Breeders' Cup - At The Races


  • Trainer: Bob Baffert
  • Likely Jockey: Mike Smith
  • Owner: Juddmonte Farms Inc
  • Age & Breeding: 4-year-old colt; Unbridled's Song - Bubbler
  • Season Form Figures: 1142
  • Career Highlight: Seventh win on the spin in the Dubai World Cup

How do you solve a problem like Arrogate?

Trainer Bob Baffert has won the last two Breeders’ Cup Classics with American Pharoah and of course Arrogate himself. He’s got a great chance to make in three in a row this year, but as the year has gone on, the question of how to handle Arrogate has become a lot more complicated, and the way a punter chooses to answer it will go a long way to determining his or her success in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.

In March, after his stirring performance in the Dubai World Cup, USA racing pundits were debating if this was the greatest racehorse in America since Secretariat. At that point, he’d won seven in a row, including a string of four straight Grade 1s with figures in the stratosphere, exuding class all the while.

Then came his Del Mar summer campaign. He ran an absolute turkey in the San Diego, off-the-board at 1-20, in one of the most shocking performances in the history of US racing. Four weeks later, he ran second in the Pacific Classic, earning a figure with a few lengths of his best, but the eyes told a different story. He ran in snatches through the race, turning on and off and looking nothing like the horse who’d commanded so many superlatives a few months earlier.

One theory goes that he simply doesn’t like Del Mar’s racing surface. But that’s not good news given the location of this year’s Breeders’ Cup. It seems likely that he’s simply not the same horse, but he was so good at his prime that even a B- race could get him to the winners’ circle. Therein lies the conundrum. Especially because his recent struggles mean he’s available at 7-2 in places instead of the 1-2 (or shorter) he’d be had everything gone according to plan in 2017.

But is that a value proposition or is it a bet on the memory of the horse Arrogate once was, as opposed to the horse he’ll be when he enters the gate on Saturday evening? At current prices, there's got to be bit of real value. On the USA tote, he might be half that number and an easy bet against.

As a racing fan, it would be wonderful to see Arrogate reclaim the throne in a thrilling victory, and whether or not they bet him or not, many punters will be pulling for him down the stretch. Even if Gun Runner is a more likely winner, Arrogate is still the horse to watch in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.