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Arrogate, horse racing’s top money earner, euthanized due to health complications

Arrogate wins the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational in 2017.
Arrogate crosses the finish to win the $12-million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla., in 2017.
(Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images)

Arrogate, thoroughbred racing’s all-time leading money earner, was euthanized Tuesday after complications from an undiagnosed ailment made his recovery impossible. He was 7 years old and was in the midst of a breeding season.

His breeding schedule was suspended last week after it was originally thought he had a sore neck, according to a statement from Juddmonte Farms, his owner.

“Later in the week he fell to the ground in his stall and efforts to get him back up proved unsuccessful,” the statement said. He was taken to the Hagyard Equine Medical Clinic in Lexington, Ky., under the care of veterinarians Bob Hunt, Nathan Slovis and Steve Reed.

“They worked tirelessly with the staff from the Hagyard Clinic eliminating all the obvious causes and performing all available tests, including spinal tap evaluation, X-ray, ultrasound, CT scan and many blood tests. Unfortunately, Arrogate was still unable to stand after four exhausting days for him. … When serious secondary health issues set in, the decision was made to put him to sleep.”

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A necropsy will be performed.

As a late developing 3-year-old, Arrogate wasn’t ready for the Triple Crown races and won his first race at Santa Anita, the second of his career, on June 5, 2016, by 4 1/2 lengths. Then, after winning two allowance races, trainer Bob Baffert sent him to New York for the Travers Stakes, his first major competition. He won it by a staggering 13 ½ lengths with Mike Smith as his jockey.

He followed that by winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita with a stirring stretch run in which he defeated California Chrome by half a length.

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3-year-old wins Breeders’ Cup Classic

Arrogate started his 4-year-old season with victories in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational and Dubai World Cup, both races with huge purses. Dubai would be his last win. He ran three more times in 2017 at Del Mar, a fourth in the San Diego Handicap, second in the Pacific Classic and fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“He’s like a pitcher who can’t find the plate,” Baffert said after the Classic. “I hate to make any excuses for the big horse, but he’s just not the horse he was. He’s run so many incredible races that I really think he’s just losing interest. … It’s time [for him to retire.]”

He went to Juddmonte to be a stallion. His first progeny should be on the track sometime next year.

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Arrogate won seven of 11 races in his abbreviated two-year career and won $17,422,600, which is still the most by any thoroughbred.


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