Arrogate continues to impress in Pegasus preparations
By Dick Powell
I keep raving about Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner ARROGATE (Unbridled’s Song) and he continues to give me things to rave about.
With the wet weather in Southern California this winter, his training regimen has been at the whim of the weather gods and his prep race for the Pegasus World Cup (G1), the San Pasqual Stakes (G2), came up wet and trainer Bob Baffert scratched him.
Arrogate showed in the Classic that he can train up to a race and be at his best off a long layoff so the San Pasqual, while important, was not crucial. Last Sunday, Baffert brought Arrogate back out for a big workout on a drying out track before the first race at Santa Anita. This was crucial if he is to start in the Pegasus.
Santa Anita management did everything that Baffert wanted and why not, they are part of the Stronach Group which is hosting the inaugural Pegasus World Cup at sister track Gulfstream Park.
On paper, Arrogate’s work was listed as six furlongs and his time was 1:11.94. But it was after the long-striding son of Unbridled’s Song (Unbridled) hit the wire that he was most impressive and downright amazing.
Rider Martin Garcia had him three or four paths off the rail and kept the same position aboard him. Without asking him to slow down or quicken, Arrogate just kept rolling along and halfway around the far turn, Garcia shook the reins a bit and Arrogate looked like he dropped his head and really dug down.
Arrogate covered seven furlongs in 1:24.56 and galloped out the mile in 1:37. What was incredible about the work was how relaxed he was running as fast as he was going. In what has become typical fashion, Arrogate had his hind end up underneath himself and was propelling himself forward as efficiently as any horse has ever done.
It was exactly what Baffert needed at that point since not only had he missed the San Pasqual on January 1 but did not work that weekend because of the heavy rain. This is the rainy season in Southern California so there could be wet weather again on a weekend coming up, but this workout got him back on schedule for now.
If he can finish his training uninterrupted and then ship to Gulfstream Park before the race without incident, Arrogate should get into the starting gate for a rematch against CALIFORNIA CHROME (Lucky Pulpit) in the $12 million race. If he misses a workout or gets to Gulfstream Park and it is pouring rain, I don’t see Baffert taking the chance. There is always the $10 million Dubai World Cup (G1) at the end of March to target.
In a perfect world, Arrogate runs in both but horse racing has become an imperfect world so for now, we just hold out breath and hope to see the top two finishers of the Breeders’ Cup Classic coming back to face off again going nine furlongs on a Gulfstream track that historically favors speed. Stay tuned.
The New Year came and NYRA decided to let Jason Blewitt go from its in-house and simulcast television productions. If it were part of a general scaling back due to cost-cutting, it might be understandable but I can’t figure it out.
Warm and personable on TV, Blewitt’s only weak point was his unabashed cheerleading for New York racing. While we didn’t always like it, we knew it was Blewitt doing his job and he did it well.
So why does he lose his job? When I watch New York racing, I want people with an understanding of New York racing presenting it. Andy Serling, Richie Migliore, Ernie Munick and Tony Stabile all look and act like they grew up there. In fact, I love when John Imbriale calls the races on occasion during the winter. New York guy calling New York racing. What a concept.
And, now, New York guy hosting a show on New York racing gets let go. I don’t get it.