To call this summer anything but a brutal disappointment for Arrogate would be an understatement. The reigning Breeders’ Cup Classic winner followed up his 2017 San Diego Handicap upset with a narrow loss to Collected in the 2017 Pacific Classic. Trainer Bob Baffert has the champ drilling hard but has brought in additional help to ensure he can bring out the best in Arrogate.
That help is none other than jockey Rafael Bejarano, who has been in the saddle for some of Arrogate’s finest performances. The pair worked a half-mile in :49 3/5, with splits of :12 2/5 and :25 1/5. Arrogate galloped five furlongs in 1:02 3/5 to end the session. Things looked good, and it’s the type of outing they want to see after a disheartening loss in the 2017 Pacific Classic.
“For his first work back, I just wanted to make sure that somebody who knows the horse really well was aboard. I needed his input,” Baffert said of Bejarano. “He said Arrogate felt strong, he just said he went perfect, like the Arrogate that he knows. So I was happy with that.”
The defending Breeders’ Cup Classic champion is expected at Del Mar for the 2018 World Championships but is still grinding back in to form. Baffert himself neither confirmed nor denied that Arrogate would be a part of the Classic. It certainly feels like the 2017 Pacific Classic defeat is still fresh on his mind. “It’s week to week. It’s work to work right now. If he’s doing really, really well, we run,” the trainer said.
Even with the loss in the 2017 Pacific, Arrogate has cleared $17,302,600 and has earned more than any other horse in history. Those types of remarkable numbers don’t necessarily define a champion and the four-year-old colt has plenty of competition who smell blood in the water. Most notably, Gun Runner seems to be making a strong case after surpassing his rival in the World Rankings as the top Thoroughbred race horse according to the pollsters.
The good news is that Arrogate seems to be fine. Hopefully we’ll get better news in the form of his Breeders’ Cup Classic nomination soon. Everything is heading in the right direction for the showdown we are all excited to see.