by Jon White
October 18, 2017
When Arrogate won the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park last year for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, the colt was assigned a 120 Beyer Speed Figure. It ranks as one of the highest Beyers in the history of the Breeders’ Cup, which was held for the first time in 1984.
There have been just six bigger Beyer Speed Figures recorded by a BC winner than Arrogate’s 120. They are:
125 - Precisionist in the 1985 Sprint at Aqueduct
124 - Sunday Silence in the 1989 Classic at Gulfstream Park
124 - Artax in the 1999 Sprint at Gulfstream Park
124 - Ghostzapper in the 2004 Classic at Lone Star Park
122 - Alysheba in the 1988 Classic at Churchill Downs
121 - Very Subtle* in the 1987 Sprint at Hollywood Park
*Filly or mare
These are the remaining Beyer Speed Figures of 115 or higher to have been posted by a BC winner:
120 - Princess Rooney* in the 1984 Distaff at Hollywood Park
120 - Proud Truth in the 1985 Classic at Aqueduct
120 - Black Tie Affair in the 1991 Classic at Churchill Downs
120 - Skip Away in the 1997 Classic at Hollywood Park
120 - Cajun Beat in the 2003 Sprint at Santa Anita Park
120 - American Pharoah in the 2015 Classic at Keeneland
120 - Arrogate in the 2017 Classic at Santa Anita
119 - Miesque* in the 1987 Mile at Hollywood Park
119 - Inside Information* in the 1995 Distaff at Belmont Park
119 - Squirtle Squirt in the 2001 Sprint at Belmont Park
119 - Pleasantly Perfect in the 2003 Classic at Santa Anita Park
119 - Corinthian in the 2007 Dirt Mile at Monmouth Park
119 - Curlin in the 2007 Classic at Monmouth Park
118 - Smile in the 1986 Sprint at Santa Anita Park
118 - Skywalker in the 1986 Classic at Santa Anita Park
118 - Daylami in the 1999 Turf at Gulfstream Park
118 - Cat Thief in the 1999 Classic at Gulfstream Park
117 - Miesque* in the 1988 Mile at Churchill Downs
117 - Ferdinand in the 1987 Classic at Hollywood Park
117 - Cigar in the 1995 Classic at Belmont Park
117 - Fantastic Light in the 2001 Turf at Belmont Park
117 - Tiznow in the 2001 Classic at Belmont Park
117 - Fort Larned in the 2012 Classic at Santa Anita Park
116 - Gulch in the 1988 Sprint at Churchill Downs
116 - Safely Kept in the 1990 Sprint at Belmont Park
116 - Unbridled in the 1990 Classic at Belmont Park
116 - Tiznow in the 2000 Classic at Churchill Downs
116 - Volponi in the 2002 Classic at Arlington Park
116 - Thor’s Echo in the 2006 Sprint at Churchill Downs
116 - Invasor in the 2006 Classic at Churchill Downs
116 - Conduit in the 2008 Turf at Santa Anita
115 - Theatrical in the 1987 Turf at Hollywood Park
115 - Personal Ensign* in the 1988 Distaff at Churchill Downs
115 - Bayakoa* in the 1989 Distaff at Gulfstream Park
115 - Dancing Spree in the 1989 Sprint at Gulfstream Park
115 - Concern in the 1994 Classic at Churchill Downs
115 - Pilsudski in the 1996 Turf at Woodbine
INSIDE INFORMATION DIES
As a big Inside Information fan, I could not help but feel sad when Claiborne Farm in Kentucky announced that the daughter of Private Account and Pure Profit had died last Saturday at the age of 28 from natural causes due to old age.
Inside Information won the Grade I BC Distaff by 13 1/2 lengths on a muddy track at Belmont Park in 1995. It remains the biggest margin of victory in the history of the Breeders’ Cup. Among those left in Inside Information’s wake in the BC Distaff were her stablemate Heavenly Prize (an Eclipse Award winner in 1994 as champion 3-year-old filly), Lakeway (multiple Grade I winner) and Serena’s Song (an Eclipse Award winner in 1995 as champion 3-year-old filly and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002).
Owned by Ogden Mills Phipps and trained by Shug McGaughey, Inside Information was voted a 1995 Eclipse Award as champion older female. Victorious in 14 of 17 career starts, Inside Information was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008.
In terms of the highest winning Beyer Speed Figures in the history of the Breeders’ Cup, Very Subtle’s 121 and Princess Rooney’s 120 are the only Beyers ever recorded in a BC race by a filly or mare that are bigger than Inside Information’s 119 in the 1995 BC Distaff. The same day that Inside Information won the BC Distaff, the great Cigar won the BC Classic and was assigned a 117 Beyer Speed Figure.
As a broodmare, Inside Information produced Smuggler, who was voted a 2005 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old filly.
THE ARROGATE QUESTION
What is Arrogate going to do in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic? This is one of the more interesting questions horseplayers will be pondering at this year’s Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar on Nov. 3-4.
I submit that we have seen three different versions of Arrogate since his first stakes victory in the Grade I Travers in 2016.
“Arrogate A” is the colt who won the Travers Stakes in 2016 by 13 1/2 lengths. His final time of 1:59 1/5 (1:59.36 in hundredths) shattered Saratoga’s 1 1/4-mile track record by four-fifths of a second. He was assigned a 122 Beyer Speed Figure. The Beyer Speed Figures listed in the American Racing Manual for the Travers go back to 1990. Arrogate’s 122 is the highest ever recorded by a Travers winner. The second-highest Travers figure is the 117 recorded by another Baffert trainee, Point Given, in 2001.
“Arrogate A” is the colt who won the Grade I BC Classic at Santa Anita in 2016. A powerful late surge carried the 3-year-old past no less an accomplished runner than 5-year-old California Chrome, the 2014 and 2016 Horse of the Year.
“Arrogate A” is the colt who won the inaugural $12 million, Grade I Pegasus by an emphatic 4 3/4 lengths at Gulfstream Park this past Jan. 28. His final time of 1:46 4/5 (1:46.83) broke the track record for 1 1/8 miles.
“Arrogate A” is the colt who, in a sensational performance for the ages, won the Group I, $10 million Dubai World Cup by 2 1/2 lengths on March 25 despite a horrible start. He ran right by no less than Gun Runner in the final furlong. As Arrogate approached the finish, Terry Spargo said during his call of the race:
“ ‘A’ is for Arrogate. ‘A’ is for absolute superstar. ‘A’ is for anointing. And we’ve seen the anointing of the Man o’ War of the 21st century, Arrogate, a brilliant winner of the Dubai World Cup.”
But we have not seen “Arrogate A” since the Dubai World Cup.
In Del Mar’s Grade II San Diego Handicap on July 22, we did not see “Arrogate A” or even “Arrogate B.” We saw what I will call “Arrogate F,” because F is the grade he earned for his lousy San Diego effort, a shocking 15 1/4-length defeat when he finished fourth as a 1-20 favorite behind Collected, Donworth and Cat Burglar.
At least we did see what I will call “Arrogate B” in Del Mar’s Pacific Classic on Aug. 19.
“He’s doing better than last time, but he’s still not comfortable,” track announcer Trevor Denman said of Arrogate on the far turn during his Pacific Classic call.
Arrogate lost again, but by only a half-length. Collected, who also resides in the powerful Baffert barn, won the Pacific Classic.
“Arrogate A” recorded Beyer Speed Figures of 122 in the Travers, 120 in the BC Classic and 119 in the Pegasus World Cup. This Arrogate was a super horse, one some folks said was the best seen since Spectacular Bid.
“Arrogate B” posted a Beyer Speed Figure of 114 in the Pacific Classic. This Arrogate clearly did not possess the same super powers he had exhibited in his first four stakes victories (Travers, BC Classic, Pegasus World Cup, Dubai World Cup).
“Arrogate F” posted a Beyer Speed Figure of only 85 in the San Diego.
If it is “Arrogate A” who shows up in this year’s BC Classic, which means the Arrogate who runs Beyers from 119 to 122, he probably will win. A 119 to 122 quite likely would be plenty good enough to get the job done. Keep in mind these are the career-best Beyers for the BC Classic contenders currently listed at 15-1 odds or lower at the Wynn Race Book in Las Vegas:
122 - Arrogate
115 - Collected
115 - Gun Runner
108 - West Coast
106 - Keen Ice
106 - Mubtaahij
104 - Gunnevera
If it is “Arrogate B” who shows up in the upcoming BC Classic, which means the Arrogate who runs a Beyer of 114 or so, can he win? It isn’t a probability, but it would be a possibility. “Arrogate B” certainly could win or at least hit the board.
Regardless of which Arrogate shows up in the BC Classic, it has been announced that it will be the final start of his career. I am somewhat surprised this already has been determined. Considering how terrific Arrogate ran at Gulfstream Park early this year to win the Pegasus World Cup, I would have thought a decision regarding Arrogate’s retirement would not have been made until after the BC Classic in order to leave the door open for a possible defense early in 2018 of his 2017 Pegasus World Cup victory.
UPDATED WYNN BC CLASSIC ODDS
Gun Runner is still a strong favorite in the latest odds at the Wynn Race Book to win the BC Classic at Del Mar on Nov. 4. He is 6-5 as of Oct. 16, the same price he was as of Oct. 9.
Arrogate’s price is back down to 5-2 this week after going up to 3-1 last week. West Coast, who was 7-1 last week, now is down to 5-1.
These are the Wynn odds of Oct. 16:
6-5 Gun Runner
5-1 West Coast
12-1 Keen Ice
35-1 War Decree
45-1 Good Samaritan
60-1 Breaking Lucky
Gun Runner not only remains the BC Classic favorite at the Wynn, he again is atop the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll this week. Here is this week’s ranking of America’s leading Thoroughbreds in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll:
Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes)
1. 334 Gun Runner (29)
2. 290 Arrogate (4)
3. 218 Collected
4. 188 West Coast (1)
5. 179 Stellar Wind
6. 176 Lady Eli
7. 85 Beach Patrol
8. 84 Mor Spirit
9. 63 Drefong
10. 52 World Approval
Also receiving votes: Forever Unbridled (50), Lady Aurelia (29), Elate (28), Songbird (19), Diversify (15), Unique Bella (11), Bolt d’Oro (9), Practical Joke (9), Abel Tasman (8), Vale Dori (7), Sharp Azteca (4), Mind Your Biscuits (4), Shaman Ghost (3), Oscar Performance (3), Mubtaahij (1), All World (1).
WYNN’S BC DISTAFF ODDS
Here are the Wynn Race Book’s odds to win the BC Distaff at Del Mar on Nov. 3 as of Oct. 16:
8-5 Stellar Wind
9-5 Forever Unbridled
3-1 Abel Tasman
8-1 It Tiz Well
9-1 Paradise Woods
15-1 Champagne Room
25-1 Holy Helena
50-1 Romantic Vision
POSSIBLE 2017 BREEDERS’ CUP FAVORITES
I have had to honor to make the official morning line for five of the last eight Breeders’ Cups when it has been held at Santa Anita. This year, with the Breeders’ Cup being held at Del Mar, my friend Russ Hudak will have the difficult task of making the morning line for the 13 Breeders’ Cup races.
As of today, these are my choices in terms of favoritism for each of the 13 Breeders’ Cup races (this, of course, is subject to change):
CLASSIC: Gun Runner
MILE: World Approval
FILLY & MARE SPRINT: Unique Bella
JUVENILE: Bolt d’Oro
TURF SPRINT: Lady Aurelia
FILLY & MARE TURF: Lady Eli
JUVENILE FILLIES: Moonshine Memories
DISTAFF: Stellar Wind
JUVENILE FILLIES TURF: Rushing Fall
DIRT MILE: Mor Spirit
JUVENILE TURF: U S Navy Flag