Arrogate Head and Shoulders the Best

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

February 1st, 2017

The inaugural $12 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) at Gulfstream Park didn’t deliver the dramatic showdown many expect between California Chrome and ARROGATE, as the former finished off-the-board to conclude his sensational career with a subpar showing, but take nothing away from the winner. The rapid ascension of Arrogate is something hard for me to quantify but it is a thing of beauty at the same time.

Trained by Bob Baffert, the exquisite four-year-old colt may not have faced a very deep field in the Pegasus but won with ease once again, and I simply have no clue how good Arrogate can become if he stays healthy. The world’s top-rated horse in training leaves me speechless and is flat-out unbeatable right now.

SHAMAN GHOST is a horse I have come to grow very fond of over the past 12 months and I tabbed him for a big run in this race, which he delivered upon. The Jimmy Jerkens trainee is a Grade 1 winner and Canadian Classic hero who could be gearing up for a peak season in 2017. Based on the East Coast, the 5-year-old son of Ghostzapper should be a force on the New York circuit while avoiding Arrogate until the fall. Look for Shaman Ghost to win some big races in advance of the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).

NEOLITHIC wound up third in the lucrative race for conditioner Todd Pletcher and how he achieved that finish left a fine impression on me. The son of Harlan’s Holiday was part of a solid pace against accomplished runners and while he had no chance in the stretch, the steadily improving four-year-old dug in gamely to outfinish Keen Ice, picking up a nice paycheck. And given the meteoric class rise from a first-level allowance test, Neolithic looks poised to enjoy a fine season for Starlight Racing.

On the Pegasus undercard, a sophomore from the Shug McGaughey barn proved quite impressive breaking his maiden in style. SNAP DECISION overcame a wide post to roll home, closing with a ton of energy to win going away, and I came away thinking he will be a three-year-old to watch at the stakes level. The well-bred son of Hard Spun is cut out to run all day and since he trains solely on the main oval, I expect him to give the dirt try sometime. The Kentucky-bred is a half-brother to Grade 1 turf star Mr Speaker, but his dam did her best work on dirt with a pair of graded placings and he counts the legendary Personal Ensign as the second dam. Snap Decision has every right to run well on any surface and is a horse that I will follow for sure. 

Photo courtesy of Alysse Jacobs/Adam Coglianese Photography