Saturday, March 25, 2017

Arrogate overcomes rain, a bad start, and a slow break in Stunning $10 million Dubai World Cup Victory


Racing news and tips: Arrogate wins Dubai World Cup in stunning style

 Grey powers through the field after slow start to win at Meydan 
 Bob Baffert: ‘It’s u
nbelievable, I can’t believe he won’ in Dubai
Saturday 25 March 2017 

Image Credit: Atiq ur Rehman/Gulf News
Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News
Greg Wood 

Mike Smith’s first thought after the Dubai World Cup here on Saturday was of Zenyatta, the exceptional horse he rode from a long last to first in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic. But Arrogate is even better than Zenyatta and proved it with an astonishing performance, shrugging off the loss of several lengths at the start to win going away without ever leaving second gear.
Some very good horses have won the Dubai World Cup over the past 21 years, and some very average ones too. The only way Arrogate’s performance is likely to be bettered in the next 21 years, however, is if Bob Baffert’s four-year-old returns for another attempt at the race next year.
Arrogate is used to the standard American practice of putting a handler in the stalls. Without one, he simply fell out of the gate and turned away from the stands with all 13 of his rivals in front of him. Smith waited until they were into the back stretch to unleash Arrogate’s immense stride and start to make some ground, but he was still nearly 10 lengths adrift of the pace halfway around the far turn.
The next few seconds removed any lingering doubt that Arrogate is one of the very best dirt runners for many years. He made ground around the bend with ease and then lengthened again, closing down and then catching Gun Runner, the leader, with a furlong still to cover. As he crossed the line two and a quarter lengths clear of Gun Runner, with Neolithic another five back in third, he became the first horse in history to win $17m in prize money, less than a year after finishing third on his debut at Los Alamitos.
Arrogate is owned by Prince Khalid Abdullah, whose Frankel retired unbeaten after 14 starts in 2012. He has not reached that pinnacle yet, but took a significant stride towards it here in the eighth race of his career and promises to be closer still by the time his career draws to a close.
 “That was very emotional for me,” Baffert said. “I couldn’t believe it. I thought: ‘We’ve come all this way for this, how could he break so poorly?’ I heard the whole crowd, the heavy sigh, even the announcer said: ‘He is dead last,’ or whatever, and I’m thinking: ‘What is this? There is no chance he can win, this is not Hollywood, this is not a script where he comes running at the end.’
“Then on that turn for home, with that tremendous long stride he was gobbling up the ground. I was thinking, no way. I was watching this unfold before me thinking: ‘Where has this horse come from?’ He shows us something spectacular every time he runs.”
Smith is unsure why Arrogate was so slow to stride, but was growing in confidence that his partner was up to the task well before Baffert started to believe. “He’s used to having someone stick their head up in the doors,” Smith said, “but whatever happened, I just think it happened for a reason. It made him much more impressive. It might have been a boring race, it made it an unbelievable race.
 “Once I got away like that, I had to sit there and let him collect himself.
“Zenyatta came from way back, it took her a while to get going. Once we were on the backside, I moved a little and he jumped at them and I thought: ‘We’re still here.’ I called on him heading for home and he just took off, it was incredible. I won the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Zenyatta, people said that was the greatest race but I think this race has topped it.”
Baffert will work backwards from the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar in November when planning the remainder of Arrogate’s campaign and he is unlikely to see a racecourse again for a couple of months at least while he is freshened up for the summer and autumn.
But the memory of this performance will not fade easily. Arrogate’s slow start and electrifying finish advertised his immense talent not just to his home audience in the United States, but around the world.
“He had to establish himself,” Baffert said. “We all knew he was this great horse but he hadn’t had a lot of racing. If anybody wasn’t super-impressed with that, they don’t like horse racing. I still can’t believe he won the race. How did that happen? How did he pull it off?”

His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum at the Dubai World Cup on Saturday.
Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News

Dubai World Cup: It's a wrap! 
By Leslie Wilson Jr., Racing & Special Features Writer
Dubai: He came, he saw, he conquered. Arrogate, the highest rated horse in the world overcame a shocking start to win the 22nd running of the $10 million Dubai World Cup (Group 1), sending a crowd of over 40,000 fans into a frenzy at the iconic Meydan Racecourse on Saturday.
After missing the break at the start of the 2,000 metre contest, which left him trailing his 13 rivals, the imposing grey son of Unbridled steadily worked his way back into the race under a super confident Mike Smith, before pulling away in the final furlong to win in glorious fashion.
Fellow American-trained Gun Runner, ridden by Frenchman Florent Geroux for trainer Steve Asmussen, best remembered for training Curlin to victory in the 2008 Dubai World Cup, finished 2 ¼ lengths behind the Arrogate while the Todd Pletcher-trained Neolithic, with John Velazquez in the irons, was third, a further five lengths further back.
South African-trained Mubtaahij, second in this race last year behind California Chrome, finished fourth for Christophe Soumillon.
Mike Smith, Arrogate’s 51-year-old rider and one of the leading jockeys in US thoroughbred racing since the early 1990s, was ecstatic and said: "When I missed the break I immediately thought of Zenyatta. I thought 'I've got so much confidence in this horse I'm going to ride him like Zenyatta' and it paid off.
"I missed the break completely because he's used to having a man in the gate with him, but things happen for a reason and thank the Lord we got the job done.”
Smith rode Zenyatta, who was trained by John Shirreffs, to 14 of his 16 victories between 2008 and 2010.

"This horse can do anything, he can win in the lead, he can come from dead last, he hasn't even taken a breath,” he added.
"I get a lot of the glory, but there's a big team who deserve a lot of credit."
Baffert admitted to being mortified after Arrogate was sluggish out of the stalls but said: "When he missed the break, I gave him no chance at all.
"I was so mad at myself thinking I shouldn't have brought him - that's the greatest horse I've ever seen run, it's unbelievable, I can't believe he won. That is a great horse.
"Mike did a great job, he didn't panic. When he turned for home I said 'If he wins he's the greatest since Secretariat'."
Arrogate has been unbeatable in the United States since finishing third in his debut. He has now has won four straight Grade 1 or Group 1 races, including the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the Pegasus Cup earlier this year.
His victory on Saturday has driven his career earning past the $17 million mark making him the highest earning horse in American racing history.
Baffert, who trained the 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, previously won the Dubai World Cup with Silver Charm in 1998 and Captain Steve in 2001.
Arrogate races in the colours of Prince Khalid Abdullah, the first cousin and brother-in-law of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabi, who also owned the great Frankel.
He has amassed over $80 million in career prize money.
Abdullah has won more than 150 Group 1 races worldwide with more than 125 by homebreds such as Flintshire, Emollient, Seek Again, Empire Maker, Banks Hill, Dancing Brave, and Frankel. 

He also owns the outstanding Juddmote Farm breeding operation. In 2016, Arrogate gave Juddmonte its fifth career Breeders' Cup win when he outfinished California Chrome to win the $6 million Classic. After the 2016 season, Juddmonte Farms was named the Eclipse Award winner as outstanding owner.

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