of the blocks in a hurry (Gun Runner), and a rather unimpressive field by the standards of this storied race.
The difference is that no one will be taking Arrogate for granted when he starts to make his move. The other jockeys in the field are aware of the heart that Arrogate has when he kicks into gear in the stretch, and you can bet that some will position themselves to box out Arrogate.
Arrogate’s path to victory at the Breeders’ Cup Classic is going to require some open track for Mike Smith to work with. Arrogate won’t be at the head of the pack at the outset of this race, especially with his inside post. Smith will have to keep his colt out of trouble and pinned on the rail in the early stages in order to run the shortest race possible.
It’s around the far turn that we suspect we’re going to see that patented Arrogate kick. Last year, Smith had to get Arrogate around Melatonin to give him a clear shot at California Chrome. He’s probably going to have to do the same with Collected this time around. If he gets that clear track in the final two furlongs, there’s no way we would bet against Arrogate.
It’s hard to put Arrogate in your exotics, knowing that there’s a good chance he’s going to go to post at a price lower than his 2-1 morning line odds, but it’s hard to see him finishing off the board for just the second time in his career.
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