First-Crop Sires: Arrogate on the board

Profile Picture: Alastair Bull

September 11th, 2021

After waiting several months for his first winner, Arrogate got his first two within an hour on Labor Day.

Ranked by some ratings agencies alongside American Pharoah as the best United States racehorse this century, Arrogate’s progeny have been eagerly awaited, especially following his death last year. However, he’s languished for much of the season to date in the bottom 30 among first-crop sires, without a winner from his first 14 runners.

However, on Labor Day, his progeny struck twice. The first came at Saratoga, via the filly Adversity. The New York-bred filly disappointed when finishing seventh in her turf debut at Saratoga on Aug. 12 for trainer Mark Casse. But on the main track last Monday, it was a different matter.

Facing a sloppy Saratoga surface in a maiden special weight contest for New York-breds over the same 5 1/2-furlong trip, Adversity contested the lead early on, took over at the top of the stretch, and lengthened stride nicely to win by 2 1/4 lengths in the hands of Ricardo Santana Jr.

Just 45 minutes later, another of Arrogate’s progeny was back in the winner’s circle, this time at Monmouth Park.

Few would have thought debutant Affable Monarch had much chance after he couldn’t muster much early pace in the six-furlong dash, trailing by more than seven lengths after the first quarter-mile. But in a move reminiscent of his sire’s famous last-to-first rally to win the Dubai World Cup (G1), Affable Monarch worked his way into the race so quickly that by the turn he was just behind the leaders, gaining on the rail. He drove to the front in the stretch and ran away to win by an impressive 6 1/2 lengths for jockey Tomas Mejia.

Adversity and Affable Monarch both attracted plenty of interest in the auction ring. Adversity, a daughter of dual Grade 1 winner Artemis Agrotera (by Roman Ruler), was a $335,000 purchase at OBS in April for D. J. Stable. Affable Monarch, whose dam is the Grade 3-winning Dynaformer mare Social Queen, RNA'd for $425,000 at last year’s Keeneland September Yearling Sale. A half-brother to Grade 1 winner Force the Pass, Affable Monarch is a Colts Neck Stables homebred trained by Jorge Duarte. 

Adversity and Affable Monarch weren’t the only of Arrogate’s progeny to run well over the long weekend, as Apprehend finished second on debut at Del Mar in a maiden special weight contest over 5 1/2 furlongs behind the impressive favorite Corniche.

It’s worth remembering that Arrogate didn’t even race as a juvenile, and it was not until August of his three-year-old season that he emerged as a superstar with his astounding Travers S. (G1) victory. In addition, he never won at a distance less than 1 1/16 miles.

Given these facts, a slow start could perhaps have been expected for Arrogate. If they are anything like him, his progeny should get better with both greater maturity and more distance. Certainly Affable Monarch looks like a horse to watch.

About the series

Freshman Orientation is a series highlighting five different sires with a first crop of 2-year-old Thoroughbreds. Could the juveniles show up at the Breeders' Cup, or even the 2022 Kentucky Derby? Follow along and find out!