Arrogate, a lightly raced 3-year-old, ran down 2014 Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome in the stretch to win the $6-million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday at Santa Anita. Check out all the race results for the weekend here.
Horse racing has a new star.
Arrogate, a lightly raced 3-year-old, ran down California Chrome in the stretch to win the $6-million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday at Santa Anita.
The race was everything that was promised between North America’s all-time leading money winner and the upstart who had run (and won) only one Grade 1 stakes.
California Chrome broke on top and kept the lead with Melatonin by his side. Arrogate was rating nicely near the lead but not running as fast. Arrogate started to move on the far turn but Chrome still had the lead entering the stretch.
It looked as if Chrome might hold on as they approached the wire but Arrogate found another gear and sailed by to win by half a length.
Arrogate paid $5.40, $2.80 and $2.60. Chrome paid $2.60 and $2.40. Keen Ice paid $5.80 to show.
Arrogate was not ready for the Triple Crown season, running only once at Los Alamitos in April and finishing second. His next race he won at Santa Anita in June and he hasn’t stopped since.
But it was his eye-popping performance at Saratoga in the very competitive Travers Stakes that got everyone’s attention, winning by 13 ½ lengths.
Rafael Bejarano had ridden Arrogate to all his wins going into the Travers but Baffert also had American Freedom in that race and the owners wanted Bejarano to ride that horse.
Mike Smith happened to be “in the right place at the right time” and finds himself with the sport’s new superstar.
Chrome captured everyone’s heart with his humble beginning. He was the product of $2,500 breeding of Lucky Pulpit and Love the Chase. He was a California bred, the kind that the Kentucky bluebloods looked down on.
But when he won the Santa Anita Derby by a comfortable 5 ¼ lengths people started to believe in the David-vs.-Goliath story. Chrome then won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness before the grind wore him down in the Belmont Stakes.
He had a disastrous 4-year-old campaign, which is pretty much why he was brought back as a 5-year-old. After losing in the Dubai World Cup, he was sent to England and Chicago without running a race.
After a long layoff he came back in January at Santa Anita, winning the San Pasqual, and he hadn’t lost until Saturday.