Arrogate Justifies World's Best Rating

Arrogate and California Chrome – the two highest rated thoroughbreds in the world couldn't recreate their magic finish to the Breeders Cup Classic when they chased the world's biggest purse in the $12 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.
Only Arrogate delivered on his part of the bargain as the two-horse showdown that was supposed to be turned into a one-star show.
Doubling down on his stirring triumph over California Chrome in the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic in November, Arrogate made a mockery of the world's richest race when he drew off under Hall of Famer Mike Smith to prevail by 4.75 lengths.
California Chrome, the two-time US Horse of the Year, faded badly to finish ninth and was later diagnosed with fluid in his right knee.
Trainer Art Sherman said California Chrome's ailment did not appear to be major but added the 6YO would be examined by a veterinarian once he arrived in Kentucky this week where he starts his stud career.
"It looks like he scrambled away and couldn't get his footing," Sherman said. "It looked like he wasn't getting a hold of the racetrack, like maybe his feet were getting out from under him. I don't know why, he worked good over it."
The story of Juddmonte Farms' Arrogate is that of meteoric brilliance that has yet reach its deepest depths.
Unraced at 2, the 4YO has become a world-beater in just seven career starts, winning the G1 Travers Stakes in record-setting fashion last August and running down California Chrome in the Breeders' Cup.
He polished off his sixth career victory to bring his career earnings to $11,084,600.
His Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert is notorious for not putting horses on a plane unless he feels they will represent him accordingly.
After Arrogate was scratched from the San Pasqual Stakes on January 1 and then had his workout schedule interrupted due to inclement weather in California, his mere presence at Gulfstream Park spoke volumes about his connections' confidence.
"He just ran his race," Baffert said. "I kept waiting for the matchup with Chrome, but he just didn't bring his race today.
“It's too bad. We expected to win, but he got a little tired at the end. He probably needed it badly."
With Arrogate breaking from the rail the early stages set up close to what was suggested on paper.
Noble Bird took his expected position as the pacesetter with Arrogate tracking third along the rail and California Chrome to his outside off his hip after making the first turnb wide from the outside gate.
When Smith tipped Arrogate out and asked him to roll past Neolithic and a fading Noble Bird approaching the final turn, he proved he was more than worthy of his recent designation as the Longines World's Best Racehorse.
California Chrome uncharacteristically began backing up as Arrogate opened up as he pleased in the lane with Smith saying he geared him down in the final 100 yards. His time was 1.47.61 for the 1 1/8 miles.
"Once I got out going into the far turn I knew we were going to be very tough to beat," Smith said.
"He had a lot of run today and I was very happy. As far as winning the world's richest race, I'm absolutely numb."
Victor Espinoza on California Chrome said: "He was just empty today. At the first turn I thought I was good but when we hit the five-eighths, he just completely shut down.
“He just started backing up and just wasn't the same. Sometime he's going to throw in one of those bad races and one of those bad times was today."
As much as California Chrome's team and fans wanted the storybook finish for North America's all-time leading money earner, his final moment in no way takes away from a career that yielded 16 wins from 27 starts and four Eclipse Awards.

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