Arrogate: the quintessence of a late-blooming superstar

Profile Picture: James Scully

August 28th, 2016

Arrogate had his supporters in Saturday’s $1.25 million Travers (G1) but nobody could anticipate the scale of greatness at Saratoga. The sublime 13 ½-length, track record-setting victory is arguably the best performance in the 147-year history of the Midsummer Derby.

There’s no guarantee he’ll run back to it in upcoming engagements but if he does, the competition will be competing for second.

Arrogate was that special.

His 124 BRIS Speed rating is a perfect testament to the eye-popping win.

Arrogate had flashed enormous potential at Santa Anita and Del Mar, winning three straight since finishing a close third in his April 17 career debut, but it was impossible to project such a move forward considering he had never run in a stakes race and had been beating short fields of conspicuous allowance rivals, facing only two other horses in his most recent performance, a 1 ¾-length tally at Del Mar on August 4. The two previous wins were both 5-horse fields.

One thing Arrogate had been doing was finishing fast, registering triple-digit BRIS Late Pace ratings in all four starts, three of them at two turns. He recorded a 114 Late Pace in the aforementioned Del Mar allowance and continued to distinguish himself in the Travers with a 111 figure.

And he posted a 115 BRIS E1 Pace and 131 E2 Pace leading wire to wire.


Give credit to trainer Bob Baffert, who earned his second Travers victory but first since Hall of Famer Point Given in 2001, for directing Arrogate’s ascension. The Hall of Fame conditioner shipped in to finish 1-2 in the Travers, with Haskell (G1) runner-up American Freedom retreating to seemingly another area code in the stretch drive but saving the place.

American Freedom received an excellent 110 Speed rating, a figure good enough to win most runnings of the Travers this century.

And Mike Smith, one of Thoroughbred racing’s top big-money jockeys, recorded his first Travers win since Coronado’s Quest in 1998 and third overall.

It’s a day later and I still can’t believe what I saw from Arrogate in the Travers. And the sky remains the limit for the late-blooming gray colt.

Photo courtesy of Joe Labozzeta/Adam Coglianese Photography