Arrogate: defeat would be a shock of Douvan proportions
PICTURE: Getty Images
CAN anything touch Arrogate? The ratings say no, the betting says no and there has certainly been no sign this week that the world’s highest-rated horse cannot reproduce the form that saw him end last year with a titanic Breeders’ Cup success over California Chrome.
He then started 2017 with a commanding victory in the inaugural Pegasus World Cup, which has knocked Saturday’s contest off the pedestal as the planet’s richest race.
A colossus of a horse with a stride to match Usain Bolt, Arrogate has looked at ease in his new surroundings and, as the general 1-3 favourite, it would be a shock of Douvan proportions if he were to fail to complete a treble worth nearly £12 million.
“I’m blessed to have ridden some very good horses but I’m not sure I’ve ever sat on one like this,” said his jockey Mike Smith, having just his second ride in the race and searching a first win.
“It’s his disposition and his mechanics – he feels like he’s running downhill. He needs to bring his A-game, but if he does I think you’ll see something special.”
Victory would give his class-act trainer Bob Baffert, who also runs last year’s third Hoppertunity, a third win in the race after Silver Charm and Captain Steve, but his first at Meydan.
“Both my horses are happy and healthy,” said Baffert. “It’s very exciting to be here with two such good horses and it would be great if they could run first and second.
“The main thing for Arrogate is to get away well and then after that Mike Smith will decide what he’s going to do. I just hope he’s within striking distance turning for home. His weapon is his long stride and a mile and a quarter is nothing to him.
“The draw is good for Hoppertunity, he likes to be in the clear a little bit. He’s doing the best he’s ever done but he needs to.”
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