Dubai: With less than a week to go before he ships to Dubai, Eclipse Award Champion Arrogate continued his preparations for the $10 million Dubai World Cup with another impressive piece of work at Santa Anita Park on Sunday.
With trainer Bob Baffert and regular jockey Mike Smith watching from the stands, the four-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song colt clocked 48 and change for a half-mile and 1:12 for six furlongs.
“He worked like he usually does,” Baffert said in the Bloodhorse. “He worked great again. He (galloped) out a mile. I liked what I saw. We’re right on course for Dubai.
“He needs something to keep him interested, otherwise he’ll lose interest on you a little bit,” he said commenting on Arrogate’s habit.
The Dubai World Cup on March 25 at Meydan Racecourse will be Arrogate’s first start since he won the inaugural running of the $12 million Pegasus Cup at Florida’s Gulfstream Park on January 28.
Victory at Meydan would take Arrogate past the $17 million mark and ensure that he becomes the all-time leading North American earner, surpassing the $14,752,650 secured by California Chrome.
Bred by Clearsky Farms in Kentucky, Juddmonte purchased the son of Unbridled’s Song — Bubbler, by Distorted Humor, for $560,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale. A lightly race colt he boasts a record of six wins from seven starts.
The dirt track at Meydan is known to favour front runners, something which will be in his favour of another American hopeful, Gun Runner, who is trained by 2008 Dubai World Cup winning handler, Steve Asmussen.
“Hopefully, our horse is as good as he can be, and if he’s good enough to beat Arrogate, that’s great,” David Fiske, racing manager for the horses’ owner Winchell Thoroughbreds said in bloodhorse.com.
“If it’s good enough to beat Arrogate, then whoopee. Otherwise, we get beaten by the best horse in the world.
“Arrogate seems like he’s a pretty special kind of animal. Arrogate ... I don’t even know how to describe him. Everyone calls him a freak or whatever, but he’s very fast and ... he’s probably the best horse in the world at the moment.
“We’ll just try and get there as good as we can and run our race. If it’s good enough to beat Arrogate, then whoopee. Otherwise, we get beaten by the best horse in the world.”
Gun Runner finished a well-beaten third to Arrogate in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga in August 2016. Forced to miss the Pegasus World Cup due to an equine herpesvirus outbreak at his home base of the Fair Grounds the 4-year-old son of Candy Ride went to Oaklawn for the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap on February 20, where he posted a dominating wire-to-wire victory.
Fiske said that Gun Runner will leave the Fair Grounds on March 12 for Miami, then take a direct flight to Dubai.
Gun Runner has won seven of 13 starts — for prize money totalling $2,337,800.
Arrogate is the overwhelming 2/5 favourite in the international betting markets, while Gun Runner is generally a 14/1 chance.
Mubtaahij, winner of the 2016 UAE Derby, is the 8/1 second favourite and Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 scorer Long Island a whopping 50/1,
Dubai World Cup
Saturday, March 25
Arrogate (2/5); Mubtaahij (8); Gun Runner (14); Heartbreak City (14); Hoppertunity (16)
Secret Weapon (16); Shaman Ghost (20); Market Rally (25); Midnight Storm (25); Dortmund (33)
Emotionless (33)’ Keen Ice (33); North America (33); Second Summer (33); Special Fighter (33); Apollo Kentucky (40); Furia Cruzada (40); Gold Dream (40); Awardee (50); Lani (50)
Long River (50); Candy Boy (66).