Juddmonte Farms’ Arrogate, the champion three-year-old colt of 2016, has won seven of 11 starts and earned $17,302,600 – a record for a North American-trained racehorse – he entered the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but following two consecutive losses, in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap on July 22 and the Grade 1 Pacific Classic on August 19, he did not go off as the favorite in the race.
It wasn’t that long ago, following emphatic wins in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes in January and the Grade 1 Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airlines in March, that he was being heralded in the media as one of the all-time greats. But in a classic case of “What have you done for me lately?”, the big grey son of Unbridled’s Song’s stock has plummeted. His workouts leading up to the Classic had been put under the microscope by all types of “experts” on social media, and their consensus view is that Arrogate didn’t train as well as he did last year before he defeated California Chrome in a thriller of a Classic.
Some of these same folks, however, had said the same thing about Arrogate before the Pegasus – there’d been an issue with his right hind foot that required a three-quarter shoe – but Arrogate won that race in brilliant style.
Arrogate’s losses this year have all been at Del Mar, the site of the Breeders’ Cup, and the track’s surface has also been mentioned as a culprit. He’d run at Del Mar last year in an allowance race in early August that he’d won by “only” a length and a quarter, but in his next start, the Grade 1 Travers at Saratoga, he’d walloped a field by 13-and-a-half lengths at 11.70-1 in track-record time...
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FIRST PUBLISHED IN NORTH AMERICAN TRAINER AUGUST - OCTOBER 2017 ISSUE 45
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The current political regime – as opposed to the previous one – favors diminished government, deregulation, states’ rights, American isolationism/anti-globalism, and anti-immigration, yet into this discernible climate change we as an industry are charging head first to effect changes at odds with these precepts.
Making the entire process comical is that most industry participants, from wealthy owners and breeders at The Jockey Club to blue-collar owners and trainers in the provinces, are Republicans who supported this regime in the voting booth, even though we never support each other on myriad industry issues.
This, surely, must make us headless horsemen, because we’re probably going to get our heads handed to us on a platter from this regime just as we do from each other. Simply, we engage in mutually destructive warfare because we don’t have the type of leadership to cross the aisle, compromise, and steer a clear course for the benefit of all.
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Well, it finally happened. American Pharoah did what so many before him over the last 37 years had attempted and failed to accomplish. A Triple Crown winner, the first since Affirmed in 1978, when the game was so vastly different to what it is today that the achievement bridges a gulf of time to reflect upon.
This year's Triple Crown preps were notable for producing a number of high-class contenders, and, coincidently, it was the first year of mostly all-dirt trials since major tracks in California, Kentucky, and Dubai abandoned synthetic surfaces for the real thing.
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Plot: An ambitious two-pronged plan is hatched by some guys in Hong Kong, to take a local horse from Sha Tin Racecourse to the United States with the aim of winning the Breeders’ Cup Sprint on dirt in early November. First, though, they'll prep in a Grade 1 race on dirt at Santa Anita in California in early October as a practice run for the main event.
Sid Fernando talks about how Wesley Ward's successful raids on the elite European race meetings goes in some way to dispel the myth that Lasix is a performance enhancer. Time after time Ward sends out winners in Europe at meetings such as Royal Ascot but with Lasix being a banned substance it shows that maybe there is too much faith put into the drug in America.
Read Sid Fernando's excellent column on how race tracks across North America are shedding the All Weather tracks and returning to Dirt surfaces. But just why would they want to do this?
His like is endangered nowadays. I was jolted by thoughts of this while watching the HRTV broadcast of the Eclipse Award Ceremony from Gulfstream Park on January 18. Wise Dan was the equine star of the evening, a "people's horse" in the same way as Curlin. He, too, is a two-time Horse of the Year and top older horse, plus top turf horse. But Wise Dan is a gelding, and he's by the unheralded Wiseman's Ferry. And he's a turf miler - the weakest division of North American racing.
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