March 23, 2017
Arrogate Prevails in Classic Showdown with 'Chrome' on Breeders' Cup
Jockey Mike Smith and Arrogate cross the finish line to win the Breeders' Cup Classic, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, CA. (Photo by Diane Bondareff/Invision for Longines/AP Images)
ARCADIA, Calif. – It was the stretch duel everyone expected. But not the finish.
The prestigious race for the $6 million purse came down to a private battle between the two favorites, but in the end it was the younger second choice who prevailed, as Juddmonte Farms’ Arrogate slipped past 4-5 favorite California Chrome in the final yards to post a half-length victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday November 5, 22016 at Santa Anita Park before a crowd of 72,811.
A front-running winner of the Travers by a monstrous 13 ½ lengths in just his fifth career start and stakes debut, Arrogate proved his track record-breaking effort at the Spa was no fluke in defeating the pre-race favorite for Horse of the Year honors.
Fifth after the opening quarter-mile in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, Arrogate was not fazed by the change of tactics as he and jockey Mike Smith made up a length and a half in the final furlong on the formidable 2014 Kentucky Derby/Preakness winner and surged to victory for trainer Bob Baffert.
“I thought he had no chance to catch California Chrome,” said Baffert after winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic for a record third straight time and posting a 14th win at the World Championships. “I didn’t think he could win until the final 20 yards. This horse is still learning how to run. I’m surprised I beat California Chrome.
“It was an incredible race by two incredible horses. This is what the Breeders’ Cup is all about.”
For Smith, the Classic was his 25th Breeders’ Cup win and a race that made him a full-fledged fan of a colt who no doubt wrapped up an Eclipse Award for the champion 3-year-old male by becoming the first horse to win both the Travers and BC Classic.
“I became a fan in the final 20 yards. I was in awe of the horse he beat,” Smith said. “This horse has so much stamina for a young 3-year-old. He’s relentless. What a talent!”
For California Chrome, the loss snapped a six-race winning streak that included victory in the Dubai World Cup and Pacific Classic, but did little to tarnish his standing as a horse brilliant enough to be North America’s all-time leading money earner and the leading contender for 2016 Horse of the Year honors.
“We had no excuses,” trainer Art Sherman said. “He ran his eyeballs out.”
Some 10 ¾ lengths behind California Chrome, Keen Ice edged Hoppertunity for third by a neck.
The 9-5 second choice in the wagering, Arrogate paid $5.40 to win for covering the mile and a quarter in 2:00.11.
In other Breeders’ Cup races on Saturday:
Tepin fell short in her bid to post back-to-back victories in the Breeders’ Cup Mile as her late rally left her a half-length behind Tourist at the wire.
The champion turf female of 2015, Tepin had an eight-race win streak snapped when she ran second in the Grade 1 First Lady at Keeneland and was sent off as the 7-2 second-choice in a field of 14 on Saturday. There was conjecture the loss indicated the 5-year-old mare had lost a step, but she turned in a sharp effort in a race in which having to rally four-wide on the turn cost her some valuable ground.
“She ran a huge race,” trainer Mark Casse said. “Everybody was counting her out and she showed she's still got it.”
Owned by WinStar Farm, Wachtel Stable, and Gary Barber, Tourist is trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott.
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