Monday, August 29, 2016

Bob Baffert's Revenge

If you were lucky enough to watch the famed Travers Stakes late Saturday afternoon at Saratoga, then you saw one serious race horse.  If you remember, last year, we were all terribly disappointed when American Pharoah lost the Travers.  But this year, Baffert came back with a bang and his ability to pick out good horse flesh was on full display as the lightly raced Arrogate not only won the race by 13 1/2 lengths but smashed the track record at Saratoga by going a mile and a quarter in a stunning . 1:59.36.  This was the fastest Travers in the history of the race, going back 147 years!

His regular jockey declined the ride on the leggy gray colt (he rode to the second place finish on another Baffert colt, American Freedom) and is likely kicking himself.  And incidentally, jockey Mike Smith, who rode the gray colt to the win, also rode Arrogate's dad.  But no one expected the gray colt out of Unbridled's Song to come out and win this race in stunning fashion.  Baffert has another clear winner on his hands for sure.  The Breeder's Cup Classic in November is looking to be quite a race with the likely addition of this blazing fast colt.

Bred in Kentucky by Clearsky Farm, Arrogate was a $560,000 Keeneland September Yearling purchase.  Third in his first start at Los Alamitos in April, the colt came back nearly two months later to win by 4 1/2 lengths at Santa Anita. Progressing through his allowance conditions in two more starts, Arrogate continued to win for Baffert, improving his pre-Travers record to three wins from four starts. The Travers victory improves the colt's overall earnings to over $880,000. Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. What a phenomenal race and performance it was by Arrogate! Everyone is saying Rafael Bejarano, who rode American Freedom to 2nd place, "declined" the ride on Arrogate, but Bob Baffert said in an interview before the race that it was, in fact, American Freedom's owners, Gary and Mary West, who wanted Bejarano to stay on their colt. Not wanting to lose the mount on a good horse like American Freedom in the future, Bejarano obliged, though he knew Arrogate was very special and would have ridden him if he'd had the option. That's horse racing, so Baffert called on Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith to help ensure Arrogate got out of the gate well, since it had been a bit of an issue in his previous races. Smith, who's a superb jockey, certainly gave him a Hall of Fame ride in the Travers to lodge the colt's most impressive victory to date, his first race against stakes horses, and his first win in Grade 1 company, no less.

    After that resounding success, it's unlikely they'll make another rider change for the Breeders' Cup Classic in early November at Santa Anita. Can't wait to see how the 3-year old star Arrogate does against a 5-year-old California Chrome, who's certainly in the best shape of his life. It should be a fabulous race. Here's hoping they all stay sound and healthy and line up in the gate together on November 5!


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