Making a Case for Arrogate as Thoroughbred Racing’s Greatest

Arrogate, the super horse who dominated the handicap division last season in thoroughbred racing, is lost but not forgotten.

The Bob Baffert trained monster is enjoying a fun life at stud, but looking back on his career, I think there is a serious case to be made that Arrogate was the greatest racehorse who ever lived.

The son of Unbridled Song, who stood at Taylor Made Farm, won seven races from 11 starts.  His stat line read like this:  11-7-1-1.  He won over $17,000,000 and only missed the board twice, both times at Del Mar.  It is those races at Del Mar that tainted his legacy.

Arrogate thrilled us with what is probably the finest 8 month run in the history of racing.  Forget Triple Crown winners, the big grey’s run, which started with a win at 12-1 in the Travers at Saratoga, is second to none.

In the 2016 Travers, Arrogate was an unknown quantity, that is unknown to everyone except Bob Baffert and his extraordinary staff.  That is why a super horse got off at 12-1 in a race he would dominate like nobody had done in the history of the race.  When it was all said and done, Arrogate has eclipsed the stakes and track record at Saratoga, winning easily against Exxagerator and Creator, who had won the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, respectfully.

Later, at Santa Anita, Arrogate would handle a quality field in the Breeders Cup Classic, beating Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome.  Both the winner and Chrome beat the other horses by 10 lengths.

Then, at Gulfstream Park in January, Arrogate put the big hurt on all of them, including California Chrome for the second time, to win the Pegasus World Cup easily.  The $12,000,000 purse was the largest purse in horse racing.

While all of these races were impressive, none — ever — will top the Dubai World Cup that Spring.  Arrogate, ridden by his regular rider Mike Smith, broke poorly and was dead last against the top handicap horses in the world.  But, as fate would have it, the greatest horse of his generation would run what is, arguably, the greatest single race ever run by a racehorse.  Arrogate circled the field turning for home, then ran by second place finisher Gun Runner like he was standing still.  Gun Runner would go on the next year to win the Breeders Cup and Pegasus, capping a Horse of the Year campaign.

There are so many arguments here to make but none are better than Arrogate being the greatest ever. He broke track records at every turn while beating the best of his generation.  He has won more money than any horse in history, and he did so at different tracks, different states, and different countries.

 

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