The new American super horse Arrogate is on cue to claim his fourth consecutive Group 1 victory in winning the $6m Dubai World Cup of 2000m on dirt at Meydan Racecourse on Saturday 25 March.
Trained by Bob Baffert at Del Mar Arrogate began his Group 1 campaign by winning the ‘Summer Derby’ the Travers Stakes at Saratoga. At the race start Mike Smith had Arrogate tracking the leaders for the first two furlongs, before taking the lead, and in the final furlong he raced away to win by 13½ lengths.
Arrogate ran a race record time of 1.59.39sec for the 1¼ mile journey, lowering General Assembly’s previous Travers Stakes record of 2.00sec that stood for 37 years. Arrogate’s victory was also credible as the race field contained the Belmont Stakes winner Creator and Exaggerator, the Preakness Stakes winner and race favourite who finished eleventh
At his very next start, the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita, Arrogate threw down the gauntlet to the former Horse of The Year California Chrome, winner of last year’s Dubai World Cup.
California Chrome led from the start in the BC Classic with Arrogate in third. Along the back stretch Mike Smith drover Arrogate up to California Chrome, where they raced alongside one another well in the straight, before Arrogate gained the advantage at the finish to win by half-a-length.
The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities voted Arrogate as the World’s Best Racehorse with a rating of 134, one point higher than California Chrome, who was voted US Horse of The Year for the second time.
In also being crowned American Champion 3YO Arrogate achieved the award by never contesting the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes or Belmont Stakes, and went into the Travers Stakes having won consecutive Allowance Claiming Races against older horses at Del Mar and Santa Anita. Arrogate never raced as a 2 year-old and won a Special Weight Maiden at his second 3yo race start.
On 28 January Arrogate and California Chrome met again in the inaugural $12m Pegasus World Cup of 1 1/8 mile at Gulfstream Park. Arrogate was aided by starting from Barrier 1, while California Chrome drew the outside and possibly wrenching his leg when racing wide around the first turn.
Racing down the back stretch California Chrome joined Arrogate who racing behind the leaders. California Chrome was unable to match Arrogate’s mid race surge who raced away in the straight to win by almost 5 lengths for the outsider Shaman Ghost.
The Steve Asmussen trained Gun Runner is possibly Arrogate’s toughest opponent in the Dubai World Cup having won the Razorback Handicap in February. Last season he won the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs in November and in August ran third to Arrogate in the Travers Stakes.
Bob Baffert’s second runner in the World Cup is the Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Hoppertunity who is coming off his second consecutive victory in the San Antonio Stakes run at Santa Anita.
Mubtaahij, trained by Mike de Kock and to be ridden by Christophe Soumillon, is seen to be the UAE’s best challenge and in February ran second in the Curlin Handicap at Meydan. He finished second to California Chrome in last year’s Dubai World, followed by three group placing’s in America.