First-crop Sires: Arrogate will shine bright given time
Freshman Orientation: Arrogate
Arrogate didn’t shine for long as a racehorse, but few shone as brightly as he did, with four amazing performances from July 2016 to March 2017. Unfortunately, he won’t get long to shine as a stallion either, having died last year after suffering a neurological injury to his spinal cord. It means he leaves just three crops, the first of which hit the track in 2021. If his progeny are similar to him, they are most likely to reach their peak at three and four, so any juvenile ability will be a bonus.
Bred by Clearsky Farms, Arrogate was a $560,000 yearling purchase for Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms in 2014. He didn’t get to a racetrack until after the 2016 Kentucky Derby (G1) preps had been run, finishing third over six furlongs. Three consecutive victories followed before he took on the best of his age for the first time in the Travers S. (G1). He was well in the betting but even his biggest supporters couldn’t have expected what happened: an all-the-way win by 13 1/2 lengths in track-record time.
That victory earned him a clash in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) with California Chrome, unbeaten for the season. In one of the greatest editions of the race, Arrogate ran California Chrome down in the final strides. Their dominance was such that they were more than 11 lengths clear of all their opponents.
A rematch with California Chrome came in the inaugural Pegasus World Cup (G1) in 2017. Chrome was not at his best but Arrogate was, surging clear for another dominant victory, earning him a trip to the Dubai World Cup (G1).
Arrogate looked out of the race after missing the start and was last after 50 yards. But he gradually made ground and by the turn was able to sprint past Gun Runner for an amazing victory.
Unfortunately, Arrogate wasn’t anywhere near his best for the rest of the season, failing to win in three starts in California. But the form he showed in his four Grade 1 victories was seen by some rating agencies as the best form on dirt all decade.
By the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Unbridled’s Song, Arrogate is out of the Distorted Humor mare Bubbler, a black type winner of six races. She is a granddaughter of multiple Grade 1 winner Meadow Star, the champion two-year-old filly of 1990.
With his outstanding record, Arrogate began his stud career at a fee of $75,000, the highest first-season sire fee in North America. It was reduced to $50,000 for his third season in 2020, and he was most of the way through his season when he suffered his fatal injury.
Progeny May Take Time
Arrogate’s progeny made their mark as expected in the sale ring. Four weanlings sold in 2019 at an average of $292,500, the most expensive a $425,000 purchase. Last year he had 42 of his first crop of yearlings sell for an average of $225,167, the most expensive being a $750,000 colt out of the Storm Cat mare Crosswinds.
Given that he didn’t race until April of his three-year-old career, it would not have been a surprise if Arrogate’s progeny don’t excel as early juveniles, and to date that’s what has happened.
By the end of July just eight Arrogate foals had been to the races. None have won as yet; his highest earner is Arrogant Lady, who finished third in a maiden special weight race at Belmont Park on June 25 over 5 1/2 furlongs, a trip likely to be too short for most Arrogates.
Another that made a useful start to her career was Mirasol, who finished third over the same trip in a maiden special weight fixture at Del Mar on July 24.
The fact that Arrogate hasn’t had a winner as yet is no cause for panic given his own career path. There is plenty of reason to believe they will excel as the distances increase.
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!