Arrogate the best I’ve seen
By Dick Powell
I have been saying, up until Saturday, that ARROGATE (Unbridled’s Song) is as good as anyone that I have ever seen. Now, after Saturday, I can say he is the best I have ever seen. That covers a lot of horses but he is that good.
By now, you have probably seen the replay of the $10 million Dubai World Cup (G1) many times and saw him get clobbered at the start, race behind the pace with mud kicked all over him, pass horses on the turn and then despite being bumped by MUBTAAHIJ (Dubawi) turning for home, he set sail for GUN RUNNER (Candy Ride).
With little effort at all, Arrogate collared him with 200 meters to go and cruised home to a 2 ¼-length win in 2:02.15. I have never seen a horse race like him and I have never seen a horse train like him. Yes, his career has been way too short but nobody has put together four performances in a row like he has. And, there’s more to come.
If you watched Saturday’s races from Meydan from Dubai, you had to be confused. Consistently, the main track was listed as “fast” and the turf was listed as “good.” During the races, I checked the emiratesracing.com site and saw the main track being listed as “Muddy” and the turf as “Yielding.”
It might sound counter-intuitive but it does rain in Dubai. Despite being in the desert, it is on the Persian Gulf and coastal storms hit the area. The weather was so bad on Friday and early Saturday morning, there was no guarantee that the races would even be held.
Since the Dubai Racing Carnival began, the Emirates Racing Club always had a North American agent to coordinate the distribution and content of the simulcast signal. There were many years than none other than yours truly would be the one making the call to correct mistakes.
Now, the entire project is handled by Racing UK and if you noticed the three-hour broadcast had a British feel to it, you are right. Arrogate was listed as the 1-to-3 favorite, weights were given in kilograms and with the exception of Aaron Gryder, there was not an American presence on the broadcast even though, no surprise, our horses finished 1-2-3 in the World Cup.
The wet main track was hardly touched upon and the turf course, which took on more rain during the day, got so soft that Ryan Moore kept Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) winner HIGHLAND REEL (Galileo) at least six paths off the rail, which seemed to have the deepest going. They waited until after the race to mention.
The sad thing is despite all the things that went wrong for the viewer, we had the pleasure to see Arrogate make history so all was well. For betting on the races, it was a challenge.
The British Horseracing Authority announced this week that they were stepping up their game in the battle against illicit drugs and would conduct about 8,700 drug tests in 2017. The number seemed low and set off alarms in my brain so I went and did some research in how many races are run in Great Britain.
According to a story in The Guardian, there were 7,182 post-race tests conducted in 2012. According to the British Horseracing Fact Book of 2011/2012, there were 10,147 races conducted in Great Britain in 2011. I can’t imagine the number of races varied very much from 2011 to 2012.
So, in 2011, nearly 3,000 English races, or approximately 30% of their races DID NOT HAVE POST-RACE DRUG TESTING! Now, they are narrowing the gap between the number of races run and the number of post-race drug tests conducted; and bragging about it.
To sum up, an overseas racing jurisdiction that is held up as the gold standard by our industry leaders conducts less than one post-race drug test for each race. American racing usually conducts three post-race drug tests for each race. And, our racing lacks integrity.