Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Newcomers Series: Arrogate

When Bob Baffert and Juddmonte decided to buy a gray colt out of Bubbler (Distorted Humor) at the Keeneland September Sale in 2014 they obviously knew he had all the looks to be a talented racehorse but it is doubtful they knew how talented he was.

Typical young horse problems delayed Arrogate (Unbridled’s Song) from starting until April of his 3-year-old year for the Baffert barn, forcing him to miss the Triple Crown series. Starting in a six furlong maiden at Los Alamitos, the colt was only three quarters of a length from a win with the Congrats gelding (at that time still intact) Westbrook winning the race and future multiple graded stakes winner Accelerate (Lookin At Lucky) in second.

Arrogate had the racing game figured out after that race and no one would beat him to the line for over a year after that start.

He won a maiden at Santa Anita nearly two months later by 4 ½ lengths over a field that included future Grade 2 winner Giant Expectations (Frost Giant) before Baffert put him in two easy allowance races that he won by a combined seven lengths.

Showing the faith Baffert had in his charge’s talent, Arrogate was then shipped across the country to take on some of the country’s best 3-year-olds in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes, his first stakes race. Perhaps surprisingly, Arrogate was allowed to go off at odds of 11.70-to-1 and showed that his winning streak wasn’t a fluke.

Taking the lead by the time the field hit the first turn, he kept the field at his hip for most of the race … until they hit the stretch. From there, it was clear the horse outclassed the field as he pulled away to win by 13 ½ lengths in a new track record time of 1:59.36. The Travers was Arrogate’s coming out party in more ways than one with the colt beating 11 current or future stakes winning or placed 3-year-olds of 12 other horses in the field.

2016 TRAVERS STAKES

Arrogate had already beaten elders before he ran in the Travers but was taking a huge step up in the quality of older horses he’d be facing when he entered the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita off a two and a half month break. The only thing standing between Arrogate and being favorite for the race was California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit), who had been unstoppable in 2016 and looked to roll through Santa Anita on his way to an undefeated season.

Those two made it a race between them with California Chrome taking the lead and Arrogate just a few lengths off of him the whole race. It wasn’t until the stretch that Arrogate finally started challenging the 2014 Horse of the Year, slowly closing the gap with the rest of the field watching the show from multiple lengths back. It looked like California Chrome may win until the shadow of the wire when Arrogate finally drew even and then passed him to beat the dual classic winner by half a length with third placed Keen Ice (Curlin) 10 ¾ lengths behind the pair. The victory wasn’t enough to get Arrogate Horse of the Year honors but did win him champion 3-year-old colt honors by a vote of 243 to Exaggerator’s two.

2016 BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC

In his first season as a racehorse, Arrogate beat 21 stakes horses and more than paid off his $560,000 price tag with over $4 million in earnings.

Arrogate was back as a 4-year-old in 2017 with his eye first turned to the first ever $12 million Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup International.

In a show of his dominance over the division, Arrogate was tucked on the rail behind the leaders with regular jockey Mike Smith sitting relaxed on the horse. Angling him out in the turn, Smith hit the “go” button and Arrogate didn’t have to be asked twice with a hand ride in the stretch taking him out to a 4 ¾ length victory. The win put him within eye shot of California Chrome’s record as the highest earning North American racehorse of all time with the Grade 1 Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline next on Arrogate’s agenda.

If ever a horse needed an excuse to lose a race, Arrogate had it in the Dubai World Cup. He broke a bit slow, then was squeezed and forced to go back to last. Taken out of his normal running style, Arrogate then went wide and had to circle the field. But showing an outstanding turn of foot, when Smith asked him to run, Arrogate switched into stride and passed nearly the whole field going into the stretch. With only Gun Runner (Candy Ride) and Neolithic in front of him, Arrogate continued to eat up the ground to pass gun runner in the final furlong and win going away. Only a year after California Chrome had taken the all-time earner title from Cigar (Palace Music), Arrogate had swooped in in the most spectacular style.

2017 DUBAI WORLD CUP

Returning to the track in late July after a few months off, Arrogate didn’t seem to be back to his old self when finishing fourth in the Grade 2 TVG San Diego Handicap, beating just one horse. Never truly looking comfortable on the Del Mar surface, even in his lone start over the track before 2017, he ran into the issue of the Breeders’ Cup running at that track at the end of the year. Connections hoped he would get used to it before November and he gave fans a glimmer of hope in the Grade 1 TVG Pacific Classic when he was second to stablemate Collected (City Zip), though still obviously wasn’t the same Arrogate he was on other tracks.

Still not himself over the track, Arrogate ended his career with a fifth place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic behind Dubai World Cup second Gun Runner. When the dust was settled, Arrogate had won seven of his 11 races (including four Grade 1s in a row) with $17,422,600 in earnings - $13,338,000 coming in 2017. He finished in front of 47 stakes winning or placed horses, including 20 Grade 1 winners, eight Grade 2 winners, and seven Grade 3 winners.
Stakes horses Arrogate beat in his career

Arrogate joins Mizzen Mast (Cozzene) on Juddmonte Farm’s U.S. roster in 2018, standing for $75,000 – the highest of any U.S. freshman sire this year.

By Unbridled’s Song, Arrogate has a bit of a challenge on his hands with no Unbridled’s Song son yet hitting it big at stud. However, the late sire comes from a sire line of sire-of-sires with the stallion by Unbridled, who is also the sire of Empire Maker (who has had two sons sire Kentucky Derby winners in the past three years), and Unbridled by the very influential Fappiano (Mr. Prospector).

Arrogate is the first foal out of the stakes winning Bubbler, who is by top broodmare sire Distorted Humor. In addition to leading the broodmare sire rankings this year, Distorted Humor’s son Maclean’s Music sired this year’s Grade 1 Preakness Stakes winner Cloud Computing and Jimmy Creed, who has six stakes horses in his first crop this year.

Bubbler’s dam is the Grade 3 placed Grechelle (Deputy Minister), who has proven to be a better broodmare than racehorse. Of the mare's four foals to race, three are winners with two stakes winners. Unbridled Femme (Unbridled) joining Bubbler as being a listed stakes winner. By Arrogate’s grandsire, Unbridled Femme has had four winners herself and probably played a decent part in Bubbler’s owners sending the mare to Unbridled’s Song. Grechelle’s only non-winner of her racers has produced two winners in her career.

Bubbler
Arrogate’s third dam is where his page gets very interesting.

That third dam is the 1990 champion 2-year-old filly Meadow Star (Meadowlake). While Grechelle is her best producing daughter, her first foal (Field of Vision – a full sister to Grechelle) is the granddam of multiple Grade 1 winner Belle Gallantey (After Market). All four of Meadow Star’s daughters produced at least one winner with two producing stakes winners or the dams of stakes winners.

Unbridled’s Song produced 22 Grade/Group 1 winners during his stallion career with two of those out of Storm Cat mares and four overall being out of daughters or granddaughters of Storm Bird. Dehere also proved to be a popular cross with two of the Grade 1 winners out of Dehere mares and two out of In Reality granddaughters. Deputy Minister also proved to be a good cross with two granddaughters producing Grade 1 winners by Unbridled’s Song (including Arrogate) while the Lemon Drop Kid cross has two Grade 1 winners but they are full sisters.


Champion Will Take Charge is bred on the Unbridled's Song x Dehere cross
While Arrogate has Mr. Prospector in the fourth generation through both his sire and damsire, his foals will have it pushed back to the fifth generation with his two strains of Northern Dancer and In Reality falling completely off the first five generations. As a horse whose foals completely devoid of any inbreeding in the first four generations through him, Arrogate is an interesting choice for breeders, especially those with Northern Dancer or A.P Indy lined mares as he shares no lines with A.P. Indy in his first four generations.

As a Juddmonte stallion, Arrogate was already slated to get every chance at stud. However, the operation committed to supporting him even more when they purchased additional mares to breed to him, including multiple Grade 1 winner Paulassilverlining (Ghostzapper). Other mares announced as going to the stallion include dual champion Songbird (Medaglia d’Oro), Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty (Medgalia d’Oro), multiple Grade 1 winner By the Moon (Indian Charlie), and Grade 1 producing Perfectforthepart (Dynaformer).

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