The reigning Breeders’ Cup Classic champion has done it again. After a rough start, Arrogate stormed from the back of the pack to seal a victory at the 2017 Dubai World Cup. His career earnings have now hit $17,084,600 which is the most of any North American Thoroughbred in history. And he needed a historic performance to get there too.
The opening odds for the 2017 Dubai World Cup were straightforward, and hilariously lopsided. Arrogate opened as a 2/5 favorite, with only two other horses handed a fair chance of challenging him. That pair was Gun Runner and Mubtaahj, who each had 8/1 odds of their own. To put this in persective, even Hoppertunity was handed 15/1 odds with every other horse posting at 20/1 through 50/1. This was a race that belonged to Arrogate even before it started.
The start, however, is where things got a bit quirky. Arrogate didn’t stumble to start the race, but he definitely broke very late. He trailed right from the onset as his rivals tore away from him down the opening stretch. It was bizarre. “I missed the break completely,” jockey Mike Smith later said. “I said, ‘I’m just going to ride him like Zenyatta. I had no choice but to just sit there and let him collect himself.”
Even Bob Baffert feared the worst as he watched from the sideline. “I was thinking, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t have brought him. Maybe he’s getting tired,'” the trainer admitted. When you see your horse get off to such a rough start, you just hope he gets through the race unscathed. Arrogate, however, had other intentions.
As the 2017 Dubai World Cup unfolded, Arrogate began to soar. It’s truly difficult to describe the performance. Words like “grace” and “poise” don’t seem to fit the bill, but that’s the type of race I saw. Arrogate just seemed to casually catch up to the field without any desperation and confidently regained position as Gun Runner battled 20/1 longshot Neolithic out in front.
By the time the field hit the homestretch, Arrogate had put himself in a completely unexpected and exciting place and left both front runners in his dust as he paced to the finish line unchallenged and untouched. It was the expected result, but an unexpected story and one that will forever be entrenched as one of his finest performances. That’s saying a lot all things considered.
The long trip back from the 2017 Dubai World Cup will eventually lead to a return to the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic according to Arrogate’s connections.