Must-win situation for Arrogate; pair of picks on Pacific Classic undercard

Profile Picture: James Scully

August 19th, 2017

It’s now or never for Arrogate in the $1 million Pacific Classic (G1). With the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) being held at Del Mar in November, the phenomenal 4-year-old needs to run well or his racing career is probably over.

I’m cautiously optimistic.

Arrogate will try to turn things around after a dull fourth in the July 22 San Diego H. (G2), coming up empty on the far turn as Mike Smith went to an all-out drive without any response. It was easily his worst career start as he finished 15 ¼ lengths behind the winner.

After missing by less than a length in his career debut at 6-furlongs, Arrogate followed with a pair of smashing maiden and entry-level allowance wins going two turns at Santa Anita. But he was put to an all-out drive to capture a conditioned allowance early in last year’s Del Mar meet, defeating an undistinguished future claimer by about a length.

His Speed Ratings declined and as a result of the Del Mar showing, Arrogate was overlooked at 11.70-1 odds in the Travers. He came back phenomenally at Saratoga, leading wire-to-wire in a 13 ½-length track record-setting victory, and generated the highest all-time BRIS Speed number of 124.

Whether it’s Gulfstream Park, Meydan, Saratoga or Santa Anita, Arrogate has performed at the highest level. He became the world’s top-ranked horse by virtue of impressive wins in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Pegasus World Cup and Dubai World Cup but for whatever reason, we haven’t seen the same stride at Del Mar.

Arrogate appears to be training forwardly since the San Diego and bettors are certain to take an optimistic view of the probable odds-on favorite. I hope Arrogate will rebound and continue on toward a title defense in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Del Mar will offer a pair of graded stakes on the undercard.

The Del Mar H. (G2) attracted a field of 13 for 1 3/8 miles, including Eddie Read (G2) winner Hunt and defending champ Ashleyluvssugar, and I would like to see the 4-1 morning line odds hold for Itsinthepost. The gelding has come on at age 5 for Jeff Mullins, recording a pair of Grade 2 wins, and exits a close fifth in the United Nations (G1) at Monmouth Park in which he finished less than a length behind subsequent Arlington Million (G1) winner Beach Patrol.

Itsinthepost drew well in post 5 and will look to parlay a forwardly-placed trip into a victory with Tyler Baze.

Con Te Partiro will be stretching out to 1 1/8 miles, but I like her chances in the Del Mar Oaks (G1). The Wesley Ward-trained filly competed in four stakes as a juvenile, winning once at Saratoga and finishing second at Santa Anita, and appears to be surging as a 3-year-old. Daughter of Scat Daddy opened 2017 with a fast-closing effort in a Belmont stakes race and followed with a 20-1 upset in a handicap at Royal Ascot, closing fast to win going away by 1 ¼ lengths.

With plenty of pace in a 13-horse field and a favorable draw in post 4, Con Te Partiro is eligible to receive a ground-saving trip before rallying fastest of all beneath leading rider Flavien Prat.