DUBAI // Arrogate is the strong favourite to win the Dubai World Cup on Saturday at Meydan. Here is a look at what makes the horse such a dominant force.
1. The length of his stride
Physically, there is a freakish element to Arrogate. The son of Unbridled’s Song has a long, raking stride. Arrogate is a big, powerful colt. After his scintillating victory in the Travers Stakes in August. his trainer, Bob Baffert, measured Arrogate at 16-2 hands high. That means from the ground to his withers, or shoulders, he is around 165cm tall. It means that once those long legs of his open up and start devouring ground, and at the speed those legs can revolve, other horses struggle to keep up with him.
2. His speed
The Kentucky Derby is not called the most exciting two minutes in sport for nothing — few horses dip below two minutes for 2,000 metres on dirt, and no horse had ever done it at Saratoga. Saratoga is a slow, deep track by American standards so for Arrogate to lower the track record there in July that was set in 1979 was extremely impressive. Not only did he smash the track record, but he dipped below the fabled two minute mark at 1 minute, 59.36 seconds. Arrogate then broke the track record at Gulfstream Park in January when he won the Pegasus World Cup. California Chrome, who he beat in the Breeders’ Cup Classic and in the Pegasus, set the track record at Meydan 12 months ago at 2.01.83. At Nad Al Sheba only two horses broke two minutes in the World Cup — Godolphin’s Dubai Millennium in 2000 and Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid’s Invasor in 2007.
■ Info guide: All you need to know about 2017 Dubai World Cup
■ Race times: Entry list and race times for 2017 Dubai World Cup
3. Tactical versatility
Arrogate has shown so far that he can run his race in several different ways, which makes trying to come up with a plan to beat him very difficult. In the Travers Stakes he assumed the lead and stayed there to win by 13 and a half lengths. In the Breeders’ Cup Classic in November, Arrogate was drawn widest of all and was settled in to fifth place early on by Mike Smith. The jockey then weaved Arrogate on to and then off the rail before collaring California Chrome on his outside before the line. In the Pegasus World Cup, when he was drawn on the inside, Smith settled his mount in third on the rail and then angled him out on the turn to set sail on his winning run.
4. Still more to come
Arrogate did not even make his racecourse debut until April of last year because as a lanky juvenile he suffered from sore shins. He lost his maiden because he got ruffled before the race, then broke slowly and had little room during the contest. Since then he has remained unbeaten and has won three Grade 1 races on the bounce. Those races have not necessarily worked out the best, but they have produced three subsequent Grade 1 winners in Gun Runner, who renews rivalry on Saturday, Connect and Shaman Ghost. Arrogate has raced just seven times, which means in all likelihood he is still improving.
5. Value for money
Juddmonte Farms is the breeding and racing operation of Prince Khalid Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. As a general rule most of his top horses in the United States and Europe are bred by his operation. Frankel, Kingman, Flintshire, Intercontinental, Empire Maker and Skimming, to name a few, were all bred at home, for instance. Arrogate is different. The four-year-old was bought as a yearling at the Keeneland September sales as Lot 498 from Clearsky Farms, who bred the horse. He cost Juddmonte US$560,000 (Dh2 million). The return on that investment so far is that Arrogate has amassed more than $11m in prize-money and, should he win on Saturday, he would pick up another $6m, which would make him the highest-earning thoroughbred of all time.
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