November 30, 2023

Arrogate can use California itinerary for remainder of 2017

Arrogate & Mike Smith after winning the $12 million Pegasus World Cup (Andie Biancone/Adam Coglianese Photography)

Arrogate turned the $12 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) at Gulfstream Park into a stroll in the park, eliminating any suspense by the conclusion of the far turn as he won geared-down by a 4 ¾-length margin.

His main rival, California Chrome, didn’t show up with his best but I was left feeling it didn’t matter. Arrogate backed up monstrous performances in the Travers (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) and has proven to be special by earning BRIS Speed figures that place him at a higher level than all recent contemporaries.

My colleague Kellie Reilly provided more context on Arrogate’s ascension and Ed DeRosa has detailed Arrogate’s BRIS Speed rating accomplishments in recent columns.

Arrogate registered a 112 BRIS Speed rating in the Pegasus, a highly-respectable number but lower than the 124 and 115 earned in Travers and Classic, respectively. However, it turns out the Pegasus number may be too low due to a timer malfunction, with multiple observers determining Arrogate ran nearly a second faster than 1:47.61 after re-timing the 1 1/8-mile race. Something was amiss with the Trakus graphics during the running of the Pegasus and we’ll get more clarification on this issue in the days to come.

Turning our focus to upcoming engagements, Arrogate has one main goal remaining in 2017, a title defense in the November 4 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). And with the Breeders’ Cup being held at Del Mar, Bob Baffert doesn’t have to worry about shipping Arrogate outside of California the rest of the year.

The Hall of Fame conditioner has no desire to send the physically-imposing colt overseas for the $10 million Dubai World Cup (G1) on March 25 and owner Juddmonte Farms is on board with the strategy – Arrogate has already earned $8.6 million and connections won’t be motivated by monetary concerns going forward.

So what options are available to Arrogate? The Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar in August is a no-brainer, a course-and-distance prep that can serve as the final tune-up for the Classic.

With 6 ½ months remaining until the Pacific Classic, the potential exists for two more races. The Pacific Classic would eliminate the viability of any Saratoga events and I can’t envision Arrogate shortening up to a mile for the lucrative Metropolitan H. (G1) on the Belmont Stakes undercard. Other possible options include Grade 2 races like the Alysheba (G2) and Oaklawn H. (G2) during the spring.

I don’t think Arrogate is shipping for any of those races because Baffert has a pair of Grade 1, 1 ¼ miles races at his disposal in his backyard.

Based at Santa Anita, Arrogate can target the $750,000 Santa Anita H. (G1) on March 11 for his next outing. The 6-week turnaround would be the shortest on Arrogate’s 2017 schedule but given the ease of his Pegasus victory, it’s certainly doable. And we wouldn’t expect any high-class foes given the sorry state of older horse division out west.

The Big ‘Cap leaves a 5-month gap until the Pacific Classic and the $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) in mid-to-late June (official dates still to be announced) fits the bill as a perfect tightener.

The Gold Cup lacks the prestige it once had, but the timing is right. And the latter is most important when it comes to prep races. Connections could’ve had gone to Dubai if Arrogate only had to run in important races and the Gold Cup will give Baffert more time to prepare than the San Diego (G2) early in the Del Mar meeting.

Here is a possible schedule for Arrogate:

Race Date
Santa Anita Handicap March 11
Gold Cup at Santa Anita Mid-to-late June
Pacific Classic Mid-August
Breeders’ Cup Classic November 4

Fans eager to see Arrogate run outside of California may have to wait for the 2018 Pegasus at Gulfstream.